Special Report

25 Biggest Product Flops of the Last 10 Years

Source: sshaw75 / Getty Images

1. Astro Pants
> Company: Lululemon Athletica
> Year introduced: 2013
> What it was: Yoga pants

Astro Pants marked a major misfire for women’s athleisure brand lululemon. The form-fitting yoga pants became effectively translucent when wearers bent over. The gaffe resulted in the Vancouver-based company recalling 17% of its yoga pants and an estimated $67 million in lost revenue. Even after the company attempted to address the issue, problems remained with customers complaining that the pants, which sold for about $100 a pair, were still too sheer.

2. Google Glass
> Company: Alphabet
> Year introduced: 2013
> What it was: Wearable technology

Google first announced Google Glass — an eyeglasses-shaped head-mounted display with smartphone capabilities — to the public in 2012. The announcement began with a statement of principle: “We think technology should work for you — to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t.”

After two years of disappointing sales, it was clear consumers did not need Google Glass. Google stuck to its principle, and in 2015 discontinued the product’s development. Privacy concerns, reported bugs, low battery life, bans from public spaces, and an inability to live up to the hype all stymied public adoption of the technology.

Source: Courtesy of Facebook

3. Home
> Company: Facebook
> Year introduced: 2013
> What it was: Mobile phone app

The Facebook Home is an example of the Silicon Valley social-media giant overreaching. With surging mobile phone use and social-media engagement, Facebook in 2013 launched a family of apps that combine these trends. Facebook Home converts the home screen of a smartphone into the Facebook news feed. While most of Facebook’s more than 1 billion users log in to their accounts on a smartphone, the social-media giant’s product never caught on. Early users cited clunky operation, the inability to toggle between Facebook Home and the original phone interface, and lack of options for customization, among other snags.

4. Satisfries
> Company: Burger King
> Year introduced: 2013
> What it was: Food

In 2013, Burger King introduced a menu item advertised as a healthy alternative to the chain’s traditional French fries. By using a less porous batter, Satisfries absorbed less oil than regular fries during cooking. While Satisfries were made with a healthier recipe, Burger King failed to convey the difference to customers. The fries also were more expensive than Burger King’s regular French fries and failed to gain appeal from consumers. The company discontinued the fries in 2014, less than a year after they were introduced.

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News via Getty Images

5. Amazon Fire Phone
> Company: Amazon
> Year introduced: 2014
> What it was: Smartphone

E-commerce giant Amazon does many things well, but making smartphones apparently is not one of them. The company released its Amazon Fire Phone in 2014 — and just 13 months later, the initiative was scrapped. The device’s failure was attributable to several factors. It did not offer as many apps as competitor devices — just 240,000 compared with more than a million available to Android users. It also came late to a crowded market as the iPhone was already in its eighth generation. Additionally, the phone’s unique features were geared more to encourage users to make more purchases on Amazon than to their actual needs.

Just months after the phone’s announcement, Amazon reportedly had $83 million worth of phones in inventory, and the company was forced to take a $170 million writedown charge on costs associated with the device.

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