Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Best-Selling Products of All Time

1. Rubik’s Cube

Comeback … sales of Rubik's Cube have soared in recent years.
Category: Toy
Units sold/sales: 350 million units
Parent Company: Seven Towns Ltd.

ErnÅ‘ Rubik created the first prototype of the “Magic Cube” in 1974 in Budapest, Hungary. An American toy manufacturer bought the product license and renamed it the Rubik’s Cube in 1980, making the puzzle an international sensation. At the height of the toy’s popularity in the mid-1980s, the company estimates that as much as one-fifth of the world’s population had tried solving the Rubik’s Cube. With its eye-catching colors, affordability and the puzzle’s level of difficulty, the Rubik’s Cube has maintained popularity over the years.

2. iPhone


Product Management - iPhone - Product Management - Product Positioning


Category: Smartphone
Units sold/sales: 250 million units
Parent Company: Apple
In just five years, 250 million iPhones have been shipped, making it the top-selling smartphone to date. Apple’s iPhone is typically the top seller for Verizon (NYSE: VZ), AT&T (NYSE: T) and Sprint (NYSE: S). Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that the iPhone has generated about $150 billion in revenue for Apple since its introduction to the market in June 2007. There are five generations of the iPhone: the original, 3G, 3GS, 4 and 4S, and more likely ahead. With newer generations often more popular than previous ones, Apple’s iPhone sales are likely to continue to grow at a healthy pace.

3. Harry Potter

Category: Book series
Units sold/sales: 450 million units
Parent Company: Scholastic (U.S. publisher)

Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) released the first Harry Potter book of the series in the United States in the 1990s, under the name Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The book was an instant success, only to be repeated with each successive installment. Harry Potter became the top-selling series, with sales totalling $7.7 billion. The novels made J.K. Rowling one of the highest paid authors in the world and led to a similarly successful movie franchise. Recently, Rowling agreed to release e-book versions of the series, which grossed $1 million in three days. The final entry, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is one of the fastest selling books of all time, with more than 11 million copies sold in the first 24 hours of its release.

4. Michael Jackson Thriller


Category: Album
Units sold/sales: 110 million units
Parent Company: Epic Records
The 30th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller release by Epic Records will be this November. One of the first albums to use music videos as a promotional tool, it reached its status as best-selling album of all-time in just over a year. Jackson won eight Grammy Awards in 1984 for Thriller, including Album of the Year. Seven of the songs on the album were Billboard top ten hits. To put the King of Pop’s album sales in perspective, Justin Bieber’s My World (1 and 2) have collectively sold just 3.2 million.

5. Mario Franchise



Category: Video game franchise
Units sold/sales: 262 million units
Parent Company: Nintendo
The character “Mario” debuted in 1981’s popular Donkey Kong franchise. Since then, the Italian plumber has appeared in dozens of titles, including at least 31 separate titles that have topped 1 million unit sales. One of the subfranchises, Super Mario, has alone sold more than 262 million units. While it is the most popular console video game franchise of all time, the Angry Birds mobile franchise, which creates phone and tablet application games, has recorded more than a billion downloads.

6. iPad
ipad-3-concept

Category: Tablet
Units sold/sales: 67 million units
Parent Company: Apple
Apple released the first iPad in April of 2010. The iPad was an instant success and became first commercially successful tablet computer. Recently, the company has launched the third generation of its hugely popular tablet computer. Since its release, more than 67 million iPads have been sold. To put this number in perspective, it took 24 years for Apple to sell the same number of computers. According to IDGConnect, 12% of iPad users in enterprise (at work, not home) no longer use their personal computer. And in the education sector, Apple sells two iPads for every computer.

7. Star Wars

Category: Movies
Units sold/sales: $4.54 billion in ticket sales
Parent company: 20th Century Fox

In 2009, James Cameron’s Avatar became the highest-grossing U.S. film of all time. Adjusted for inflation, 1939’s Gone with the Wind remains the highest-grossing film, according to Box Office Mojo. However, when a film franchise is considered — and accounting for inflation — nothing comes close to George Lucas’s Star Wars. The original movie debuted in 1977, grossing more than $1.4 billion. With the five films that followed, ending with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the franchise grossed $4.54 billion.

8. Toyota Corolla


Category: Vehicle
Units sold/sales: 39 million cars
Parent Company: Toyota

The Corolla has been selling for more than four decades, with the model evolving over 11 generations. Since it was first produced, Toyota has sold one Corolla every 40 seconds. The car was also the first the Japanese manufacturer that chose to produce in the U.S. — sales in the U.S. began in 1968. The current model gets 34 MPG and has a starting price of $16,130. Right behind the Corolla for best-selling vehicle is the Ford (NYSE: F) F-150 pickup.

9. Lipitor


Category: Pharmaceutical
Units sold/sales: $125 billion revenue
Parent Company: Pfizer

Lipitor belongs to a class of drugs called statins that help lower the level of LDL — the so-called bad cholesterol — in the blood. It was developed by Warner-Lambert, which later merged with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), and was approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997. Though Lipitor was not the first in its class, its ability to reduce cholesterol and significant advertising quickly propelled it to the top of its class of drugs. The same year that it was released, the FDA began to allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. By 2008, the market size of drug advertising grew to more than $4.5 billion, and in 2009, Lipitor had the largest ad expenditure of any drug. This past November, Pfizer’s patent on the drug ended. Since 1997, the drug has had sales of over $125 billion, which amounts to 20% to 25% of Pfizer’s revenue during this time.

10. PlayStation


Category: Video game console
Units sold/sales: 300+ million units
Parent Company: Sony

The first edition of the Sony (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation, released in 1995, was the Japanese electronics manufacturer’s foray into video games. Five years after the first PlayStation was released, Sony began selling the PlayStation 2, the second edition of its console. The PS2 went on to become the most popular gaming console of all time, selling more than 150 million units by the beginning of 2011. The PS3, which hit the market in 2006, has been less successful, but the franchise as a whole is by far the most popular in history, having sold well over 300 million units. The video gaming console has been bolstered by popular game franchises, including the Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, and Gran Turismo series.

Michael A. Sauter, Lisa A. Nelson, Elisabeth Uible and Samuel Weigley