A market, by definition, is ‘A similar system in which information or ideas are evaluated by multiple competing interests.’ Therefore, a number of different products, with similar functions.
However, market leaders exist and flourish, many of them defining the markets in which they operate.
Within the digital space, this has become even more pronounced, with some products and companies even moving to become adjectives or the defined title for an entire market.
So we have highlighted the 6 products and companies who have come to define an entire market.
When I gave my mother an iPhone for Christmas, her first reaction was ‘This is fantastic, I was looking at a motorola iPhone last week!’. It has come to define the smartphone market. It was the first true smartphone and has since become the benchmark against which all others have been judged.
Advertising campaigns have been created to target Apple users to transfer to other smartphones, it is the most common phone model when you look around a train carriage in almost every major city in the world and many people of the older generation even consider it to be the name of the market, much like Hoovers in the 1950s.
Music streaming is going to be a battle ground in the coming years, but we are seeing that this is a battle that may have already been won.
Spotify only began turning a profit last year in its UK market. Even then it was a meagre £2.4 million, which for a company with Spotify’s brand awareness, seems small. However, they have dominated the music streaming industry. They have over 20 million users and have deals with some of the biggest music companies in the world to allow them to stream music.
There are others on the market within this space, but when researching for this article, I needed to search for who they are, because simply in terms of brand recognition, none come close.
Although maybe not the same powerhouse they once were, Microsoft were the biggest tech company in the world for most of the digital age. It has only been in the last 7 years that companies like Apple and Google have managed to disrupt this dominance. Their Windows system was at the core of this and was the system that the vast majority of children learned their computer skills on.
It became so synonymous with computers that for a long time, it took considerable effort to find a computer that wasn’t preloaded with the software. This then lent itself to software sales that accompanied the system and later needed to be adapted due to their demand on other systems.
This is still the case with their office suite, which maintains dominance across practically every work place in the world. Even those using OSX, Linux or Android, still want to use the Office Suite, simply because it’s what they know.
Google has become so synonymous with web searches, that it has moved from simply being a company name, to being an action. To Google something is now a more commonly used phrase than searching the internet for it. It is only the most dominant companies who manage to attain this status, Sellotape for example has become synonymous with sticky tape, you are more likely to be asked to Sellotape something than sticky tape it.
The absolute dominance of Google in this space has seen them take a 67.6% market share of all PC based searches in the US. By comparison, Bing, who sit in second, scraped only 18.7%. When you look at mobile searches, this increases even further as they have a huge 83% market share of internet searches.
In the mid 2000’s to have an iPod was not necessarily to own the Apple product, but instead it was to own an MP3 player. It was once again an example of how a single product had come to define a market.
With the iPod it wasn’t even just the older generation who referred to all MP3 players by that name, it was often the very people who were buying the other products and referring to them as iPods.
Although this was a short lived dominance, in part due to the storage capabilities and music quality that the iPhone and other smart phones could offer, but for a few years, it had no equal in the MP3 market.
Controversial, but a possibility this year.
Many believe that the Apple Watch will have a major impact on the way that not only smart watches, but wearable technology has been perceived in society. Many have pointed to smart watches from LG, Motorola and Samsung that have flopped with consumers, but with Apple they have a history of taking products that have not seen commercial success, then making them a must-own.
The iPhone and iPod are prime examples of this. MP3 players had been around for years before the iPod was released and similar phones to the iPhone were available before its release. What they did effectively was combine intuitive UX and beautiful design to create products that people wanted.
This is by no means a nailed on certainty, but with their track record of innovation within similar spaces, the Apple Watch could be the next iPhone, iPod or iPad.
Do you think we have missed any? Let us know in the comments section.