Four Stages of Competition

Competition and the Product Life Cycle

In sports, the “best” teams usually are sorted out early in the season. Unfortunately, players suffer injuries that can decrease the skill level and balance of a team. When Klay Thompson suffered back-to-back injuries, the chances dwindled for the Golden State Warriors to win an NBA championship this year. That injury on top of losing Kevin Durant to another team, reduced the skill and balance of the team from a position of “winner” to “needing to recruit”. While Golden State has been a perennial competitor in the NBA, their losses created space for stronger competition in the league by Utah and the LA Clippers, for instance. (Read more about Who is Your Competition here.)

The Product Life Cycle (PLC)

Most products go through a similar life cycle, though the speed of the life cycle varies. New-to-the-world products are launched into the introductory phase of the PLC. Often there is little direct competition at this stage. The new product is designed to meet a unique market need and the target customer might represent a small market.

Your Product, Your Competition

Knowing where the product is at on the PLC is a starting point to analyzing its competitiveness. You have to understand if the market presents an opportunity for growth in market share or in market penetration. It is also crucial for firms to make the (sometimes unpleasant) decision to abandon a product when it is in decline.

Next Steps

Do you know your strategy to address competitive threats? If not, learn to Analyze the Competition in a self-paced, online course. Register here and earn 2PDUs.



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Teresa Kowal

Teresa Kowal


I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. My passion is innovation and helping others improve their new product development ecosystems.