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DISAPPEARING ACTS

June 5, 2013

One of the principles in my Powershift Marketing book is that if the public reaches the future before you do, they will leave you behind (thank you, Faith Popcorn). Each year, 24/7 Wall St. identifies 10 brands they predict will disappear. Doug McIntyre’s most recent list (May 23rd) makes for an interesting read. Here’s a quick recap of Doug’s 2014 disappearing acts.

1. J.C. Penney – Well, this doesn’t surprise me.

2. Nook E-Reader – Launched two years after Kindle, which has remained the market leader, use of tablets is forecast to grow 69.8% in 2013, while e-readers are expected to drop 27%.

3. Martha Stewart Living Magazine – Martha Stewart has three divisions: publishing, broadcasting and merchandising. Publishing is the dog that won’t hunt. Revenue in five years has fallen from $179.1 million to $122.5 million.  Last year, the division lost $62 million.

4. LivingSocial – Daily deal sites is an idea that is past. The leader, Groupon, has seen its share go from $26 to $2.60 last year.The situation is worse for LivingSocial. Amazon confidently invested $175 million in it in 2010, then wrote down $169 million of that investment in late 2012. The biggest competitors to both LivingSocial and Groupon are eBay, American Express and Amazon’s own AmazonLocal service.

5. Volvo – As of April, their market share in America had dropped to 0.3%. Volvo’s future is in question not just in the U.S. The company’s dealerships in China inflated sales to receive cash incentives that never went to customers. That’s called fraud in America. China has been the Swedish car maker’s home since Zhejiang Geely Holding bought it in 2010.

6. Olympus – With smartphones, does anyone really need a digital camera? That’s why worldwide sales are down 18% in 2012 (they peaked in 2010) and are accelerating down this year. Olympus, which only has 7% market share, has failed to generate a profit from its imaging business in three years.

7. WNBA – The Women’s National Basketball Association is gone as soon as its champion and protector NBA Commissioner David Stern retires in February 2014. Founded in 1996, six teams have disappeared since the league’s beginning, and three have been relocated. Attendance has been awful.

8. Leap Wireless – They were the big loser in the recent bandwidth sale. Its shares are down 90% over the past five years, while the NASDAQ is up by 40%.

9. Mitsubishi Motors – Mitsubishi will soon exit the U.S. market, just as its Japanese rival, American Suzuki Motor Corp., did at the end of last year. Its sales are nose diving. In 2012, Mitsubishi sold fewer than 60,000 units in the United States, down from nearly 80,000 in 2011.

10. Road & Track Magazine – Founded in 1947, Road & Track is the oldest automotive magazine in the country, according to Hearst, its owner since 2011. Road & Track and its better-selling partner, Car & Driver, have been among the top brands in the industry for years. But Hearst does not need to support two magazine brands, each of which is in the midst of a sales slide.

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