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What is a 'Product Line'

A product line is a group of related products under a single brand sold by the same company. Companies sell multiple product lines under their various brands. Companies often expand their offerings by adding to existing product lines, because consumers are more likely to purchase products from brands with which they are already familiar.

BREAKING DOWN 'Product Line'

Companies create product lines as a marketing strategy to capture sales of consumers already buying the brand. The operating principle is that consumers are more likely to respond positively to brands they know and love and are willing to buy the new products based on their positive experiences with the brand.

For example, a cosmetic company that's already selling a high-priced product line of makeup (that might include foundation, concealer, powder, blush, eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara and lipstick) under one of its well-known brands might launch a product line under the same brand but at a lower price point. Product lines can vary in color, size, quality and price. Companies use product lines to gauge trends, which helps them determine which markets to target.

Reaching New Consumers

Companies add new items to their product lines, sometimes referred to as a product-line extension, to introduce brands to new customers. Consumers who have no interest in a company's sporting good products, for example, might be more interested in buying its product line of granola bars or sports beverages. Extending product lines allows companies to maximize their reach.

The way that companies use product lines is clearly evident in the auto industry. Auto manufacturers famously produce various product lines of vehicles to reach the widest possible range of consumers. For this reason, they produce lines of economy vehicles, environmentally friendly vehicles and luxury vehicles all under their leading brands.

Diversifying Markets

Product lines allow companies to reach regions and socioeconomic groups, sometimes worldwide. In some cases, such as the cosmetic industry, companies also launch product lines under their best-selling brands to capture sales from consumers of various ethnic groups. Multinational corporations, such as restaurants, often launch product lines specifically for the countries in which they operate, as is the case with fast food restaurants operating in Asia.

Examples of Famous Product Lines

Microsoft Corporation as a brand sells several highly recognized product lines including Windows, Office, Xbox and SharePoint. Nike Inc. has product lines for various sports, such as track and field, basketball, and soccer. The company's product lines include footwear, clothing and equipment. Starbucks Corporation's product lines include coffee, ice cream and drinkware.

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