How to extend the product life cycle (with definition)

Updated 17 March 2023

Regardless of what a business sells, achieving extended product life cycles for its products is beneficial. There are several methods of extending a product's life cycle, all of which require a significant degree of creativity and innovation. Learning the steps involved in extending a product's life cycle can help you improve the longevity of your employer's products and brand. In this article, we explain what the product life cycle is, outline how to extend the product life cycle and offer a product life cycle example.

Related: Product life cycle: definition, stages and examples

What is the product life cycle?

The product life cycle refers to the process that each product experiences, which usually includes the introduction, growth, maturity and decline stages. Typically, it begins with the product's launch, then progresses to a period of increasing sales, before plateauing and producing consistent sales and then ending with the product becoming obsolete. While the exact process that each product encounters varies, depending on the type of product, most follow this life cycle.

The length of each stage of a product's life cycle largely depends on its popularity and the strategies businesses implement to prolong these stages. Businesses use product life cycles for several reasons, including:

  • Implementing strategies to prevent a product's decline: The primary reason that businesses use product life cycles is that they allow them to identify when to take appropriate action. By recognising what stage of the life cycle their products are currently experiencing, businesses can implement strategies to prevent them from quickly becoming obsolete.

  • Determining suitable pricing strategies: Businesses vary their pricing strategies depending on their products' current life cycle stages. For instance, if a product is experiencing high growth, the business may price this higher than another product with declining popularity.

  • Adjusting marketing efforts: Businesses use different marketing strategies depending on their products' life cycle stages. For example, when a business launches a new product, it may market this as an improvement on its competitors' products whereas, for established products, a business' marketing efforts may focus on the product's historical use.

Related: How to create product plans (with steps and best practices)

How to extend the product life cycle

Here's how to extend the product life cycle:

1. Consider improved features

Products naturally become obsolete once similar products become available, leading to market saturation. In preventing this and extending a product's life cycle, businesses often consider introducing new and improved features to differentiate their products from their competitors. This may include introducing enhanced versions of their products to meet consumer needs or creating new and interesting accessories to make the original product more appealing.

Businesses often benefit from gathering feedback from their customers before introducing these changes. This helps ensure that the changes extend the product's life cycle. It's also a good idea for a company to think about these changes when the sales for their products begin to level out, enabling them to introduce the updates before the original product reaches its decline stage.

2. Review the product's packaging

Packaging is a key differentiator between competing products and may determine whether consumers view a product as basic or luxurious. Often, the design of a product's packaging influences a consumer's decision to purchase it or opt for a competitor instead. Due to this, businesses might find it worthwhile to carefully review the product's packaging and adjust it to make it more desirable to consumers and achieve an extended product life cycle.

Consumers generally like product packaging that's easy for them to use. For instance, laundry companies benefited from a packaging update when they introduced pods to detergent packaging, resulting in improved product sales.

Related: 15 smart and cost-effective small business packaging ideas

3. Explore other markets

Companies can also extend the life cycle of their products by entering new markets. For instance, a business might decide to launch its products in other countries after finding that poor economic growth in its home country negatively impacts its sales. Alongside exploring global markets, businesses might consider diversifying their products to enter new markets in their home countries. This could involve altering the product very slightly to appeal to new audiences. By doing this, businesses help their products to remain competitive and protect their brands against negative externalities.

Related: How to do market segmentation in 6 easy steps: a guide

4. Implement creative marketing campaigns

Often, the most effective way of extending a product's life cycle involves developing and introducing a highly innovative marketing campaign. While this strategy may incur high costs, it usually works for products in any stage of their life cycle, providing the business implements its campaign correctly. Effective advertising campaigns, such as social media, TV adverts, billboards, print and in-store efforts, can help companies to reach new consumers and reintroduce their products to previous or existing customers.

Businesses often use targeted marketing campaigns using mediums their target audience is likely to use. For instance, they may focus on social media marketing to appeal to a younger audience. Another approach companies take when completing this step might involve asking celebrities to endorse their products to make them seem more desirable. Companies might also provide samples to their target customers to demonstrate the benefits of using their products and how they outperform their competitors' offerings.

Related: A complete guide to preparing for a product launch

Product life cycle example

Below is an example of how a product progresses through its life cycle and the possible strategies a company might implement to prolong it:


High-tech Advanced Mobile Technologies, a company that produces various electrical goods, has decided to launch a new virtual reality gaming system. To get to this stage, the company invested heavily in researching and developing this product. In addition, it used lots of its available resources to market the new system to attract as many consumers as possible.

As with most products, this company wants to keep this part of the product's life cycle as short as possible. The reason for this is that the company requires high growth and sales from this product to counteract the high cost of launching it.


Following the launch of its virtual reality gaming system, High-tech Advanced Mobile Technologies experiences high sales levels and growth. Due to the success of this product, the company's competitors start developing their own virtual reality gaming systems to benefit from this high consumer demand. As this is a stage of the product life cycle where High-tech Advanced Mobile Technologies can make sizeable profits, it wants to prolong the growth stage for as long as possible. To do this, it implements aggressive marketing strategies, which helps the company keep most of the market share for this product.


After experiencing a period of high growth, High-tech Advanced Mobile Technologies discovers that its sales are levelling out. This is due to more competitors in the market offering a similar virtual reality gaming system. Alongside this, many consumers who welcomed the product's launch have now either purchased it or decided it's not for them after further research.

At this point, it's necessary for the company to think of ways to encourage consumers to make more purchases and prolong the life cycle. Ultimately, the company decides to work on additional upgrades and accessories for the gaming system to make it more appealing.


Following several years of attempting to revitalise sales for its virtual reality gaming system, High-tech Advanced Mobile Technologies determines that its product has entered the decline stage of its life cycle. It realises this is due to its competitors releasing a more advanced gaming system, making its product obsolete. At this point, the company decides to discontinue this model and launch a new one with more advanced specifications to compete with other systems in the market. This action restarts the product life cycle, prolonging the relevancy of the company's brand.

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