The product life cycle (PLC) is the term used to describe the stages a product goes through from initial development (start of life) to its removal from the market when sales have declined (end of life). The length of each stage will vary depending on the product. JD, the UK’s leading retailer and distributor of fashionable sports and casual wear, monitors and manages the life of its products very closely.
Development is the first stage of the cycle when a business has a new product idea. Introduction is the stage when the product is launched into the market. For example, this week Google has launched the Nexus 5 smartphone. Made by LG, the handset is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Nexus 4. (BBC, 31st October 2013). As sales grow and new and existing customers buy the product, it moves into the growth stage of the life cycle. During the maturity stage although growth in sales has slowed down there is still a steady demand for the product. At the saturation stage sales begin to drop because there may be a new or alternative product on the market and the final stage is reached, that of decline, when the sales of the product fall.