Product Life Cycle

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Analyzing Industry maturity stages. Explanation of Product Life Cycle of Levitt, Fox, Wasson, Hofer, Anderson & Zeithaml, Hill & Jones. ('65)


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The Product Life Cycle model can help to analyze maturity stages of products and industries.

The term was used for the first time by Theodore Levitt in 1965 in an Harvard Business Review article: "Exploit the Product Life Cycle" (Vol 43, November-December 1965, pp 81-94). Any company is constantly seeking ways to grow future cash flows by maximizing revenue from the sale of products and services. Cash Flow allows a company to maintain its viability, invest in new product development and improve its workforce. All this in an effort to acquire additional market share and become a leader in its respective industry.

A constant and sustainable cash flow (revenue) stream from product sales is key to any long-term investment, and the best way to attain a stable revenue stream is to have one or more Cash Cows. Cash Cows are strong products that have achieved a large market share in mature markets.

Also, the modern Product Life Cycle is becoming shorter and shorter. Many products in mature industries are revitalized by product differentiation and market segmentation. Organizations increasingly reassess product life cycle costs and revenues, because the time available to sell a product and recover the investment shrinks.

Although the product life cycle shrinks, the operating life of many products is lengthening. For example, the operating life of some durable goods, such as automobiles and appliances, has increased substantially. As a result, the companies that produce these products must take their market life and service life into account when they are planning. Increasingly, companies are attempting to optimize revenue and profits over the entire life cycle. They do this through the consideration of product warranties, spare parts, and the ability to upgrade existing products.

Product Life Cycle Industry Maturity StagesIt is clear that the Product Life Cycle concept has significant impact upon business strategy and corporate performance. The Product Life Cycle method identifies the distinct stages affecting sales of a product. From the product's inception until its retirement.

The stages in the Product Life Cycle

  • Introduction stage. The product is introduced in the market through a focused and intense marketing effort designed to establish a clear identity and promote maximum awareness. Many trial or impulse purchases will occur at this stage.
  • Growth stage. Can be recognized by increasing sales and the emergence of competitors. At the vendor's side, the Growth stage is also characterized by sustained marketing activities. Some customers make repeat purchases.
  • Maturity stage. This phase can be recognized when competitors beginning to leave the market. Also, sales velocity is dramatically reduced, and sales volume reaches a steady level. At this point in time, typically loyal customers purchase the product.
  • Decline stage. The lingering effects of competition, unfavorable economic conditions, new trends, etc, often explain the decline in sales.

Several variations of the Industry Life Cycle model have been developed to handle the development of the product, market, and/ or industry. Although the models are similar, they differ as to the number and names of the stages. Here is a list of some major models:

variations of the life cycle model

1973: Fox: precommercialization - introduction - growth - maturity - decline.
1974: Wasson: market development - rapid growth - competitive turbulence - saturation/maturity - decline

1984: Anderson & Zeithaml: introduction - growth - maturity - decline

1998: Hill and Jones: embryonic - growth - shakeout - maturity - decline

Product Life Cycle Forum (22 topics) Help
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  PLC and Food Standards
Dear all,
I am looking for information about the potential relationship between the PLC and food standards. In particularly, I am interesting how can the PLC can be used to analyze food standards; and can the phases defined in the original PLC b...

Importance of the Product Life Cycle for the CEO

Generally the product life cycle is co-determined by a CEO of the organization where he starts. The idea then culminates into a product, grows up and attains maturity and gradually declines by which time CEO also gets obselete in his function.

Why Could a Product in its Decline Stage Still Be Attractive for a Firm?

The logical thinking seems to be that a company should not stay or invest in a 'decline stage product'. However already in 1983, Harrigan and Porter identified three groups of factors that could indicate that a market may still be attractive durin...

Configuration Management Summary

CM is a process for managing complex (mostly technical) systems by establishing and maintaining consistency of a productís performance and functional and physical attributes with its requirements, design and operational information throughout its lif...

Comparing the Product Life Cycle and the BCG Matrix

We can map or plot the product life cycle stages to the BCG matrix quadrants as follows:
1. Introduction - Question Mark
2. Growth - Star
3. Mature - Cash Cow
4. Decline - Dog
Reactions are welcome......

References of PLC Gates Wanted

What are some useful references about Product Life Cycle (PLC) gates?...

Product Life Cycles are Not Fluent

In reality, product life curves are not so smooth nor bell curve shaped.
There are ditches, then relaunches with an improved product, then steady growth, then decline in hiccups....

The Element of Time in Product Life Cycle

Has anyone researched the "time characteristics" of various markets with the intention to establish early warnings/triggers of the next product life-cycle stage? This would allow time and revenue trends to guide management decisions....

What is the Influence of a Product Recall on the PLC?

Nowadays we hear a lot about organisations recalling their products from markets due to various reasons.
How is this product recall mechanism related to the product life cycle?...

Effect of Moment of Introduction on Product Life Cycle?

Is there a relationship between the introduction time in various parts of the world of a certain product (for example the iPhone which is introduced earlier in the US) and the product life cycle of the iPhone?
Is Apple trying to extend the life ...

Product Life Cycle and Capacity Planning

How does the PLC curve influence various capacity decisions / strategy, depending on the PLC stage?...

Pricing Strategy as per Product Life Cycle Stage

Can somebody explain appropriate pricing strategy as per Product Life Cycle Stage? Thanks......

Pepto Bismol's Long Life

Pepto Bismol is alive and leader of it's category despite its old age (108 years); the product is basically the same... How do you explain that?...

Real Estate Business, Life Cycle

In the present state, the life cycle of a particular product/project in real estate could have a long flat phase, before it achieves growth as well as maturity.. In such case, the curve shall have horizontal line of longer duratio in stages....

Revitalization: Why and When?

Brand Management: why do marketers go for revitalization and in which stage of the Product Life Cycle (PLC)?...

Stage after Breakeven

What is the name given to the stage where a product hit a breakeven?...

Opportunity for Value Engineering in PD?

Opportunity for VE in terms of areas during the life span of a product. We all know that as product development goes in to maturity stage, the opportunity for VE is limited but still opportunity is there. Can we discuss those areas in brief.......

Avoiding the Decline Stage

Understanding the phases of the product life cycle, are there ways of preventing these products from reaching the decline phase?...

Revitalization from maturity / decline phase

The wave form is not carved in stone. Sometimes a product (or service) that is already in its Maturity or even Decline phase can suddenly re-emerge in a growth phase. Often this is the result of a technology breakthrough or of a crisis.

Product Life Cycle versus Ansoff Model

Can the relationship of Ansoff and the Product Life Cycle model be summarised as follows?
- Product Development - Introduction Stage of PLC.
- Market Development - Growth stage of PLC.
- Market Penetration - Maturity of PLC.
- Div...
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Expert Tips - Product Life Cycle Premium
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Market Leader Strategies in the Growth Stage of the Product Life Cycle

Growth Stage Strategy, Market Leader Strategy, PLC

Don't Make this Frequently Made Mistake in Product Life Cycle Management!

Innovation Management, Product Marketing, Product Lifecycle Management

Unconventional Product Life Cycle: High Tech

Managing the PLC of High-tech Products

Typical Product Characteristics and Changes during PLC

Product Management

Framework for Decline Phase of the Product Life Cycle

Managing the Decline Phase

Critics of the Product Life Cycle Concept During the Years

Product Life Cycle History

Marketing Strategies in Introduction Stage of PLC

Introduction of a New Product, Introduction of a New Service, Introduction Stage, Introduction Strategies

How to Find Good Product Ideas? List of 10 Approaches

Discovering New-Product Ideas, Creative Approaches

Innovation Pitfalls

Avoiding Innovation Traps

Organizational Life Cycle

Organizational Development

How Can Incumbents Respond to Disruptors?

5 Strategic Options in Reaction to Disruptors

Challenges of the Product Life Cycle for Manufacturing & Distribution

PLC at Functional Level, Manufacturing & Distribution

Challenges of the Product Life Cycle for Marketing and R&D

PLC at Functional Level, Marketing and R&D

Marketing Strategies in the Decline Stage of the Product Life Cycle

Decline Stage Strategy, Market Decline Strategy, PLC

Designing Complex Products or Systems Through User Involvement Early in the Life Cycle

Design Thinking, Disruptive Innovation, Blue Ocean Strategy, Introducing Complex Systems, Co-Creation

Marketing Strategies for Market Leaders in the Maturity Stage

Maturity Stage Strategy, Market Leader Strategy, PLC

Buyer Types and their Behaviours Depending on PLC Stage

Understanding what Buyers Want in a Particular Stage

Follower Marketing Strategies in the Growth Stage of the PLC

Growth Stage Strategy, Follower Growth Strategy, PLC

Limitations of Product Life Cycle in FMCG

PLC Boundaries

Three Critical Capabilities in Developing a Strategic Corporate Disruptive Innovation Competence

(Disruptive) Innovation Competence, Strategic Innovation Capability, Corporate Strategy, Innovation Leadership

Why Some Technology Revolutions Take Off and Others Don't

Adoption of New Technologies

Product Life Cycles do Not Exist in Reality


Resources - Product Life Cycle Premium
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Product Life Cycle Model


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Compare with Product Life Cycle: Bass Diffusion Model  |  Stage-Gate  |  ADL Matrix  |  BCG Matrix  |  Relative Value of Growth  |  Positioning  |  GE Matrix  |  Innovation Adoption Curve  |  STRATPORT  |  Profit Pools  |  Marketing Mix  |  Four Trajectories of Industry Change  |  Co-Creation  |  Disruptive Innovation

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