The Product Life Cycle Revisited: An Integrative Review and Research Agenda

Abbie Iveson, Magnus Hultman, Vasileios Davvetas

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Purpose: This paper responds to calls in academia for an update of the product lifecycle (PLC). Through a systematic literature review, we provide an updated agenda which aims to advance the PLC concept both in research, teaching, and practice.

Design/Methodology/Approach: We started by surveying 101 marketing academics globally to ascertain whether a PLC update was viewed necessary and beneficial in the marketing community and thereafter conducted citation analysis of marketing research papers and textbooks to ascertain PLC usage. The subsequent literature review methodology was split into two sections. First, 97 empirical articles were reviewed based on an evaluative framework.
Second, research pertaining to the PLC determinants were assessed and discussed.

Findings: From the results of our review and primary data from marketing academics, we find that the method of predicting the PLC based on past sales has been largely unsuccessful and perceived as somewhat outdated. However, a new stream of PLC literature is emerging which takes a consumer centric perspective to the PLC and has seen more success at modelling lifecycles in various industries.

Research Limitations/Implications: First, the study outlines the most contemporary and successful methodological approaches to modelling the PLC. Namely, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), big data, demand modelling, and consumer psychological mechanisms.
Second, it provides several future research avenues using modern market trends such as sustainability, globalization, digitization, and Covid-19 to push the PLC into the 21st century.

Originality/Value: The PLC has shown to be resolutely popular in management application and education. However, without a continued effort in academic PLC research to update the knowledge around the concept, its use as a productive management tool will likely become outdated. This article provides a necessary and comprehensive literature update resulting in actionable future research and teaching agendas intended to advance the PLC concept into the modern market context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Dec 2021


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