Product Life Cycle
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01-11-2010, 11:29 AM
Product Life Cycle
M.Tech(Manufacturing & Automation)
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What is Product Life Cycle
The Product Life Cycle (PLC) is based upon the biological life cycle. For example, a seed is planted (introduction);
it begins to sprout (growth);
it shoots out leaves and puts down roots as it becomes an adult (maturity);
after a long period as an adult the plant begins to shrink and die out (decline).
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26-02-2011, 11:19 AM
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PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
Like human beings, products also have their own life-cycle. From birth to death human beings pass through various stages e.g. birth, growth, maturity, decline and death. A similar life-cycle is seen in the case of products. The product life cycle goes through multiple phases, involves many professional disciplines, and requires many skills, tools and processes. Product life cycle (PLC) has to do with the life of a product in the market with respect to business/commercial costs and sales measures. To say that a product has a life cycle is to assert four things
• that products have a limited life,
• product sales pass through distinct stages, each posing different challenges, opportunities, and problems to the seller,
• profits rise and fall at different stages of product life cycle, and
• products require different marketing, financial, manufacturing, purchasing, and human resource strategies in each life cycle stage.
Product Life Cycle has four stages :
• Introduction Stage
• Growth Stage
• Maturity Stage
• Decline Stage
At the Introduction (or development) Stage market size and growth is slight. it is possible that substantial research and development costs have been incurred in getting the product to this stage. In addition, marketing costs may be high in order to test the market, undergo launch promotion and set up distribution channels. It is highly unlikely that companies will make profits on products at the Introduction Stage. Products at this stage have to be carefully monitored to ensure that they start to grow. Otherwise, the best option may be to withdraw or end the product.
When the product is introduced, sales will be low until customers become aware of the product and its benefits. Some firms may announce their product before it is introduced, but such announcements also alert competitors and remove the element of surprise. Advertising costs typically are high during this stage in order to rapidly increase customer awareness of the product and to target the early adopters. During the introductory stage the firm is likely to incur additional costs associated with the initial distribution of the product. These higher costs coupled with a low sales volume usually make the introduction stage a period of negative profits.
The Growth Stage is characterised by rapid growth in sales and profits. Profits arise due to an increase in output (economies of scale)and possibly better prices. At this stage, it is cheaper for businesses to invest in increasing their market share as well as enjoying the overall growth of the market. Accordingly, significant promotional resources are traditionally invested in products that are firmly in the Growth Stage.
The growth stage is a period of rapid revenue growth. Sales increase as more customers become aware of the product and its benefits and additional market segments are targeted. Once the product has been proven a success and customers begin asking for it, sales will increase further as more retailers become interested in carrying it. The marketing team may expand the distribution at this point. When competitors enter the market, often during the later part of the growth stage, there may be price competition and/or increased promotional costs in order to convince consumers that the firm's product is better than that of the competition.
The Maturity Stage is, perhaps, the most common stage for all markets. it is in this stage that competition is most intense as companies fight to maintain their market share. Here, both marketing and finance become key activities. Marketing spend has to be monitored carefully, since any significant moves are likely to be copied by competitors. The Maturity Stage is the time when most profit is earned by the market as a whole. Any expenditure on research and development is likely to be restricted to product modification and improvement and perhaps to improve production efficiency and quality.
The maturity stage is the most profitable. While sales continue to increase into this stage, they do so at a slower pace. Because brand awareness is strong, advertising expenditures will be reduced. Competition may result in decreased market share and/or prices. The competing products may be very similar at this point, increasing the difficulty of differentiating the product. The firm places effort into encouraging competitors' customers to switch, increasing usage per customer, and converting non-users into customers. Sales promotions may be offered to encourage retailers to give the product more shelf space over competing products.
In the Decline Stage, the market is shrinking, reducing the overall amount of profit that can be shared amongst the remaining competitors. At this stage, great care has to be taken to manage the product carefully. It may be possible to take out some production cost, to transfer production to a cheaper facility, sell the product into other, cheaper markets. Care should be taken to control the amount of stocks of the product. Ultimately, depending on whether the product remains profitable, a company may decide to end the product.
Eventually sales begin to decline as the market becomes saturated, the product becomes technologically obsolete, or customer tastes change. If the product has developed brand loyalty, the profitability may be maintained longer. Unit costs may increase with the declining production volumes and eventually no more profit can be made.
During the decline phase, the firm generally has three options:
• Maintain the product in hopes that competitors will exit. Reduce costs and find new uses for the product.
• Harvest it, reducing marketing support and coasting along until no more profit can be made.
• Discontinue the product when no more profit can be made or there is a successor product.
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25-07-2012, 04:47 PM
Product Life Cycle
Plc.doc (Size: 111 KB / Downloads: 23)
At the market introduction stage the size of the market, sales volumes and sales growth are small. A product will also normally be subject to little or no competition. The primary goal in the introduction stage is to establish a market and build consumer demand for the product.
There may be substantial costs incurred in getting a product to the market introduction stage. Substantial research and development costs may have been incurred, for example, thinking of the product idea, developing the technology, determining the product features and quality level, establishing sufficient manufacturing capacity, preparing the product branding, ensuring trade mark protection, etc. Marketing costs may be high in order to test the market, launch and promote the product, develop a market for the product, and set up distribution channels.
The market introduction stage is likely to be a period of low or negative profits. As such, it is important that products are carefully monitored to ensure that sales volumes start to grow. If a product fails to become profitable it may need to be abandoned.
When a product reaches maturity, sales growth slows and sales volume eventually peaks and stabilises. This is the stage during which the market as a whole makes the most profit. A company’s primary objective at this point is to defend market share while maximising profit.
In this stage, prices tend to drop due to increased competition. A company’s fixed costs are low because it is has well established production and distribution. Since brand awareness is strong, marketing expenditure might be reduced, although increased marketing expenditure might be needed to retain market share and fight increasing competition. Expenditure on research and development is likely to be restricted to product modification and improvement, and perhaps research into improved production efficiency and product quality.
A product enters into decline when sales and profits start to fall. The market for that product shrinks which reduces the amount of profit available to the firms in the industry. A decline might occur because the market has become saturated, the product has become obsolete, or customer tastes have changed.
A company might try to stimulate growth by changing their pricing strategy, but ultimately the product will have to be re-designed, or replaced. High-cost and low market share firms will be forced to exit the industry.
Consumer behaviour is the study of when, why, how, and where people do or do not buy a product. It blends elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology and economics. It attempts to understand the buyer deci