A brand can be a disruptor the moment it enters the market. The disruption may happen because the brand immediately shakes up an established industry, motivates competitors or changes how consumers perceive a certain system or product. A brand can also become a disruptor as it matures and the brand impact across markets becomes more apparent. Amazon, for instance, was just a bookseller when it launched in the 1990s and now it is, arguably, the biggest disruptor brand of all time.
Here are five disruptor brands that stood out in 2019.
Disruptor Brand Peloton Ended The Year With Its Name In The Headlines
Before ending 2019 with a controversial commercial that launched countless Tweets and hot takes, Peloton was already a disruptor brand. Peloton brought spin classes inside peoples’ homes with a live-stream subscription model that allows spin enthusiasts to peddle away with “friends” and instructors from the comfort of their living rooms. Despite being costly, Peloton bikes soared in popularity and the brand created devoted communities of Peloton groupies. Peloton, now valued at $4.2 billion, has inspired other brands within the exercise market to introduce equipment that offers live streaming and high-quality, in-home exercise experiences.
Food Pioneer Impossible Foods Disrupted The Meat Industry
The plant-based Impossible Burger launched in one restaurant in 2016. Throughout the next three years, the idea to offer a meat alternative that tastes like, and even looks like, a real burger became so popular with consumers that the Impossible “Whopper” is now offered at Burger King nationwide, with 5000 other restaurants carrying Impossible Foods products. Americans still eat a tremendous amount of meat and poultry, more than 222 pounds per person per year. The ability of Impossible Foods, with $240 million in net revenue projected for 2019, to get meat eaters to go vegetarian from time to time is truly disruptive.
TikTok Was An Influential Social Media Disruptor In 2019
Anyone who got through 2019 without hearing about TikTok was likely living in a submarine deep in the ocean. With more than a billion downloads to date, the short-form video platform app for smartphones allows users to make silly and creative videos, that are usually 30 seconds or less, and then share them with their friends. Gen Z is particularly enamored with the app, creating TikTok dances and using the app’s features to cut and edit videos for maximum viral impact. Brands partnered with TikTok in 2019 for hashtag challenges and seamless shoppable experiences. The rise of TikTok has seen Google consider acquiring similar short-form video app Firework to try and match TikTok’s access to younger users. According to AdAge, “69% of [TikTok] users are between the ages of 16 and 24 years old.”
Duolingo And Casper Continue To Be Disruptor Brands
Education tech and the mattress wars evolved in 2019, earning Duolingo and Casper honorable mentions as disruptor brands in 2019. Duolingo continued to grow their user base and add benefits to the language instruction app, increasing users to 200 million with a subscription model, partnerships with educational institutions and refined AR and machine learning. Online mattress brand Casper, considering a public offering, expanded its retail offerings and, as the granddaddy of direct-to-consumer (DTC) mattresses, continued to motivate a bevy of competitors anxious to match Casper’s popularity and $1.1 billion dollar valuation.
In 2020, it is likely new disruptor brands will emerge and existing disruptors will evolve, offering insight and inspiration to advertisers, consumers and competitors.
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