Product Life Cycle

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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

Special Interest Group

Product Life Cycle Special Interest Group.

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Forum about the Product Life Cycle.

🔥 NEW The Marketing Strategy to Pursue at Various Stages of the PLC
The PLC curve is divided into 4 stages: Introduction, Growth, Maturity and Decline. The suggested logical strategies at (...)
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Time Scale of PLC Depends on the Product
Too many times the plot is shown in a general mode - but for real products the plot MUST place numbers on the time axis. (...)
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Generic and Specific Product Life Cycle Measures
What is the difference between a general life cycle measure and a specific life cycle measure? Please give an example of (...)
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Best Practices

The top-rated discussion topics about the Product Life Cycle. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

🥇 When is a product successful?
When can a product be considered to be successful in the light of the Product Life Cycle Theory? (...)
3 reactions

🥈 Product Life Cycle versus Ansoff Model
Can the relationship of Ansoff and the Product Life Cycle model be summarised as follows? - Product Development - Intro (...)
1 reactions

🥉 PLC at company level?
In MIT Sloan Management Review of Fall 2006, Donald Sull and Dominic Houlder of LBS stress that NOT companies, but chanc (...)
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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 imp (...)
2 reactions

The Product Life Cycle is not always Shaped like a Wave Form!
The wave form is not carved in stone. Sometimes a product (or service) that is already in its Maturity or even Decline p (...)
9 reactions

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 Mar (...)
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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 pr (...)
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Stage after Breakeven
What is the name given to the stage where a product hit a breakeven? (...)
2 reactions

Pricing Strategy as per Product Life Cycle Stage
Can somebody explain appropriate pricing strategy as per Product Life Cycle Stage? Thanks... (...)
1 reactions

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 th (...)
0 reactions

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... (...)
1 reactions

Product Life Cycle (PLC) and Food Standards
Dear all, I am looking for information about the potential relationship between the PLC and food standards. In particul (...)
3 reactions

How to Avoid the Decline Stage of the PLC?
Understanding the phases of the product life cycle, are there ways of preventing these products from reaching the declin (...)
4 reactions

The Element of Time in Product Life Cycle
Has anyone researched the "time characteristics" of various markets with the intention to establish early warnings/trigg (...)
1 reactions

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 (...)
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Product Life Cycle and Capacity Planning
How does the PLC curve influence various capacity decisions / strategy, depending on the PLC stage? (...)
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References of PLC Gates Wanted
What are some useful references about Product Life Cycle (PLC) gates? (...)
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How to Revitalize your Product when it is Matured and Starts to Decline?
Friends, I need your tips on what to do when you realize that your product is matured and will soon start to decline (wi (...)
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Configuration Management Summary
CM is a process for managing complex (mostly technical) systems by establishing and maintaining consistency of a product (...)
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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 (...)
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Revitalization: Why and When?
Brand Management: why do marketers go for revitalization and in which stage of the Product Life Cycle (PLC)? (...)
1 reactions

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 (...)
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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 (...)
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Expert Tips

Advanced insights about the Product Life Cycle. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

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 (...)

Marketing Strategies in INTRODUCTION Stage of PLC

Introduction of a New Product, Introduction of a New Service, Introduction Stage, Introduction Strategies (...)

Critics of the Product Life Cycle Concept During the Years

Product Life Cycle History (...)

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

PLC at Functional Level, Marketing and R&D (...)

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 (...)

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 (...)

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 (...)

Marketing Strategies for Market Leaders in the MATURITY Stage

Maturity Stage Strategy, Market Leader Strategy, PLC (...)

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

Decision-making (...)
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding the Product Life Cycle. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Dominant Designs

Product Life Cycle (...)

The Importance of the Product Life Cycle for the CEO

PLC Trainings, Workshops (...)

Product Life Cycle (PLC) versus Bass Diffusion

Product Management, Decision Making (...)

Product Life Cycle Diagram

Product Management (...)

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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