Product Life Cycle

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DEFINITION of 'Product Life Cycle'

The period of time over which an item is developed, brought to market and eventually removed from the market. First, the idea for a product undergoes research and development. If the idea is determined to be feasible and potentially profitable, the product will be produced, marketed and rolled out. Assuming the product becomes successful, its production will grow until the product becomes widely available. Eventually, demand for the product will decline and it will become obsolete.

BREAKING DOWN 'Product Life Cycle'

At the beginning of a product's life, it may have a little to no competition in the market place until competitors start to emulate it when it shows signs of success. As the product becomes more successful, it will face increasing numbers of competitors and may lose market share.
The stage of its life cycle the product is currently in will impact the way it is marketed to consumers. For example, a brand-new product will need to be explained to consumers, while a product that is further along in its life cycle will need to be differentiated from its competitors.

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