Special Report

Biggest Product Launches of the Decade

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Corporations spend millions researching, developing, and perfecting various consumer goods. Sometimes, these products strike a chord with consumers and become a full-on phenomenon.

Some of these products, like faux meat food products that taste like the real thing or futuristic wearable tech gadgets, represent brand new innovations that forever change the companies and industries of which they are a part. Others are similar to existing products, but their design, price point, and quality are so far beyond the competition that they quickly dominate the market.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed business media outlets such as Bloomberg, as well as trade publications and financial news sites, to round up a list of the biggest product launches of the decade. This list, while not exhaustive, highlights all-new products, major changes in well-known existing products, products that integrate groundbreaking new technologies, and commercial success stories. The products are not listed in any particular order.

Many of the successful launches throughout the decade have been consumer electronic products. Improving processing power, chip and memory technology, software, and other tech have all been utilized to make new products or improve on existing ones. The major tech corporations launching these products are quickly becoming the largest businesses in the world and employing a growing share of the workforce. These are America’s 25 thriving industries.

While these products were all major hits, not every item can be as successful. Companies sometimes misread market preferences, put out a new product before it is ready, or rely on an unsustainable business model. This can often lead to disaster and cause companies to lose millions and even billions of dollars. These are the biggest product flops of the decade.

Click here to see the biggest product launches of the decade

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

1. iPad
> Company: Apple
> Launched in: 2010

Apple’s iPad is one of the most successful product launches in history. In its debut year of 2010, the tablet sold nearly 7.5 million units. As of September 2019, over 360 million iPads across all the versions that have been introduced, have been sold. As of the second quarter of 2019, Apple accounted for 38.1% of the global tablet market share, the most of any company.


Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

2. Juul
> Company: Juul Labs
> Launched in: 2015

The popularity of Juul, a tobacco vaporizer alternative to cigarettes, is undeniable. In 2018, Juul had a 72% share of the e-cigarette market and Its parent company, Juul Labs, was worth an estimated $15 billion. After debuting in 2015, Juul’s popularity exploded two years later, with sales spiking by nearly 800% from the summer of 2017 to the summer of 2018.

Juul faced a slew of bad press after reports found that over a quarter of high schoolers and more than 10% of middle schoolers use Juul and other e-cigarettes — amounting to over 5 million teens. The backlash has contributed to the $4.5 billion writedown for tobacco giant Altria that, since 2018, has had a 35% stake in Juul.

Source: Courtesy of Marvel Studios

3. Avengers: Endgame
> Company: Marvel Entertainment
> Launched in: 2019

Superhero movies tend to dominate the box office, and none has been quite as successful as the final Avengers film. “Avengers: Endgame” was the final film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity Saga. It capped the story off with a bang, becoming the highest grossing film in history, with nearly $2.8 billion in worldwide earnings. It edged out Avatar by less than $8 million before leaving theaters. It was bolstered by largely positive reviews from viewers and critics.

Source: luza studios / Getty Images

4. Nintendo Switch
> Company: Nintendo
> Launched in: 2017

Nintendo was finally able to combat the rising popularity of consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation with a unique console of its own — the Switch. The Switch allows gamers to play their favorite games hooked up to a TV, then take them on the go with a handheld tablet.

It helped that the Switch was the only way to play games like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” and “Super Mario Odyssey” — each of which received rave reviews from game critics. The Switch has been a smash hit for Nintendo, selling over 41 million units in its first two years.


Source: LeoPatrizi / Getty Images

5. Apple Watch
> Company: Apple
> Launched in: 2015

Though other wearable technology like the Pebble watch debuted ahead of the Apple Watch, tech junkies soon flocked Apple’s version of the smartwatch. Apple relied on its decades of product development and strong brand loyalty to dominate the smartwatch market.

After debuting in April of 2015, the Apple Watch was an instant hit, selling 4.2 million units in the first quarter in which it was available, and making Apple the world’s top wearable maker. That domination has only been extended in the years since. Apple holds nearly half of the global smartwatch market share at 48% as of 2019’s third quarter. Samsung is the next closest with a 13.4% share.

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

6. TikTok
> Company: ByteDance
> Launched in: 2018

TikTok is the hottest app in social media. The short-form video making and sharing service exploded in popularity in 2018, after its parent company acquired the similar app Musical.ly and forced its users to switch to TikTok. That year, TikTok became the most popular app in Apple’s App Store and reportedly racked up close to 800 million total downloads. It is especially popular with younger users.

TikTok has recently come under scrutiny, changing its terms of use to prevent users under 13 from creating accounts and posting videos, as required by law. It has also drawn the attention of U.S. lawmakers because, being Chinese-owned it may pose national security concerns. Legislators also say they are concerned about TikTok’s collection of user data and possible censorship issues.


Source: Square Capital, LLC

7. Square payment reader
> Company: Square, Inc.
> Launched in: 2010

Seemingly overnight, Square disrupted the way that smaller companies and independent vendors were able to do business. In 2010, the company shipped out millions of card swipers that enabled small businesses to accept credit card transactions.

Before Square’s payment reader and processing service, most companies could only accept cards after a third party set them up to accept the cards in exchange for expensive fees, the cost of a card reader, and a percentage of each transaction. Square collects 2.75% and an additional 15 cent charge on every swipe, and many vendors leapt at the opportunity to use Square. Business Insider hailed the product’s “simplicity, elegance, and design” in an early review. Square has been reporting consistent annual revenue growth, going from $200 million in net revenue in 2012 to $3.3 billion in 2018.

Source: Dollar Shave Club

8. Dollar Shave Club
> Company: Dollar Shave Club
> Launched in: 2011

Dollar Shave Club was able to leverage its viral marketing success into becoming a billion dollar business. The company sends customers razors and other grooming products via the mail on a monthly basis for far less than customers would pay for similar products at brick and mortar stores.

In 2012, Dollar Shave Club rolled out an ad on YouTube outlining the service and mocking its competitors. That advertisement soon went viral, and within two days, the company received 12,000 orders. By 2016, Dollar Shave Club had 3.2 million users and was purchased by Unilever for $1 billion.

Source: Rachel Murray / Getty Images

9. Casper Mattresses
> Company: Sleep
> Launched in: 2014

Casper Mattress excelled at finding its target market and advertised directly to potential customers to great effect. The mattress company that ships bedding directly to customers made an impression with an outdoor advertising campaign — and later digital — that used a quirky, uniquely irreverent tone that appealed to younger consumers. This marketing technique clearly worked, as Casper sold $1 million worth of mattresses in less than a month after officially opening for business in 2014. Earlier this year, the company was valued at $1.1 billion.


10. Impossible Whopper
> Company: Burger King / Impossible Foods
> Launched in: 2019

In the late 2010s, the promise of plant-based meat substitutes became an exciting reality. Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat began rolling out faux meat products in partnership with national food chains. The biggest smash hit was the Impossible Whopper — a meatless spin on Burger King’s signature burger. In August 2019, the Impossible Whopper was made available at over 7,000 U.S. Burger King locations. Stores reportedly sold close to 50 of the sandwiches a day, making it a smash success and boosting Burger King’s same-store sales by about 6%.

Source: Courtesy of HBO

11. Game of Thrones
> Company: HBO
> Launched in: 2011

HBO was reportedly on the verge of scrapping the entire series “Game of Thrones” because of how badly the show’s original pilot (not the one that ultimately aired) turned out. Fortunately for the network and fans around the world, the network gave it another shot and ended up with gold. The epic fantasy series about various families vying for control of the mythical land of Westeros became a full-blown phenomenon and one of the most popular and talked-about series in television history.

“Game of Thrones,” which ran from 2011 until 2019, started out fairly popular, attracting over 2 million viewers to the initial airing of its pilot episode. By its final season, “Game of Thrones” averaged over 44 million viewers per episode in America alone, when including viewers who streamed the episodes online. The show is so popular, there are reportedly five prequels and spinoffs in the works.


Source: Scott Heins / Getty Images

12. Peloton
> Company: Peloton Interactive, Inc.
> Launched in: 2014

With the burgeoning popularity of spin class, it was inevitable that a company would come along and make spinning possible for those nowhere near a studio. Peloton is that company. The demand for such a service has existed for years, as Peloton raised over $300,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to get the company rolling. After it began selling indoor exercise bikes in 2014, Peloton has sold over a half a million units in the years since, with usership and revenue increasing each year.

13. Tesla Model S
> Company: Tesla
> Launched in: 2012

Few auto companies have revolutionized the industry like Tesla. Though it was not the first car company to debut an electric car, Tesla’s Model S is arguably the most successful. Debuted in 2012, the Model S received considerable hype from drivers and auto journalists alike. Though the company could only deliver a maximum of 400 vehicles per week in its first year, the demand for Tesla’s cars has always been high. The company has sold more and more vehicles with each passing year.

Source: amazon.com

14. Amazon Echo
> Company: Amazon
> Launched in: 2014

The Amazon Echo is one of the most popular tech devices of the decade. Officially known as a smartspeaker, the Echo comes with Alexa, a voice-activated digital assistant. The Echo responds to a huge number of voice commands, enabling users to request it to play specific songs, control the electronics in their homes, set reminders and more. The Echo has been a smash hit since its debut in 2014 — Amazon has sold more than 100 million Echoes and its offshoot family of products as of 2019.


Source: Disney Studios

15. Disney Plus
> Company: The Walt Disney Company
> Launched in: 2019

Disney is a video streaming service like Netflix and Amazon Prime that launched on Nov. 12. Despite its late entry to the relatively crowded field, the service appears to be a success, with a reported 10 million subscriptions on its first day and 24 million in three weeks. Disney Plus content includes Disney’s family friendly movies and content from other companies like Marvel, Lucasfilms, Marvel, Pixar, and National Geographic.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.