Top brands of 2018

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Last week Google published its annual list of the most searched terms and, as usual, we saw an interesting mix of surprising and expected results in each category. But when it comes to investments and the criterion on which we base market trends, which brands won out in 2018?

onefourzero used its digital capabilities to uncover a list of the most popular companies based on the following criterion: search volume, traffic volume and volume of social media conversations. We looked specifically at five sectors: Fashion, Casual Dining, FinTech, AI startups and Private Healthcare. Here are the top brands of the year:

Top Brands 2018 – Fashion

The British fashion industry is worth £32 billion and employs around 555,000 people, with 75% of these performing a sales function. So when the high street is hit by a drop in footfall the consequences are big. Data shows that, in 2018, most fashion brands recorded a decrease in online interest, a proof that current issues actually extend beyond the high street.

Just a few days ago, for example, online favourite Asos saw its shares plummeted by almost 38% – in line with our research, that shows online traffic and search demand for the brand dropping 18% – however, social conversations about the brand were up by 8%. Missguided and Bohoo followed the same patch on search demand (-23% and -8%, respectively), but also saw a drop in volume of conversations (-20% and -16%).

Online Search Demand Top Fashion Brands 2017 vs 2018


On the other hand, brands like Uniqlo and H&M registered an increase on all metrics, mostly driven by collaborations with artists and designers throughout the year.


Top Brands 2018 – Casual Dining

It’s been a difficult year for the casual dining sector, with the number of businesses becoming insolvent jumping by a quarter. 2018 saw big players in the British scene shutting down outlets across the country in an effort to restructure and recover the business. But it’s not all bad news in the restaurant sector: as our data shows, some brands managed to shield themselves from the challenges. Zizzi and Café Rouge, for example, registered an increase on all metrics: respectively +4% and +13% on social conversations, +11% and +18% on search demand and +6% and 24% on traffic volume compared to last year.

Online Social Conversation Top Casual Dining Brands 2017 vs 2018


Online Search Demand Top Casual Dining Brands 2017 vs 2018


Top Brands 2018 – Healthcare

As the NHS faces some of the biggest challenges of its existence, patients turn to private healthcare to escape the ever-increasing waiting times. This increasing demand for private healthcare services in the UK is reflected online: while search demand for NHS dropped slightly (-3% on search demand and -10% on traffic), the number of people searching for and talking about private companies has surged, with almost all brands registering growth in general online interest.


Top Brands 2018 – FinTech

2018 saw a big surge in new digital banks and the consolidation of some brands – Monzo, for example, has just reached the “unicorn” status. Naturally, digital alternatives for mortgages, savings and credit-build are also on the rise. But the FinTech scene goes way beyond personal finance: B2B solutions for mobile self-checkout, trading and regulators, for example, are expanding, and so is the online interest for such products.

Online Search Demand Top FinTech Companies – 2017 vs 2018


Top Brands 2018 – Artificial Intelligence

Another sector that’s been consistently growing on both B2C and B2B fronts is tech. Artificial Intelligence-focused products and services, specifically, are disrupting the market and attracting increased attention from investors and consumers. They cover energy, insurance, marketing, customer engagement, risk prediction,  decision-making, and much more. onefourzero identified dozens of new brands on the rise in the UK, and online interest is positive overall. Some companies, however, saw an impressive spike in search demand during this year signalling an interesting scenario for investments.

Online Search Demand Top AI-focused Start Ups – 2017 vs 2018


To succeed in 2019, brands need to prioritise digital as well as identify and react fast to trends to satisfy customer demands. Regardless of size or sector, it is imperative companies understand that old strategies must be replaced by modern, flexible approaches in order to remain relevant and capture new audiences. Finally, efforts towards transparency and sustainability are ever more important, as concerns increase between consumers and investors.

To find out how onefourzero’s data analysis and insights can help you build your digital strategy in 2019, click here or contact