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The 5 stages of the product life cycle

Test your products before you bring them to market with SurveyMonkey concept testing.

Your marketing plan should include strategies to make the most out of each stage of your product life cycle. But before you can start formulating strategies, you need a clear understanding of the product life cycle stages, how to determine what stage your product is in and how to use market research to inform your efforts throughout the life cycle. SurveyMonkey is here to help you with that.

The product life cycle is the progression of a product through five distinct stages: development, introduction, growth, maturity and decline. The concept was developed by German economist Theodore Levitt, who published his Product Life Cycle model in the Harvard Business Review in 1965. We still use this model today.

Basically, the product life cycle is the time from the product concept until its eventual withdrawal from the market. The product life cycle is used for decision-making and strategy development throughout each stage.

Marketers use the product life cycle to customise messaging for each stage, using market research to guide their efforts. Managers use the product life cycle to make strategic decisions about pricing, expansion into new markets, packaging design and more.


Our Product Concept Analysis helps you get ideas validated by a trusted audience in less than an hour.

There are many benefits to life cycle management. Your position in the cycle impacts everything from marketing strategy to profitability.

With product life cycle management, you can:

  • Make informed decisions based on the life cycle stage
  • Increase ROI on product launch
  • Increase company profitability
  • Proactively tweak your marketing messages to stay connected with targeted audiences
  • Maintain and improve product appeal, reputation and customer loyalty

Those who don’t adequately manage a product life cycle will encounter consequences such as:

  • Failure of the product to meet its potential
  • Reduced shelf life
  • Excess inventory
  • Loss of profits
  • Early entry into the market decline stage

Market research plays an integral role in each stage of the product life cycle. Use the ultimate guide to market research developed by SurveyMonkey to help you understand how research is key in managing the life cycle of your product.

Every product spends a different amount of time in each stage, so there is no definitive timeline to reference. Each stage has its own costs, risks and opportunities, and you’ll have to adapt your strategies depending on where you are in the life cycle.