What is a Product Life Cycle (PLC)?

Do you really know what a product is? Well, a product is anything which is capable of satisfying customers’ needs. Product includes both physical or tangible products (car, type writer, computer, chair) and intangible products or services (health care, banking, insurance).
Definition of a Product Life Cycle

Strings of words mentioned below define what a product life cycle is:

“The stages through which a product develops over time is called Product Life Cycle (PLC)”.


“It is the period of time over which an item is developed, brought to market and eventually removed from the market”.


“The product life cycle is marketing concept that describes the way the revenues from the sale of a product behave over time”.
Stages of a Product Life Cycle

The product life cycle is broken down into four phases:


The Product Life Cycle (PLC) Curve
plc product life cycle curve Product Life Cycle (PLC): Stages, Development & Process

For all products, the life cycle is drawn is the form of a bell shaped curve. The beginning of the curve marks the introduction stage; the slope indicates growth stage; top of the curve signifies maturity; and the graph ends in the decline stage. Product Life Cycle (PLC): Stages, Development & Process
Theory of PLC: Biological Life Cycle Versus Product Life Cycle

The concept of Product Life Cycle is based on biological life cycle. For instance, when a seed is planted (introduction); it begins to pullulate (growth); it shoot out flowers and leaves (maturity); and after a defined period of time, it starts to shrink and eventually die out (decline).

Human beings also pass through the same phases of introduction, growth, maturity and decline in their lives. The same theory applies to a product. When a new product is launched in the market, it starts gaining customers; then it stabilizes and becomes mature; then after some time, it is taken over by the introduction of better and superior competitors therefore, it is withdrawn or harvested from the market.
Benefits of Using a Product Life Cycle for Revenue

Marketing managers consider product life cycle as an important measure of sales revenues. As you can see from the figure, the slope of the curve denotes the sales of a particular product. The more the slope, the more the sales. When a product is introduced in the market, the sales are negligible.

Due to marketing and promotion efforts, the demand of product starts to increase and as a result some revenue is generated. When more and more customers begin to buy the product, the revenues of the product reaches to maximum; this stage is called maturity.

A product can stay in maturity for several weeks, months or years depending on the external and internal market conditions and resources.

Finally, when a product better in features and functions is launched by a competitor into the market, the sales starts to decline; in some cases, companies have to disengage their products or services.
Product Life Cycle Management (Marketing)/ PLCM

Product life cycle management (or PLCM) is the succession of strategies used by business management as a product goes through its developmental life cycle. The conditions involving the promotion and sales of a product, involving advertising and market saturation vary over time and must be managed as it moves through the different stages of succession.

Examples of Product Life Cycle (PLC)

Set out below are some suggested examples of products that are currently at different stages of the product life-cycle:



Third generation mobile phones Portable DVD Players Personal Computers Typewriters
E-conferencing Email Faxes
Handwritten letters
All-in-one racing skin-suits Breathable synthetic fabrics Cotton t-shirts Shell Suits
iris-based personal identity cards Smart cards Credit cards
Cheque books
Popular Cases of Product Life Cycles

Pepsi Product Life Cycle Development
Coca Cola Product Life Cycle Development
Kellog’s Product Life Cycle Development
Apple Product Life Cycle Development
Nokia Product Life Cycle Development

Author's Bio: 

Feisty Ash is the author of this article. To get more information about product development, log on  to www.writeawriting.com.