Up to €1 trillion could be lost in brand value globally this year as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, with the aviation sector the most affected by the crisis.
This is according to a new report from Brand Finance, which estimates that the top 25 most valuable Irish brands could see a 14 per cent drop in value this year, equivalent to a €2.9 billion hit.
The latest report indicates the brand value of top Irish companies will fall to €17.5 billion, as against a projected €20.4 billion before the Covid-19 crisis took hold.
The report also shows that Penneys has taken over from Guinness as the State's most valuable brand, jumping two places after recording a 9 per cent rise in value to €2.4 billion over the last year. Its success may be short-lived, however, given the shuttering of physical stores and the lack of an online outlet.
Brand Finance estimates the hit to Penneys, which trades as Primark outside of the Republic, could equate to as much as €705 million a month loss in net sales.
AIB also overtook Guinness in this year's Irish ranking, despite an 18 per cent decline in brand value to €1.9 billion. Guinness's brand value fell 24 per cent, also to €1.9 billion, although given its recognition it is expected to bounce back quickly.
Rounding out the top 10 Irish brands are Ryanair, Smurfit Kappa, Bank of Ireland, Baileys, DCC, Jameson and Ardagh Group.
"Despite having managed their way through the 3½ years of protracted Brexit uncertainty, the leading Irish brands are now facing even more uncertainty in 2020," said Simon Haigh, managing director of Brand Finance Ireland.
"It is anticipated that there will be a limited impact from the Covid-19 pandemic on the food brand owners Glanbia and Kerry Group in this year's top 25 ranking, but banking, apparel and aviation brands face a challenging year ahead," he added.