The time it takes to bring new and/or improved products to market.
The period of time from the introduction of a product to its decline and stagnation. Different analyses posit different numbers of stages in a product cycle (usually four to five), but all emphasize that a product has a beginning, with technological innovation; a period of rapid growth; maturity and consolidation; and, finally, decline and possibly death. For example, in the video cassette recording (VCR) industry, the mid-1970s were a period of decentralized technological innovation, with VHS and Betamax formats vying for dominance. Later, video cassettes very quickly became a common household item. In the maturity phase, different companies selling VCRs attempted to corner a greater market share for their own (identical) versions of the product. Finally, the industry declined and was eventually supplanted by DVD players. Factors that may prolong a product cycle include the opening of new markets for the product, finding new uses for the same product, or even attaining government subsidies. The concept of product cycles applies most readily to the sale of goods and it is difficult to gauge how it works in a service economy.