Imagine, if you will; you’ve developed a viable product and consumers have accepted it with open arms. Recent growth has brought your product to its peak of success. Congratulations! That’s quite an accomplishment, and one to be proud of.

Enjoy the moment, and let it sink in, because while it’s great to be on top, the only way forward at this point seems to be down. That is, of course, unless you can find a way for your product to continue to stay relevant and manage to consistently outperform your competitors.

In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits and challenges of being in the maturity stage of the product life cycle, and how to navigate this stage to maintain market share and avoid decline.

About the Product Life Cycle

In a few of our recent articles on the topic of product life cycles and stages, we’ve discussed what a product life cycle is and why it’s important to understand each of the stages and the strategies that work best during each of them.

Simply put, the product life cycle (PLC) is the process that a product goes through from conception to retirement. There are five stages of the product life cycle, including development, introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Sometimes, the development and introduction phases are referred to as one stage, but we like to talk about them separately, since they each come with a unique set of challenges and best strategies for success.

As products move through the product life cycle, some products manage to stay in some phases longer than others. How quickly a product moves from one stage to the next depends on multiple internal and external factors. For example, some products take considerably longer to develop than others due to the complex or technical nature of their design. Additionally, having adequate funding to develop a product and introduce it to the marketplace will help it move and grow awareness faster than if funding must be raised first.

Other products may take less time to develop but may take longer to introduce and build awareness around them. Some products never make it past the development stage, or flop in the introduction stage for one reason or another. In fact, according to Smart Insights, “95% of new products fail.” (1)

If you’re lucky (and strategic) enough to get your product to the growth stage, the maturity stage is inevitable, followed by the decline stage. But keeping a product in the maturity stage for an extended period is possible by putting the right strategies in place.

What is the Maturity Stage of the Product Life Cycle?

The fourth and second to last stage of the product life cycle is referred to as the maturity stage. The maturity stage of the product life cycle is a crucial time for businesses. This is when products reach their peak sales and profits, and it is also the stage of the product life cycle when businesses need to start thinking about how they will exit the market.

There are many benefits to being in the maturity stage, but there are also several challenges, perhaps the most important of which is the challenge of keeping your product relevant, profitable, and valuable in the marketplace. As German economist Theodore Levitt said, this stage “typically calls for a new kind of emphasis on competing more effectively.” (2)

At this stage, product sales are not growing, but they are steady and predictable. Because your product is having success, new competitors are entering the market and trying to get their share of the profits. This also leads to market saturation, which makes it that much more difficult to maintain your place in the market that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Examples of Companies in the Maturity Stage

As we mentioned before, products may spend varying amounts of time in each stage of the product life cycle, depending on whether they’re able to evolve and differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Xbox are all examples of companies in the maturity stage. They are well known, trusted, and continue to hold a high market share in their industries.

Is Coca-Cola in their maturity stage? You may get slightly different answers, depending on whom you ask. In our opinion, they are still in the maturity stage due to their continued dedication to innovation and shifting to meet the demands of their customers. How long they will stay there is anyone’s guess.

Examples of companies in their maturity stage of the product life cycle (Amazon, Apple, XBox)

What Are the Best Strategies in the Maturity Stage?

So, your product has reached the maturity stage, and sales are at an all-time high. The supply chain is moving along like a well-oiled machine, and sales are predictable and stable. You have loyal customers, and continue to acquire new customers, though not at an exponential rate; in fact, it feels like they are few and far between.

Unfortunately, some businesses make the mistake of using the wrong approach to marketing during this phase of the life cycle. They sometimes think increasing awareness will help them continue to grow. However, when a product reaches the maturity stage, brand awareness is no longer the best marketing tactic for growth, because the brand is already well-established and trusted.

Instead, due to increased competition, it becomes more important now than ever to stand out in the crowd. One proven way to stay ahead in this stage is to shift your focus to differentiation vs. awareness. This can be done through continued product innovation, shifting to the right type of marketing, and through services like product price testing and social listening services.

For example, product price testing can help businesses gain insight into purchase intent and potential barriers to purchase. It can also help you redefine your product’s optimal price ranges based on the current market. Social listening services are another great tool to use during the maturity stage. They are designed to help you identify where your target audience is talking about their pain points, so you can join the conversation and engage with them on a more personal level.

Why Social Listening is a Key Strategy During This Stage

Why is it important to listen to what your customers (or potential customers) are talking about on social media? Sprout Social reports that “71% of social media marketers say that they can provide consumer insights from social media channels to other departments.” (3) The fact is, the best consumer insights often come from social media, because consumers are being open and honest about how they feel about brands. By monitoring this unabridged conversation about your brand, you can find out exactly what your customers want from you, and then figure out how to deliver.


Reaching the maturity stage of the product life cycle is an amazing achievement. Are you up to the challenge of maintaining your status in the market and continuing to thrive vs. beginning to decline? If so, the expert team at Starlight Analytics can help you continue to bring innovation and exceptional service to your customers so you can stay in this stage of the life cycle for as long as possible. With tools like product price testing and social listening services, you can get a clearer picture of the needs and habits of your potential customers and take the appropriate steps to continue to maximize profits for years to come.


1. Gabrielle Wright, How to use the Product Life Cycle (PLC) marketing model,

2. Theodore Levitt, Exploit the Product Life Cycle,

3. Rachel Samuels, 9 stats social media marketers need to show their bosses ASAP,