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Product life cycle research: A literature review

by D Rink, J E Swan
Journal of Business Research ()


The purposes of this paper are threefold: to review the scope of product life cycle (PLC) research; to pinpoint areas requiring further investigation; and to provide guidelines for future researchers. Because of the paucity of empirical evidence, only tentative conclusions are advanced. For example, the most common PLC pattern is the classical, bell-shaped curve, but it is not the sole shape. The application of various forecasting techniques across the PLC have met with merely moderate success. Very little research has been conducted either on how different characteristics of the firm influence the PLC or on the actual use of various PLC-strategy theories by business planners. Finally, investigators have focused almost exclusively on validating the existence of the PLC concept among nondurable consumer goods. Industrial items, as well as major product changes, have been nearly ignored. The main conclusion is that additional research-more diversified and extensive in nature-is needed on many PLC topics.

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