The modern world has become inextricably linked to technology. As such, it's no surprise the technology brands that we know and love are those that we interact with on a daily basis - the makers of our phones, televisions and household appliances.

Since its inception, the FutureBrand Index - a global perception study that reorders PwC’s Global Top 100 Companies by Market Capitalisation on perception strength rather than financial strength - has reflected this sentiment. Consumer-facing technology behemoths such as Sony, Samsung and Apple have always been high on the list. Technology underpins most of our daily lives and consumer-facing tech brands have and continue to perform well.

However, in this year’s FutureBrand Index there is a clear step-change from the reports of years gone by. Where previously it was familiar consumer-facing tech brands that ruled the roost, 2021’s technology success stories instead see the companies that are critical, behind-the-scenes enablers of our everyday tech come out on top.

So why is this year different? In the wake of the pandemic, as global populations lost the ability to interact with each other in person, technology was leveraged to bridge the gap like never before. Simultaneously, the widely reported and disruptive shortage of semiconductors - of critical importance for tech hardware such as smartphones or computers - appears to have had a huge impact on the perception of B2B companies that manufacture microchips and semiconductors. The urgent need for connectivity at home, whether for work or play, has made information technology services and internet providers like Prosus or Tata Consultancy even more indispensable.

Take ASML as an example, who are leaders in microchip production. In 2021 the company jumped 7 places to claim the top spot and move above Apple as the top technology brand within the report. This feat only goes to show the significant uptick in awareness of these B2B tech brands.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and not every consumer tech brand has been displaced by a B2B giant. This year, once again, sees Apple retain a spot in the top four - a feat it has accomplished since the very first FutureBrand Index. In the last seven years, the majority of the company’s attribute scores have increased year on year, demonstrating consistency in evolution and continued passion for the brand.

Ultimately, after such a strange time for us all, it is clear to see that there is a boost in perception for technology brands that can create the platforms and infrastructures on which human life can thrive into the future.

See the top 100 from this year's FutureBrand Index here.

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