Have you ever wondered while watching TV or using a product about the different stages through which that particular product has gone through? We only talk about a product when it enters the market. However, every product has a life cycle of its own. This is what we will be discussing in this article – the product life cycle. You’ll get to understand what the product life cycle is, the stages of the product life cycle, and product life cycle examples, among other things.
The product life cycle is a continuous process – right from the product’s development and introduction to the time it reaches maturity and eventually declines and retires. You’ll be able to understand these aspects better through product life cycle examples.
In this article, you’ll also see how different stages of the product life cycle work, how product life cycle management helps in the development of the best product, and how the product development life cycle helps companies in optimizing their businesses. Let us begin with closely understanding what a product life cycle is.
What is the Product Life Cycle?
The product life cycle involves the stages through which a product goes from the time it is introduced in the market till it leaves the market. A product life cycle consists of four stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. A lot of products continue to remain in a prolonged maturity state. However, eventually, in every product life cycle, the product eventually phases out from the market. This may be due to several factors such as saturation, competition, decrease in demand, and even reduction in sales. A product life cycle analysis can help companies in creating strategies that enable them to sustain the longevity of a product and even adapt to market conditions.
Benefits of Using the Product Life Cycle
Now that we know what the product life cycle is, we will now look at using the product life cycle for different purposes. The product life cycle is used to determine how products can be marketed to consumers. When a product is successfully introduced in the market during the first stage of the product life cycle, there should ideally be a rise in demand and popularity. When this new product gets established, there is less marketing effort involved. And, when it moves from the maturity stage to the declining stage, the demand also wanes.
Eventually, in the last phase of the product life cycle, the product phases out from the market. This is where an efficient product management life cycle becomes useful for all businesses. Proper product life cycle management ensures that the product does well and reaches the stage of maturity after having been in the market for a prolonged duration.
4 Stages of the Product Life Cycle
To recap, we are now well-versed with what a product life cycle is, why product life cycle management is important, and how the product development life cycle helps businesses. We will now skim through the four stages of the product life cycle and their importance.
- Introduction – This is the first stage of the product life cycle. Once a product is developed, the first step is its introduction into the market. During this stage, the product is released into the market for the very first time. This product development life cycle stage is at high stake but does not decide whether the product will be successful or not. Additionally, a lot of marketing and promotional activities are undertaken, and capital is pooled so that the product reaches the consumers. At this stage of product life cycle management, companies are able to understand how users will respond to the product. Precisely, the idea is to create a huge demand.
- Growth – In the growth stage, consumers start to take action. They buy the product; the product becomes popular and results in increased sales. There are other companies also that notice the product as it starts getting more attention and revenue. When the competition is heavy, a higher amount of money may be pooled into the market. The market for the product expands and it may also be tweaked at this stage to ensure some features, etc., are improved. Competition may also force you to cut down the prices. Nonetheless, sales increase and therefore the product and market growth.
- Maturity – In the maturity stage, sales slow down, indicating that the market has begun to reach saturation. This is also one of the stages of the product life cycle when pricing becomes competitive. This makes the profit margins thinner. In this stage, the purpose of marketing is to fend off competition and sometimes, altered products are introduced.
- Decline – While companies make all efforts throughout the different stages of the product life cycle to ensure that it stays alive in the market, an eventual decline cannot be ruled out. This is why it becomes important to know what product life cycle is at first. When a product is in the decline stage, the sales drop due to a change in consumer behaviour and demand. The product loses its market share and competition also deteriorates. Eventually, the product retires from the market.
Examples of the Product Life Cycle
To understand all of these stages, we can take a look at product life cycle examples. These examples will help us understand how a product is introduced and how it goes through different stages. However, if you wish to pursue a career in product life cycle management, these product life cycle examples may not be enough. You’ll have to undertake a product management course which will help you gain more insights into the product life cycle and its management. A few more product life cycle examples are:
Typewriters – Typewriters helped in improving the speed and efficiency of writing. However, with time newer devices such as computers and laptops were introduced, and the demand for typewriters declined. Eventually, they reached maturity and were taken off the market.
VCR – VCRs were effectively phased out after the advent of CDs, DVDs, and eventually the Internet.
Electric vehicles – Electric vehicles are currently in the growth stage, therefore, their demand is picking up.
A Career in Product Management
Today, it is easy for you to kickstart or advance your career in product management. You just need to undertake one of the best product management certification courses. Emeritus offers various online product management courses from some of the top universities in the world.