Global

Brand Simplicity Index

1.
ALDI

Rank change from 2013:

0

Brand Simplicity Score:

936

Industry:

Retail/Grocery


How do you get to the top of the Global Brand Simplicity Index? Ask ALDI, the #1 brand for the second year in a row. Or better yet, ask the customers of this worldwide German discount supermarket (and owner of Trader Joe’s in the United States). They’ll tell you simply, as our respondents did, that ALDI offers “clear pricing and a clear offer”—namely, high quality at low prices with a trimmed-down approach that makes decisions easier and the shopping experience basic, but rewardin

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3.
Lidl

Rank change from 2013:

N/A

Brand Simplicity Score:

820

Industry:

Retail/Grocery


Lidl, another global supermarket discount chain from Germany, makes its debut on our global list with an impressive #3 finish. Lidl, say respondents, “nails the shopping experience with clear communication” about its products. Discount supermarkets have been growing at such a rapid pace in Europe that they are beginning to change the competitive space.

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4.
McDonald’s

Rank change from 2013:

0

Brand Simplicity Score:

813

Industry:

Restaurants


You’ll find McDonald’s right where it was in last year’s rankings. A consistent Top 10 finisher on the Simplicity Index, the world’s #1 fast-food franchise has faced stiff competition from chains like Chipotle—especially in the battle to attract more Millennials. But McDonald’s still wins points with consumers for its variety of basic offerings and the knowledge that McDonald’s is “the same everywhere.”

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5.
Netflix

Rank change from 2013:

N/A

Brand Simplicity Score:

792

Industry:

Internet retail


As Netflix continues to expand its reach beyond the US to countries including the UK and Sweden—with plans to expand into Germany as well as France, Austria, Belgium and elsewhere—it debuts at an impressive #5 on the global list. Respondents say they love Netflix’s fixed price with access to everything, as well as its “simple app and payment method.”

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6.
IKEA

Rank change from 2013:

+3

Brand Simplicity Score:

790

Industry:

Retail/General


For anyone who has had to furnish a new home or business in a hurry, Swedish furniture maker IKEA has long been a simple solution. Respondents say the combination of cheap and easy is unbeatable, as is the minimalist and space-saving design that helps “simplify home life.” IKEA’s inviting approach to brand experience—which recently included an overnight spa in one of its UK stores—wins points, too.

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7.
C&A

Rank change from 2013:

0

Brand Simplicity Score:

785

Industry:

Retail/Fashion


Holding steady at #7, international fashion retail clothing chain C&A has more than 1,500 stores in 21 countries. Respondents say the Dutch company makes online shopping easy to handle, offers a wide selection and provides timely information about fashion trends. All of which makes the C&A experience “easy and straightforward.”

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8.
SUBWAY

Rank change from 2013:

+7

Brand Simplicity Score:

785

Industry:

Restaurants


“Simple menus,” “pricing that’s easy to remember” and a product that “caters to individual customer needs”—that’s how respondents describe SUBWAY. With more than 42,000 restaurants in 108 countries, SUBWAY has built its reputation on an uncomplicated, made-to-order product. Up from #15 last year, SUBWAY is working on building its base with health- conscious Millennials. Avocados, anyone?

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9.
Miele

Rank change from 2013:

N/A

Brand Simplicity Score:

777

Industry:

Appliances


Driven by the motto “Forever Better,” this German-based manufacturer of high-end appliances prides itself on quality, and respondents agree Miele is top shelf. “A superb brand that never malfunctions,” says one respondent from Sweden, summing up the sentiment. Its uncomplicated technology and simple operation win consumer satisfaction for the entire experience, from purchase to usage.

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10.
Amazon

Rank change from 2013:

-8

Brand Simplicity Score:

776

Industry:

Internet retail


Amazon’s product lines now extend far beyond books, music and electronics to the competitive world of television series and even gallery art. Some wonder whether the world’s largest Internet company is overextending itself. Dropping from #2 last year, Amazon still delivers enough simplicity to keep it in the Top 10. At its core, it continues to offer easy browsing, clear price comparisons and fast delivery.

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11.
Samsung

Rank change from 2013:

-3

Brand Simplicity Score:

774

Industry:

Electronics

12.
Nokia

Rank change from 2013:

0

Brand Simplicity Score:

773

Industry:

Electronics

13.
KFC

Rank change from 2013:

-8

Brand Simplicity Score:

773

Industry:

Restaurants

14.
Burger King

Rank change from 2013:

-3

Brand Simplicity Score:

764

Industry:

Restaurants

16.
Carrefour

Rank change from 2013:

-10

Brand Simplicity Score:

759

Industry:

Retail/Grocery


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17.
Pizza Hut

Rank change from 2013:

-7

Brand Simplicity Score:

754

Industry:

Restaurants

18.
LG

Rank change from 2013:

-2

Brand Simplicity Score:

751

Industry:

Electronics


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20.
Sony

Rank change from 2013:

+2

Brand Simplicity Score:

742

Industry:

Electronics

21.
eBay

Rank change from 2013:

+8

Brand Simplicity Score:

741

Industry:

Internet retail

22.
Apple

Rank change from 2013:

-3

Brand Simplicity Score:

731

Industry:

Electronics

23.
Dell

Rank change from 2013:

+16

Brand Simplicity Score:

722

Industry:

Electronics

24.
Bosch

Rank change from 2013:

+8

Brand Simplicity Score:

720

Industry:

Appliances

25.
Philips

Rank change from 2013:

-2

Brand Simplicity Score:

710

Industry:

Electronics

26.
HP

Rank change from 2013:

+16

Brand Simplicity Score:

710

Industry:

Electronics

27.
Best Western

Rank change from 2013:

+10

Brand Simplicity Score:

707

Industry:

Travel/Hotels


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28.
H&M

Rank change from 2013:

-3

Brand Simplicity Score:

702

Industry:

Retail/Fashion

29.
Haier

Rank change from 2013:

+35

Brand Simplicity Score:

698

Industry:

Appliances


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31.
Sephora

Rank change from 2013:

+11

Brand Simplicity Score:

696

Industry:

Retail/Health and beauty


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32.
Canon

Rank change from 2013:

-12

Brand Simplicity Score:

695

Industry:

Electronics

33.
Panasonic

Rank change from 2013:

-5

Brand Simplicity Score:

684

Industry:

Electronics

34.
Nike

Rank change from 2013:

-7

Brand Simplicity Score:

679

Industry:

Fitness

35.
Adidas

Rank change from 2013:

-2

Brand Simplicity Score:

674

Industry:

Fitness

36.
ZARA

Rank change from 2013:

+10

Brand Simplicity Score:

673

Industry:

Retail/Fashion

37.
HTC

Rank change from 2013:

-14

Brand Simplicity Score:

672

Industry:

Electronics


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38.
Microsoft

Rank change from 2013:

+13

Brand Simplicity Score:

668

Industry:

Electronics

39.
Skype

Rank change from 2013:

-8

Brand Simplicity Score:

668

Industry:

Telecom/Cell phone

40.
Ford

Rank change from 2013:

+21

Brand Simplicity Score:

668

Industry:

Automotive

41.
Walmart

Rank change from 2013:

-28

Brand Simplicity Score:

663

Industry:

Retail/General


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42.
Gap

Rank change from 2013:

+9

Brand Simplicity Score:

663

Industry:

Retail/Fashion

43.
Starbucks

Rank change from 2013:

-26

Brand Simplicity Score:

656

Industry:

Restaurants

44.
Lenovo

Rank change from 2013:

-23

Brand Simplicity Score:

655

Industry:

Electronics


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45.
Groupon

Rank change from 2013:

+11

Brand Simplicity Score:

654

Industry:

Internet retail

46.
Sky

Rank change from 2013:

+32

Brand Simplicity Score:

653

Industry:

Telecom/Cable


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47.
Mercedes-Benz

Rank change from 2013:

+2

Brand Simplicity Score:

650

Industry:

Automotive

48.
Lufthansa

Rank change from 2013:

+5

Brand Simplicity Score:

650

Industry:

Travel/Air

49.
Siemens

Rank change from 2013:

+16

Brand Simplicity Score:

649

Industry:

Electronics


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50.
Expedia

Rank change from 2013:

-5

Brand Simplicity Score:

647

Industry:

Travel/Booking

51.
Hilton

Rank change from 2013:

-17

Brand Simplicity Score:

644

Industry:

Travel/Hotels

52.
Toyota

Rank change from 2013:

-22

Brand Simplicity Score:

643

Industry:

Automotive

54.
Volkswagen

Rank change from 2013:

-16

Brand Simplicity Score:

639

Industry:

Automotive

55.
Topshop

Rank change from 2013:

0

Brand Simplicity Score:

635

Industry:

Retail/Fashion

56.
FedEx

Rank change from 2013:

+19

Brand Simplicity Score:

630

Industry:

Shipping/Mail

58.
Reebok

Rank change from 2013:

-16

Brand Simplicity Score:

624

Industry:

Fitness

59.
Motorola

Rank change from 2013:

+5

Brand Simplicity Score:

624

Industry:

Electronics


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60.
Vodafone

Rank change from 2013:

-2

Brand Simplicity Score:

621

Industry:

Telecom/Cell phone

61.
Puma

Rank change from 2013:

+1

Brand Simplicity Score:

619

Industry:

Fitness

62.
Boots

Rank change from 2013:

+7

Brand Simplicity Score:

615

Industry:

Retail/Health and beauty

63.
Holiday Inn

Rank change from 2013:

-16

Brand Simplicity Score:

613

Industry:

Travel/Hotels

64.
Marriott

Rank change from 2013:

-12

Brand Simplicity Score:

612

Industry:

Travel/Hotels

65.
iTunes

Rank change from 2013:

-5

Brand Simplicity Score:

610

Industry:

Internet retail

66.
Marks & Spencer

Rank change from 2013:

-31

Brand Simplicity Score:

610

Industry:

Retail/General

67.
British Airways

Rank change from 2013:

N/A

Brand Simplicity Score:

605

Industry:

Travel/Air


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69.
O2

Rank change from 2013:

+11

Brand Simplicity Score:

604

Industry:

Telecom/Cell phone


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71.
BMW

Rank change from 2013:

-23

Brand Simplicity Score:

588

Industry:

Automotive

72.
DHL

Rank change from 2013:

0

Brand Simplicity Score:

586

Industry:

Shipping/Mail

73.
Debenhams

Rank change from 2013:

-19

Brand Simplicity Score:

585

Industry:

Retail/General

74.
UPS

Rank change from 2013:

+2

Brand Simplicity Score:

577

Industry:

Shipping/Mail

75.
Peugeot

Rank change from 2013:

N/A

Brand Simplicity Score:

568

Industry:

Automotive


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76.
BlackBerry

Rank change from 2013:

+1

Brand Simplicity Score:

557

Industry:

Electronics

77.
Virgin Mobile

Rank change from 2013:

-4

Brand Simplicity Score:

555

Industry:

Telecom/Cell phone


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78.
Audi

Rank change from 2013:

+1

Brand Simplicity Score:

541

Industry:

Automotive

79.
Vattenfall

Rank change from 2013:

N/A

Brand Simplicity Score:

540

Industry:

Utilities


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81.
HSBC

Rank change from 2013:

+4

Brand Simplicity Score:

535

Industry:

Banks/Retail


For HSBC, it’s been a steady decline from the middle of the pack to the Bottom 10 of the Global Brand Simplicity Index. Respondents say customer service leaves them with the impression that the bank, not the customer, comes first, making “everything harder than it needs to be.” Clearly, HSBC needs to learn from First Direct, the Internet bank it owns, which landed in the Top 10 of the UK list.

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82.
Budget

Rank change from 2013:

-1

Brand Simplicity Score:

535

Industry:

Travel/Car rental


As rental car companies like Budget continue to consolidate, and prices rise as a result, consumers are feeling more than a pinch in their wallets. They’re feeling confused and just a little bit angry. “There are always hidden things you need to look into,” says one respondent, while another adds, “Advertising materials and the website are misleading.”

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83.
Hertz

Rank change from 2013:

+6

Brand Simplicity Score:

513

Industry:

Travel/Car rental


Hertz certainly isn’t winning any popularity contests with consumers globally, who have complaints about every step of the customer journey. “Useless customer service,” laments one Swedish respondent. In the Middle East, a respondent complains there’s a “lack of clarity” about leasing, and another in Germany says waiting times are “annoying.”

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85.
E.ON

Rank change from 2013:

+1

Brand Simplicity Score:

500

Industry:

Utilities


E.ON is a giant in the industry of energy supply, operating in more than 30 countries. Its problems are just as big. Earlier this year, the German-based utility company was ordered to pay a record 12 million British Pounds after an investigation in the UK found extensive poor sales practices. No wonder respondents around the world say E.ON “is completely untrustworthy,” out for themselves and just plain difficult.

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86.
Avis

Rank change from 2013:

+1

Brand Simplicity Score:

496

Industry:

Travel/Car rental


There’s a bit of a traffic jam of American rental car companies at the bottom of the Global Brand Simplicity Index. While Hertz and Avis have switched relative places this year, it’s still the same old story. In Sweden, Avis is perceived as unwilling to help. In the US, respondents complain about its complicated rewards program, while in Germany a respondent calls them “sneaky.” “Everything is complex about Avis,” says a respondent from India.

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87.
Citibank

Rank change from 2013:

+1

Brand Simplicity Score:

438

Industry:

Banks/Retail


Like HSBC, US-based Citibank has experienced declines in the Global Brand Simplicity Index rankings. In the Middle East, respondents say that Citibank would be rewarded for making its procedures more convenient. In the US, consumers see significant upside potential if Citibank could eliminate loopholes and clarify its messages.

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88.
Bupa

Rank change from 2013:

-20

Brand Simplicity Score:

434

Industry:

Health insurance


UK-based international healthcare provider Bupa is ailing. Its condition took a 20-spot turn for the worse this year, landing close to the Global Brand Simplicity Index floor. Complaints range from too much jargon in the handbooks, too many plans and a complex pricing structure, to “not keeping its commitment to clients at the time of settlement.”

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89.
Ryanair

Rank change from 2013:

+3

Brand Simplicity Score:

418

Industry:

Travel/Air


What can we say about Irish budget airline Ryanair that hasn’t been said before? Despite the company’s promise for a renewed focus on the customer experience, it’s still a bumpy and complicated ride for passengers. “Complex booking with all the onus on the passenger,” says one respondent. “Irritating and generally misleading,” says another.

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90.
AXA

Rank change from 2013:

+1

Brand Simplicity Score:

284

Industry:

General insurance


Global insurance group AXA claims last place in our Index. If AXA’s been consistent in any way, it’s apparently doing so by proving insurance companies are difficult to work with. One German respondent says AXA contracts are “hair-splitting” as well as time-consuming. In the Middle East, a frequent complaint is that terms and conditions may differ from what was communicated.

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Industry Rankings

2.
Electronics

Industry Simplicity Score:

761

Simplicity Premium:

5.1%

3.
Retail/Grocery

Industry Simplicity Score:

733

Simplicity Premium:

4.9%

4.
Internet retail

Industry Simplicity Score:

728

Simplicity Premium:

4.5%

5.
Appliances

Industry Simplicity Score:

726

Simplicity Premium:

4.8%

6.
Restaurants

Industry Simplicity Score:

699

Simplicity Premium:

5.2%

7.
Retail/General

Industry Simplicity Score:

664

Simplicity Premium:

4.6%

8.
Media

Industry Simplicity Score:

656

Simplicity Premium:

4.6%

9.
Shipping/Mail

Industry Simplicity Score:

603

Simplicity Premium:

3.9%

10.
Retail/Fashion

Industry Simplicity Score:

600

Simplicity Premium:

5.4%

11.
Travel/Hotels

Industry Simplicity Score:

595

Simplicity Premium:

4.9%

12.
Retail/Health and beauty

Industry Simplicity Score:

570

Simplicity Premium:

4.7%

13.
Travel/Booking

Industry Simplicity Score:

563

Simplicity Premium:

4.4%

14.
Telecom/Cell phone

Industry Simplicity Score:

553

Simplicity Premium:

4.5%

15.
Travel/Air

Industry Simplicity Score:

551

Simplicity Premium:

4.8%

17.
Banks/Retail

Industry Simplicity Score:

523

Simplicity Premium:

4.1%

18.
Automotive

Industry Simplicity Score:

496

Simplicity Premium:

4.7%

19.
Utilities

Industry Simplicity Score:

487

Simplicity Premium:

4.1%

20.
Fitness

Industry Simplicity Score:

475

Simplicity Premium:

5.1%

21.
Telecom/Cable

Industry Simplicity Score:

471

Simplicity Premium:

4.6%

22.
Travel/Train

Industry Simplicity Score:

461

Simplicity Premium:

4.6%

23.
Travel/Car rental

Industry Simplicity Score:

416

Simplicity Premium:

4.6%

24.
Health insurance

Industry Simplicity Score:

317

Simplicity Premium:

4.8%

25.
General insurance

Industry Simplicity Score:

270

Simplicity Premium:

4.5%

Simplicity pays

Since 2009, a stock portfolio comprising the publicly traded Top 10 simplest brands outperforms the major indexes by 170%.

GBSI_p5_simplicitypays

Industry comparison

Perceptions of industries often differ by region. Here is a country-by-country comparison against the global industry rankings.

GBSI_simplicity premium_Global

For further analysis of industry trends across regions, download the full report.