Apple Inc. is a multinational company in America that is concerned with the manufacturing and designing of various software products and electronics. It has various products which include its popular iPod MP3 players. It can be argued that this product has been of critical event in the company’s process due to the nature that product has had to the company in terms of increasing its functionality and competitiveness in the highly competitive market.
This product which is a digital MP3 player was introduced in the market in October 2001. Since its first model, the company has intensively evolved in manufacturing other media playing product brands of the iPod technology to meet the demands of the changing consumer needs and the increasing changing state of market competition. According to the current market statistics, the iPod stands in been the leading product in the portable MP3 players within the market. Its demand and competing brand features have been of great significance to the company’s functionality. Since April 2007, it has been able to ship more 110 million of this product. The product has attracted four brands since its launch in 2001. They include iPod touch, iPod nano, iPod classic and iPod shuffle. These brands have attracted great market success that has managed to give the company its current competitive edge. (Antii, Anselmi, 2005)
Rationally, it can be argued that the product has successfully evolved in the first two stages in its life cycle which are the introduction and the growth stages and it is currently enjoying the maturity stage in the product life cycle. Various measures can be attributed on its maturity stage and an analysis can be made on how it has successfully made the first two stages. This description can be argued as;
Introduction stage: This is the initial stage which the company decided to develop the awareness of the player and developed a competitive market for its sales. It involved various concept of adequate market mix. These are;
It initially established the product quality levels and its brands (iPod players). This branding was accompanied by its intellectual property rights that were aimed at protecting the product on its consumption. This included both trademarks and patents.
Adequate pricing was established to enable comparatively strong penetration of the MP3 players in the market. The nature of the pricing was slightly low aimed at building its competitive market share.
Selective distribution was made across its targeted markets aimed at creating an attraction of the players to the consumers.
Promotion was done as a crucial event aimed at increasing awareness to the consumers. Various innovations and marketing strategies of international capacities were made to create incentives for its adopters. This was important in creating awareness and educating the consumers about the potentials of the MP3 players. (Antii, Anselmi, 2005)
Growth stage: This was the second stage in which the company sought in building consumer preference as well as increasing its existing market share. It was also a compound of various aspects. Theses are;
Maintenance of high product quality that could attract higher demand to meet the state of competition in them market. It was achieved through the introduction of new product brands that have new and competitive features. Also, it coupled increased service support that could generate more attraction to the product.
Maintenance of a competitive price that gives the product an increased state of demand that is accompanied by lower level of market competition.
Addition of streamlining and change in the derivatives of the distribution channels that could increase the market for product. This also involved innovation in the distribution process that would increase more the acceptance of the product by the customers.
Involvement in promotion aimed at attracting a wider scope of the market audience/consumers.
Maturity stage: This is the current stage that the product is in. The former two stages have successfully been achieved. The stage has been characterized by a diminishing growth in its rampant sales. It has been characterized by high competition. The main objective of this stage is to give the company a defense of the products market share at a state of maximizing its profit returns. Like the above two stages, this stage is characterized by various aspects. (Antii, Anselmi, 2005). These are;
Enhancement of product features with the aim of differentiating it form the other similar MP3 players from it competitors.
Lowered prices to meet the demands of increased market competition
More intensified mode of distribution which is coupled with higher product sales incentives to meet the demands of expanding the market.
Emphasizing on product differentiation to attract more consumers.
Rationally, the product is in the maturity stage when argued on the basis of its market conditions that are experiencing high market competition. The three stages have successfully been met which is the condition that has given the product to excel the manner it is in the market. However, the increasing market competition posits a decline in the product share in the market. This can be argued form the increasing competition from new and more innovative products in the market by its competitors. This will ultimately lead to the decline stage (Antii, Anselmi, 2005)
Antii, S & Anselmi, I (2005) Product Lifecycle Management. London, Routledge