In terms of brand intimacy with consumers, Nike topped the charts in a new survey released by MBLM, the Brand Intimacy Agency.

Interestingly, apparel as a category ranked eighth, in a field of nine other industries, in terms of creating and building intimate brand relationships.

Trailing Nike in the second and third slots were Levi’s and Under Armour, respectively. The report also noted the U.S. apparel market is valued at $331 billion and accounts for 28 percent of the global business. Double-digit percentage growth is predicted for the international apparel business between now and 2020.

The MBLM Top 10 list found Adidas, Louis Vuitton and H&M in the fourth through sixth spots. Puma, Express, The North Face and Banana Republic finished seventh through 10th, respectively. In regard to gender, The North Face was the number-one label with women and Levi’s was the highest-ranked brand for men

Nike scored a 42 Quotient score. That is “a shorthand score that demonstrates how a brand is performing relative to its ability to create ultimate brand relationships, and enables comparisons to other brands in the same category, or to the industry average.” Nike earned 6 percent for Fusing, a tie with number-three Under Armour. Fusing refers to “when a person and a brand are inexorably linked and co-identified. In this stage, the identities of the person and the brand begin to merge and become a form of mutual realization and expression,” according to the report. Nike and Under Armour also topped the charts for the most intimate brand relationships among 18-year-olds to 34-year-olds.

Among the respondents, Nike had greater Brand Intimacy than Under Armour. Both labels scored highest for fulfillment, which is largely rooted in performance. Nike excelled in Nostalgia, though the survey noted that “given the relative newness of Under Armour, it’s not surprising it scores lower.” Nike was also stronger on Ritual — as in, “a vital part of a person’s daily existence.”

MBLM claimed that 23.2 percent of Nike customers surveyed said they were willing to pay 20 percent more for its products, whereas 14.6 percent of Under Armour customers said the same.

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