Behind the scene of Gucci's Aria collection film.

MILAN — The top 10 Italian luxury brands were able to increase their brand purpose index despite the pandemic.

According to the BrandZ 2021 Top 10 Most Valuable Italian Luxury Brands ranking published today by Kantar about the country’s top luxury companies, the first 10 firms saw their brand purpose index increase in the high-single-digit range on average year-over-year.

The brand purpose index considers the guiding principles of each brand’s mission and especially those having a positive impact on people and the planet. This reflects today’s consumer demand, increasingly influenced by the social responsibility and sustainability practices of the brands they purchase.

Italy’s most valuable luxury brand is Gucci with a brand value of $33.8 billion and a brand purpose index of 114, up from 104 last year. Incidentally, the Florence-based company also took the top spot in the BrandZ 2021 Top 30 Most Valuable Italian Brands ranking published last month, which takes into account companies across different categories, as reported.

Prada, the second most valuable brand among fashion and luxury players with a value of almost $4 billion, boasts a brand purpose index of 105, up five units compared to a year earlier.

Dolce & Gabbana, ranked 10th with a brand value of $498 million, is the company with the highest brand purpose index at 120, followed by Armani at 117, while Valentino, ranked eighth according to its brand value of almost $700 million, was the fastest growing in 2020 in terms of its brand purpose index, which stands at 114, up 14 units versus a year earlier. Other brands in the ranking include Fendi, Bulgari, Versace, Bottega Veneta and Salvatore Ferragamo.

The higher brand purpose indices of the ranked brands signals these companies’ increased social and environmental practices, which boost trust and appeal within their consumer base.

“Over the past years, luxury has made an important step, telegraphing a value that is not only economic but cultural,” said Shiva Mohammadian, brand associate director at Kantar. “The opportunity for luxury companies is to implement all those initiatives that can prove how the brand is taking responsibility for important cultural values and that it is acting to improve the world we live in.”

Mohammadian acknowledged that brands are required to define their purpose clearly and engage with their community to attract modern consumers, especially young ones.

According to a study conducted by Kantar in partnership with media company Class Editori and released in tandem with the ranking, the shopping experience is a key component that brands can leverage to showcase their purpose-driven mission across both the on- and offline channels. However, the study stressed that luxury brands’ customers are more inclined to buy in-store, with the average online penetration standing at 24 percent.