14 Beloved Brands That Are Losing Popularity

These iconic retailers are losing their hold on American consumers.

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Updated June 9, 2024
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Many brands quickly come and go, but others are timeless and endure for generations. They have the “it” factor that makes it seem like they will always be sought-after labels.

But throw in a pandemic, inflation, and shifting cultural tastes, and a lot can change.

Here are more than a dozen iconic brands that once ruled pocketbooks. Now, they are in decline, making it easier to keep more cash in your wallet rather than spend it on something formerly trendy.

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Victoria’s Secret

Julie/Adobe Victoria's Secret storefront

There was a time when Tyra Banks and other supermodels strutted the runways in Victoria's Secret underwear and angel wings. But the lingerie label isn’t doing so hot these days.

Victoria’s Secret shares plunged 27% on a single day in March, following a sluggish start to 2024 and weaker annual sales. Analysts say shoppers are looking for cheaper options.

Harley-Davidson

Ricochet64/Adobe harley davidson logo

The iconic motorbike brand Harley-Davidson has seen highs and lows since its founding in 1903 and is currently facing a new slump.

The company delivered its first-quarter financial report in April, highlighting a decline in revenue year over year and a decrease in global motorcycle shipments.

Facebook

Jirapong/Adobe smart phone with facebook

Facebook lost its “cool” factor a while ago. In recent years, some users have deleted their accounts, and younger users have gravitated to WhatsApp, Instagram, and TikTok.

The exodus began in 2018, when the user base fell in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Facebook’s daily active user count is down, along with engagement rates and market share.

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SlimFast

Adriana/Adobe slim fast brand meal replacement shakes

Dieters don’t want to slim down by drinking SlimFast anymore. The decades-old brand is seeing sustained drops in revenue, and fewer retailers are stocking its meal replacement shakes.

Neither the brand’s acquisition by Glanbia nor its packaging revamp has improved sales. A quick visit to SlimFast.com — with its larger font, simple user interface, and staid design — shows the brand still heavily relies on an older baby boomer segment.

Campbell's Soup

KirKam/Adobe campbell soup

Campbell’s Soup is a classic brand that’s more retro than relevant.

The brand’s soups once were pantry staples. However, high-sodium goods don’t appeal to today’s health-conscious consumers. The brand’s pivot to organic soups and portable snacks has not turned the tide.

Campbell’s is grappling with a decline in net sales and challenges in revenue growth.

Jell-O

ColleenMichaels/Adobe Jell-o mixes for sale

Jell-O has been around for more than a century. When you see Jell-O boxes in stores, it’s a bit of a time warp: “Really? They still make these?!?”

At its peak, the brand saw annual sales of nearly $1 billion, yet it ended 2023 at $688 million. Jell-O has seen demand slide over the past decade.

H&M

IB Photography/Adobe hm tokyo japan

Once-trendy H&M; has struggled with sales as consumers ditch fast fashion. Even before the pandemic, the retailer was contending with less store traffic and excess inventory.

Investors have high hopes for the new CEO, Daniel Ervér, however.

Applebee's

jetcityimage/Adobe applebees neighborhood grill

Things aren’t good in the neighborhood: Amid changing diner preferences, Applebee’s and other chains haven’t fared well. In its fourth-quarter earnings call, the company revealed that year-over-year domestic sales were down. The brand is closing up to 35 stores this year.

Dine Brands, the restaurant’s owner, hopes to open combo restaurants, with IHOP and Applebee’s combined in one location.

Forever 21

ink drop/Adobe forever 21 clothing store

You know a brand is in trouble when an owner says that acquiring it was “probably the biggest mistake I made.”

Authentic CEO Jamie Salter made that comment after Authentic purchased Forever 21 in 2020. Forever 21 has been fighting an uphill battle since its 2019 bankruptcy filing.

Three companies — Authentic Brands, Simon Property Group, and Brookfield Properties — now own Forever 21. Forever 21 is also joining forces with Shein to increase digital sales and foot traffic.

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PayPal

Roman Tiraspolsky/Adobe PayPal app on phone screen

PayPal introduced millions of users to digital wallets and was once cutting-edge. In recent years, however, tough competition has emerged.

A new CEO, Alex Chriss, is making big changes to modernize the brand. Time will tell how PayPal fares in the future.

Jack Daniel's

monticellllo/Adobe jack daniel's whiskey

The quips and jabs are true: Jack Daniel’s needs to pour itself a stiff one.

Demand for the brown stuff has dropped since the pandemic. Chris Swonger, president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, says the market for whiskey and other spirits is now "recalibrating."

Starbucks

lenscap50/Adobe starbucks coffee shop sign

Consumers appear to be ditching their spendy Starbucks habit. Starbucks says it is seeing fewer store visits and cooling overseas markets.

It appears that in these times of inflation, coffee drinkers are looking for cheaper sources for their morning java fix.

​​McDonald’s

wolterke/Adobe McDonald's exterior golden arches sign

The Golden Arches have lost some of their shine. Diners want healthy options, and budget-conscious consumers want good value. Many consumers appear to believe that McDonald’s offers neither.

Amid inflation, higher worker wages, and changing diner tastes, the brand is struggling.

Kohl’s

Sundry Photography/Adobe Kohl's South San Francisco bay area

Kohl’s missed nearly all of its first-quarter projections. Same-store sales have fallen for many consecutive quarters as shoppers look to discount stores such as Marshalls and Burlington.

Bottom line

Dmitrijs Dmitrijevs/Adobe crowd in the mall

These iconic brands were once unstoppable forces. Now, they are grappling with changing consumer preferences, economic challenges, and increased competition.

So, rather than spending cash on these once-trendy brands, boost your financial fitness by looking for cheaper alternatives, such as generic items that are often just as good as the brand names but at a reduced price.

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Author Details

Stacy Garrels

Stacy enjoys writing about fintech, consumer deals, the side hustle economy, and random tomfoolery. She's personally tried more than 100 different gigs, including being an Uber driver for one afternoon.