Everything About Different Stages of Product Life Cycle and Relevant Examples

Product Life Cycle

When a product enters a market, it has a life cycle that traces its journey from being new and valuable to old and obsolete. It is referred to as the product life cycle or PLC. It (PLC) identifies and explains four stages of product development- introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.

In this article, you’ll learn:



  • What is a product life cycle?
  • Four stages of product development
  • Benefits of a product life cycle
  • Real-life examples of PLC

What is a product life cycle?

A product life cycle is a management tool that evaluates a product’s journey from development to withdrawal from the market. As mentioned earlier, it includes four stages- introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.
A PLC enables brands to create strategies to sustain a product’s longevity or adapt to the dynamic market condition.

Here are some characteristics of a product life cycle:

  • Each product has a life cycle that differs from one another
  • The life cycle of a product starts with its introduction and continues till its decline
  • The speed of movement between PLC stages is different for all products

How does PLC work?

The PLC begins with an idea, which then undergoes further research and development (R&D) and turns into something that can be produced, marketed, and rolled out. Then, through marketing, sales, and SCM strategies, the product embarks on a journey towards growth, maturity, and eventually decline.

Key takeaways:

  • PLC indicates the product’s longevity from when it is introduced in the market to its end.
  • This concept is used by management and marketing professionals to make crucial decisions such as advertising costs, pricing strategies, expansion, and redesigning.

What is product life cycle management?

Product life cycle management, or PLM, oversees how a product moves from ideation to maturity. The PLM monitors the product’s design, manufacturing and production process, marketing strategies, and other critical product-related functions.

Here is the primary function of the PLM:

  • Managing documents related to a product, like blueprints, bills, etc.
  • Storing project ideas and blueprint
  • Streamlining workflow
  • Delegating tasks among team members

What is a product life cycle strategy?

Product life cycle strategy is the process of extending the life cycle of a product using different strategies. For instance, price skimming is a pricing strategy that brands adopt in the introduction stage to attract an audience.

Benefits of using a product life cycle

  1. Formulate marketing strategies for products
  2. Helps companies shift resources from one product to another
  3. Positively impacts economic growth and promotes innovation

Four Stages of Product Life Cycle

  1. Introduction

This is the first stage of the product life cycle, starting with product ideation and continuing until the product is introduced in the market. In this stage, brands conduct marketing and promotional activities, adapt product life strategies, etc., to ensure the product reaches its target audience.

  1. Growth

In this stage, consumers start buying the product, it becomes popular, and its sales increase. In simpler words, the customer begins recognising the brand. In this stage, brands undertake different brand retention strategies to build a loyal customer base.

  1. Maturity

In this stage, sales slow down, indicating that the market has begun to reach saturation. With products reaching saturation, competition is higher than at another location, and profits start getting thinner by the day.

In this stage, brands look for ways to innovate their product and strategies to increase their longevity.

  1. 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. A decline’s characteristics are a drop in sales, affected revenue, changed consumer behaviour and fluctuating demand.

<h3>Examples of a product life cycle</h3>

Typewriter

Typewriters were replaced by computers and laptops for their speed, effectiveness, and holistic experience.

VCR

VCRs were effectively phased out after the advent of CDs, DVDs, and the Internet.

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are currently in the growth stage because their demand is slowly picking up.

Conclusion

Every product undergoes a product life cycle. Although every product’s journey differs, the PLC remains the same- introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Whether a fresher or an experienced product manager, knowledge of PLC will help you tactfully utilise the company’s resources, predict the future, and make strategic plans for product launches, among others.

Emeritus India offers some of the best product management certification courses that provide comprehensive knowledge about PLC and equip you with advanced skills and knowledge to succeed in product management.

These programmes are in partnership with reputed institutes like IIM, IIT, ISB, etc.

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