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During the maturity stage, sales will peak as the product reaches market saturation, and competition will grow increasingly fierce.
Identify the market conditions of a product in stage 3, maturity of the product life cycle.
As the company will attempt to prolong the maturity phase as long as possible, it will likely introduce alterations and innovations to the product to keep customers interested and stay a step ahead of the competition.
Advances in technology and changes in consumer taste and demand may also add to the slowing down of sales growth of the product during this phase.
Prices tend to drop in this phase due to lower costs as well as a high level of competition, and so industrial profits will fall as well.
A situation in which a product has become distributed within a market to the fullest possible extent, leaving demand for the product at a minimum. The actual level of saturation can depend on consumer purchasing power, competition, prices, and technology.
The stage in the product life cycle where sales growth ultimately peaks, then slows as the product reaches widespread acceptance, and competition is fierce.
Many popular and known products, such as the iPod and the iPhone, are in the maturity phase at the moment. Apple managed to extend the maturity phase of the iPod by introducing the iPod touch, which introduced a touch screen and new features. It also introduced new functionalities such as the use of apps, making it much more versatile and useful than the older iPods; one could argue that the iPod touch should be considered an entirely new product rather than an innovation on earlier iPod models.
During this stage, sales growth has started to slow down, and the product has already reached widespread acceptance in the market, in relative terms. Ultimately, during this stage, sales will peak. The company will want to prolong this phase so as to avoid decline, and this desire leads to new innovation and features in order to continue to compete with the competition which, by now, has become very established, advanced and fierce. Competitors' products will begin to cut deeply into the company's market position and market share. However, despite this, sales continue to grow in the early part of the maturity phase. But, these sales will peak and ultimately decline, as the graph shows.
Demand for the product ultimately decreases due to competition and market saturation, as well as new technologies and changes in consumer tastes. Actions the company takes may include:
Improving specific features in order to resell the product (for instance, in the case of a car, the manufacturer may include alloy wheels, new colors, sport or hybrid versions, or other changes in order to keep sales going);
Lowering prices in order to fight off competition;
Intensifying distribution and promotional efforts;
Differentiation efforts, in the hope that new customers will start to buy the product.
Finding a new targeted market.
The stage that lasts the longest in the product life cycle is the Maturity stage. It is at this time that repeat business and purchases take the place of new customer buying. So, during the maturity stage, the following occurs:
Costs are lowered as a result of production volumes increasing and experience curve effects
Sales volume peaks and market saturation is reached
Increase in numbers of competitors entering the market
Prices tend to drop due to the proliferation of competing products
Brand differentiation and feature diversification is emphasized to maintain or increase market share