prroduct life cycle stages

Just as the popular saying goes, “There is time for everything,” this same notion applies to the life cycle of any product. It begins when the product is at its development stage and ends when the product is in decline. As a company that owns and markets a particular product or service, you must certainly experience your products going through this same cycle, it’s inevitable. But the truth still remains that no one wants their products to become obsolete. And that is why this article will cover some crucial points, including what a product life cycle is, what the four main stages are, its importance, and examples of the product life stages, among others. 

At the end of this article, you will get to understand the product life cycle to fully determine how best you can make better marketing and business decisions that will keep you afloat regardless. 

What is the Product Life Cycle?

The product life cycle is a series of stages a product passes through from when it is first produced and introduced into the market until it declines and is removed from the market. No matter how long a product tends to stay until its maturity stage, it will eventually drop and exit the market. 

Read Also: PRODUCT ANALYSIS | The Product Analysis Cycle

Sometimes this action is caused by multiple factors, including increased competition, dropping sales, decreased demand, and saturation, among others. Most of the time, to prevent this from happening, business owners invest their time in discovering strategies that can help them sustain their product’s longevity and thus cause it to meet market trends and adapt to ever-growing technology. When we further discuss what the product life cycle stages are, you will gain more insights into how it is structured to work.  

Why is Product Life Cycle Important?

I mean, what importance is attributed to this phrase that is hell-bent on putting your products in extinction, what good can come out of this process? Irrespective of the end result of a product life cycle, the process also comes with a lot of potential benefits to managers, developers and designers.

#1. Sales Forecast

With a product life cycle, you will be able to detect your sales forecast and, with that, you can tell the lifespan of your product and improve your sales to maximise the lifespan and life cycle of a product. 

#2. Target Audience

By tracking the product life cycle, you can also track your sales, and when you notice a drop in sales, it means that you are not reaching out to the right audience. With this, you target the right audience and identify the product that meets their needs. 

#3. Decision making

The product life cycle can also enhance decision-making during product development. When they track the progress of their product, they can then make essential choices on upgrades, improvements and additional features.

#4. Fair Competitive Advantage

This cycle can also help companies compete effectively since they have defined the stage of the product. 

Aside from these factors, you should know that the importance of a product life cycle is not limited to the list above. Having known this, let’s analyse what the product cycle stages are all about. 

What are the Product Life Cycle Stages?

The normal product life cycle stages come in four main phases, but most of the time it is also categorised into more than four stages. In summary, we will give a detailed explanation of all the stages involved. Without further delay, let’s skim through the stages of this product life cycle. 

#1. Development/Introduction Stage

This is like the startup stage where all the research, discovery and testing comes in. At the initial stage, there will be the presence of investors, sample prototypes and test product effectiveness, all working together to develop a product from scratch. This is one of the four main product life cycle stages that cause more expenses to companies because they are yet to sell their products. Instead, they spend more on putting it together. 

After a product is invented, it will now be introduced and launched in the marketplace. At this point, the marketing team will then carry out all marketing strategies to advertise the products and get to its target audience. Sales will then kick in slow and steady. 

#2. Growth Stage

During the growth stage, you would experience a turnaround. Customers will acknowledge your product which will in return boost sales. When this happens then it means that demand and profits are growing, which is a good way to build a business. As time goes on, you will also experience massive sales and competition coming from all angles. Your competitors would want to know what you do to attain such growth. 

#3. Maturity Stage

At this stage of your product life cycle, you will experience a change in sales. You will notice that the amount of sales you currently make has reduced compared to the one in the growth stage and your competition game will follow up.  Immediately after this happens, the companies involved in this stage will begin to reduce their prices and increase their quality to stay ahead of the competition. 

The companies will learn how to be more efficient and conscious in their dealings over the product. They also pay more attention to their product features and try to make them different from the rest. In the quest for this, these companies might then find themselves fighting for their brand to be at the top to avoid decline.

#4. Decline Stage

The decline stage kicks in just after your brand lose its popularity and its place in the marketplace. Companies will then face an abrupt decrease in sales and hence that is the complete cycle of a common product. 

Just when a product declines, another is being developed and introduced in the marketplace to complete another life cycle. 

Having looked at what the product cycle stages really are, let’s explain some of the strategies that are essential for countering these stages and how it is applied. 

What are Product Life Cycle Strategies?

To curb the issue of decline and to extend the life cycle of your product in the market, new strategies have been developed for this course, let’s briefly look at them.

#1. Introduction Strategy

To enhance your product at this stage and keep it afloat with other products, you can employ inbound marketing and content marketing. At every introduction stage, you should focus more on educating the public or your consumers on what your product is all about. Doing this will take your product to the next stage.

#2. Growth Strategy

At this stage, your focus should be more on redirecting your marketing campaigns from getting customers’ buy-in to creating a brand presence so consumers will see more reasons to choose you over other competitors. Identify your product’s features and open new distribution channels. 

#3. Maturity Strategy

When you feel the product has been established and sales become steady, this is the best time to keep up with any marketing campaign and strategies to still remain on this stage and define yourself as a leader. To keep being at this level, you need to also continuously improve upon your product, so that it still remains a valid choice even after new products are introduced by other brands. 

#4. Decline Strategy

Most times, no matter how bad you come at it while trying to avoid a decline, it might still feel impossible and hard especially when the entire market reaches a decline and not just your products. At this point, the best strategy is to have other products at several points in the product life cycle. 

Examples of Product Life Cycle Stages

There are many products that have completed the product life cycle and gone down memory lane as a result of the preference of the consumer or the introduction of new innovations. While this happens, some companies now concentrate on innovating a more advanced product in reference to the previous one. Let’s look at some real-life examples of the product life cycle and its stages.

#1. Video Cassette Recorders (VCR)

When the introduction of VCR came to the market, it was quite expensive and at the top of every production, so every family wanted to have a copy. But as the life cycle goes on, it was now produced by many brands and thus the reduction in cost was employed. Soon enough, more streaming devices were introduced including DVDs and then VCR faced a decline. 

#2. Typewriters

Being one of the examples of the product life cycle stages, typewriters were very popular right from their introduction. Consumers discovered that it made writing much easier, and they went all in for it. But soon enough, typewriters faced a decline because more electronics, including computers, laptops and smartphones among others, were also introduced to the market. 

What is Product Life Cycle Diagram?

A product life cycle diagram is a pictorial representation of what the product life cycle stages look like and the normal pattern it follows. The diagram is represented below:

Product life cycle stages
Image Credit: SmartDraw

What is Process Life Cycle? 

The process life cycle can be defined as a sequence of events that a physical process or management system goes through as it proceeds from birth to death. The stages of a process life cycle include conception, layout, deployment, accession, performance, sustenance, decommissioning and dumping. 

What is Growth in Product Life Cycle?

The growth stage is basically the second life cycle of a product and during this stage, companies strive hard to see that they establish the product and make the brand popular. Failure to expand the market will lead to zero sales and expansion. 

Final Thoughts

If I am to lay a basic emphasis, then I would say that almost 98% of every product sold undergoes a complete product life cycle. To tackle this effect, you have to first accept the possibility and then look for strategies you can employ during each stage you come across. You should also note that these stages might vary from product to product and from company to company, hence you need to discover a unique way to tackle it. Irrespective of its negative effects, it also comes with benefits. 


Who introduced the product life cycle?

The product life cycle was initiated by Raymond Vernon. He introduced it as a form of marketing strategy that helps companies plan out the development of their new products. It also comes with stages in which these products pass through. 

What are the 7 steps of product life cycle?

The seven steps of product life cycle included the following below:

  • Idea production
  • Idea filtering
  • Idea testing
  • Market Strategy and Business Analysis
  • Product development
  • Deployment 
  • Market entry  

When was product life cycle created?

This process was created in 1966 by Raymond Vernon, who was the initial founder of the product life cycle.

  • Idea production
  • Idea filtering
  • Idea testing
  • Market Strategy and Business Analysis
  • Product development
  • Deployment 
  • Market entry  
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This process was created in 1966 by Raymond Vernon, who was the initial founder of the product life cycle.

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