The bestselling products in the world stand at the crossroads of innovation meets the ability to formulate a product that has never been made before.
For example, the Rubik’s Cube. This innovative toy made by Hungarian professor, sculptor and “serious puzzler” Ernő Rubik in 1974 was meant to be a visual aid for his students to understand three-dimensional design. After being licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp, the tiny maddening cube was the bestselling puzzle game and toy of all time with an estimated 400 million units sold worldwide.
To qualify the top-10 bestselling products of all time, we broke them into categories of items we think are most used globally, then looked at the individual products in those categories that dominated the market. In some cases, we could not find exact sales figures, so the information was gathered from various sources.
This list is quantified by units sold where available.
As a bonus, the "oldest" item in this list began selling in 1966; this means that the bestselling items in the world have been purchased within the last 56 years.
Cars: Toyota Corolla, owned by Toyota Motor Corp TM
Toyota celebrated the 50 millionth Corolla sold in 2021. Initially introduced in 1966 and first sold in the U.S. in 1968, this vehicle accounts for one out of every five Toyotas sold worldwide.
Video Game Consoles: PlayStation, owned by Sony Group Corp SONY
Starting with the original PlayStation in 1994, which sold more than 102 million copies and counting all subsequent iterations of the system including handheld devices (PSP, Vita), Sony has sold an estimated 575.39 million PlayStation systems.
Cell Phone: iPhone, owned by Apple Inc AAPL
Although Apple is credited with establishing the smartphone, the Cupertino company did not create it. In 1994, IBM released the IBM IBM Simon, which included "smartphone" features such as email, calendar and fax.
Apple has sold a total of 2.2 billion iPhones. According to Statista, iPhone sales accounted for 57.8% of Apple’s total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Movies: Marvel Cinematic Universe, owned by Walt Disney Co DIS
With 29 separate movies in the Marvel universe, the franchise includes titles such as “Iron Man” and “Spider-Man,” bringing in over $25.5 billion.
Books: Harry Potter series
Having sold more than 522 million copies worldwide, the Harry Potter series takes the lead as the number-one selling book series of all time. It is published by Bloomsbury Publishing.
Pharmaceutical: Lipitor, owned by Pfizer PFE
According to WebMD, Lipitor is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL and triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as "statins."
Video Game: Super Mario, owned by Nintendo Co., Ltd NTDOF
According to VGSales, the Super Mario franchise has sold over 776 million units since being introduced in 1981 and has had sales of $141 billion
The legendary album by the late Michael Jackson sold more than 70 million units; the album included hits like “Beat It” and “Baby Be Mine.” The record was released by Epic Records, which is owned by Sony Group Corp.
Toy: Rubik's Cube
As mentioned above, the Rubik’s Cube is the highest-selling toy in the world, with an estimated 400 million units.
Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash
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