Product life cycle examples

While all products go through the life cycle, some have already gone the entire cycle and fallen by the wayside. Here are a few examples of products that are either currently in their product life cycle or have been discontinued.

Typewriters

  • Christopher Latham Sholes of Milwaukee, WI, patented the first typewriter in 1868. It had been in development for nearly 300 years as inventors tried to perfect a design.
  • By the late 1800s, the introduction stage of the life cycle began when commercial typewriters were made available to the public.
  • Shortly thereafter, in the growth stage, typewriters were used in businesses, homes, and offices.
  • Typewriters lingered in the maturity phase until the 1980s when emerging technologies pushed them to decline. 
  • The typewriter market declined. Typewriters were, for the most part, discontinued in favor of computers, tablets, and smartphones. Most typewriters available today are novelty items and vintage collectibles.

VCRs

  • Believe it or not, VCRs were being developed in the 1950s as a mthod of watching VHS tapes from recorded TV. The first actual prototype was as big as a desk and cost nearly $50k in 1950, which translates to over $500,000 today. All that to record television shows to watch at a more convenient time.
  • In 1977, the first (small and affordable) VCR was introduced to the public for recording and playing back video on television screens.
  • From the late 70s to early 2000s, most homes had a VCR in them, along with a plethora of tapes. This was definitely a period of extreme growth.
  • As the VCR entered maturity, companies were searching for ways to reduce the cost and add features.
  • Technology led to the decline of the VCR, eventually giving way to the DVD and now streaming services.

Electric vehicles

  • Electric vehicles were first developed in the early 1800s. They fell out of favor because charging was an issue for the average consumer. Fast forward to today. Automakers, most notably Tesla, are shifting their focus to all-electric or hybrid technology.
  • They have been introduced to the market with a focus on innovation and eco-friendliness as their marketing messages.
  • Electric vehicles are currently in their growth stage as companies continue to improve the design and features of their offerings. The growth stage is extended because ongoing market innovation leads to improvements, and that, in turn, increases sales potential. For now, they are seeing continued growth and the maturity stage is nowhere in sight.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

  • AI was first conceptualized in the 1950s, but the cost was prohibitive for most companies. Development continued through the 1970s, with better, more affordable computers. One of the most notable proof of concept moments was in 1997 when world chess champion, Gary Kasparov, was defeated by IBM’s Deep Blue chess-playing computer program.
  • There are several types of AI products in the product life cycle. Because of the nature of AI, and the wide array of uses, it’s impossible to classify it into one part of the life cycle. Some products are in development, many are in the introduction stage, and products like Amazon’s Alexa are going through the growth stage.