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The European appeal of brands

For more on the performance of brands in Europe

For more on the performance of brands in Europe

Leading brands make up just over a fifth of the Top500 index, yet they have a reach that retailers cannot match.

Leading brands – those that sell goods they design and manufacture directly to shoppers, as well as through other retailers – make up relatively few of the Top500, with just one in the five of the index classified as a retail brand.

Despite making up a smaller part of the index, RetailX research suggests that brands are more likely than retailers to distribute their goods to customers across the European Economic Area. That may be because retailers started by serving a particular market or group of markets before choosing the products that they offer them, while brands aim to sell the goods they make to as many people as possible, across the widest area they can.

Who are the brands?

Some 114 of the Top500 are brands. Together they account for 22.8% of the full index. Consumer and retail brands appear to perform more strongly in the index relative to their number, and that could be because they take a pan-European approach to selling on the continent.

Leading brands selling to Europe hail from a number of continents, although almost three-quarters (73%) are European and the largest single group is from the UK, where a quarter (25%) are headquartered. That market is closely followed by the United States (24%), and 4% are from Asia – including 1% from each of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

France (10%) is the second-biggest European home for brands, followed by Germany (9%), Spain (7%), Italy (6%), the Netherlands (5%), Denmark (4%), Sweden (4%), Switzerland (2%), Poland (2%) and Austria (1%).

What do leading European brands make and sell?

Fashion is a key theme. Of those 114 brands, 72 (or 62%) sell fashion clothing, 58 (51%) fashion footwear and 64 (55%) fashion accessories. Thirty-one (26%) sell jewellery, and 17 (15%) cosmetics. The homewares category is less present among brands, accounting for 11 – or 10% – of the retail brands in the listing, while nine (8%) make and sell consumer electronics, four (4%) produce software and three (3%) produce children’s toys and accessories.

How far afield do brands deliver?

Brands take a much more pan-European approach to selling than Top500 retailers.

Of the brands, 32% deliver to all 32 EEA countries, while 48% deliver to at least 20 markets. Just over a third (36%) deliver to fewer than 10 countries, while just 4% deliver to a single country. There’s a contrast to the full Top500, where almost a third (29%) deliver to only one EEA member state and 23% deliver across the EEA. On average, brands deliver to an average 18 EEA countries.

Some 89% of brands deliver to the UK and 84% to Germany, followed by France (79%), Austria and Spain (75%), Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands (all 73%), Denmark, Ireland and Sweden (63%), Poland (62%) and Switzerland (61%). The markets that fewest brands deliver to are Lichtenstein (36%) followed by, in reverse order, Malta and Cyprus (41%), Croatia (44%), Norway (46%), and Estonia and Bulgaria (47%).

The figures suggest that brands are focused on targeting markets with greater populations as well as the propensity to buy online the products that they sell. One question these figures raise is whether brands are likely to serve more markets as their businesses become more developed.

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