Once a product hits the market, it passes through a set of stages known as the product life cycle. There are four total stages to this process: introduction stage, growth stage, maturity stage, and decline stage. During the introduction stage, the product is promoted to create awareness, and a limited number of products are available on the market. It is highly unlikely that companies will make profits on products during 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. Once the product begins to grow, it enters the Growth Stage, which is marked by an increase in sales and profits. Profits arise due to an increase in output and possibly better prices. Next comes the Maturity Stage, which is probably the most popular for most products on the market. During this stage, most of the overall profit is earned by the market and competition becomes intense. Companies are constantly developing new ideas and dumping money into research in order for their particular product to compete with other products, stay on the market, and succeed. During the final stage, or the Decline Stage, the market is shrinking and profit is not high. A company may decide to take the product off of the market at this time (http://productlifecyclestages.com/).
Seeing that my first project in my Edesign class is to redesign a smartphone, I think it is beneficial to take a look at the product life cycle of one of the most popular smartphones on the market today, the Apple iPhone. Currently, the iPhone is moving into the maturity phase of the product life cycle. Apple’s primary concern is to defend market share while maintaining revenue. The iPhone has gotten to the Maturity Stage thanks to competition from other smartphone companies. When the iPhone first came out, it was able to catapult itself into superstar status. As a result, the market became filled with many Apple iPhone like products. In order for the iPhone to maintain status in the Maturity Phase, it will be launching a number of product enhancements for the phone, ranging from accessories to software updates. Apple will also need to reduce the price of the product if the company intends on staying competitive. By reducing the cost of the product, Apple is planning to increase the overall sales volume and distribution. Apple also believes that a possible launching of a totally revised version of the product, called the iPhone 5, would greatly increase the product life cycle of the Apple iPhone (http://www.wikinvest.com/concept/IPhone).
In my opinion, the iPhone is a terrific and innovative design idea. Apple continues to blow my mind with its new additions to the phone as a whole. The newest iPhone 4s is truly a phone of the future. However, I don’t know how Apple could possibly think of many more mind blowing additions to the product. If Apple released an iPhone 5 it would be spectacular, no doubt, but it would most likely be the last iPhone Apple would ever create, in my opinion. Nowadays people get bored so easily with technology, and they are constantly expecting bigger and better things to hit the market. Will there ever come a day when the iPhone can’t get any better? I think there will come a day in the next couple of years when it hits the decline stage and disappears from the market
Check out this youtube video, which discusses the product life cycle of a mobile phone: Click here.