Retail Ranks Third Out of 10 Industries Analyzed

NEW YORK — November 24, 2020 — The retail industry ranks third out of the 10 industries featured in MBLM’s Brand Intimacy COVID Study, a study of brands based on emotional connections during the pandemic. MBLM (pronounced Emblem) uses emotional science to build and manage more intimate brands. Amazon remains as the #1 category brand, followed by Walmart and Whole Foods Market, respectively. Brand Intimacy is the emotional science behind the bonds we form with the brands we use and love.

“As the pandemic has intensified, digital retailers have experienced explosive growth as consumers relied on online delivery and curb-side pick-up,” said Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “During the early stages of the pandemic, as people were stockpiling essentials like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bottled water, many brick and mortar retail brands served as community lifelines.”

MBLM’s study reveals that the remaining brands in the top 10 for the industry are Target, Costco Wholesale, The Home Depot, instacart, ebay, IKEA and Sephora. During the pandemic, daily usage of retail has increased by 37 percent. Consumers also increased their reliance on retail brands, with a 33 percent rise in “Can’t live without,” a measure that determines how essential a brand is to our lives.

Top intimate brands continue to significantly outperform the leading brands in the Fortune 500 and S&P 500 indices across revenue growth, profit growth and stock price during the second quarter of 2020, compared to the second quarter of 2019, according to the Brand Intimacy COVID Study. The percentage differences are significant and indicate the degree to which intimate brands generate millions more dollars in revenue.

Additional significant retail industry findings include:

  • The retail industry ranks third this year, up one position from our last study.
  • Retail has performed stronger than the cross-industry average across all archetypes except nostalgia and indulgence during COVID.
  • Amazon remains the top brand for men, women, and millennials.
  • Consumer preference for Whole Foods and Home Depot has increased, while preference for Sephora and Costco has decreased.

MBLM also analyzed the industry in an article entitled, “The Transformation of Retail.” The piece looks at Amazon’s broad appeal to different demographics, the surge in e-commerce and how the retail industry’s sharing and bonding scores have increased considerably since the previous study.

To view the retail industry findings, please click here. Additionally, MBLM offers Custom Dashboards providing extensive data for brands included in its Brand Intimacy COVID Study. To download the main Brand Intimacy COVID Study report or explore the Rankings, click here.


About MBLM: MBLM has invented a new marketing paradigm, Brand Intimacy, delivering expertise and offerings across three areas of focus: Agency, Lab and Platform. With offices in four countries, our multidisciplinary teams help clients build stronger bonds and deliver optimized marketing outcomes and returns for the long term. To learn more about how we can help you create and sustain ultimate brand relationships, visit



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