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Lesson 5: Understanding Product Lifecycles

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Understanding product lifecycles

product release information

Whenever you're thinking about making a big purchase, it's a good idea to do as much research as you can. You'll want to make sure whatever you buy has all of the features you want, and that you're getting it for the right price. But there's another important question to consider whenever you're making a purchase like this: Is a new version likely to be released anytime soon?

For example, consumer electronics like computers and smartphones are updated on a regular basis. Most of the major smartphone brands, like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, introduce a new model every year. These models usually offer improvements over the older models, such as a larger screen and longer battery life. A similar update cycle happens with other products, such as TVs, cars, refrigerators, and a whole lot more.

Why is this important for you?

At this point, you might be thinking: So what? I don't care about fancy new features. I just want something that works!

Well, let's imagine you just bought a new smartphone. A few weeks later, you hear a new version has been released. The new one has a lot of features your phone doesn't, and it costs the same amount. Even worse, they lowered the price of the phone you just bought by $100!

disappointed consumer learning about a recent product release

It definitely requires a bit of extra work, but knowing when to buy something can save you a lot of money and potential frustration. And figuring out the best time to buy isn't as complicated as it sounds.

How to research product lifecycles

There are a lot of ways to research the likelihood of a new product release. The best way to start is probably to search the Web for new [product name] release date. In the example below, we're searching for information about the likely release date of the newest iPhone:

searcing for information about the newest iPhone

If you can't find what you're looking for in a search, we'd recommend checking out some of the resources below. These sites keep track of new and upcoming models for all kinds of products, which can help you figure out when to make your purchase:

OK, now what?

Once you have a good idea of a probable release date, you'll need to weigh your options. Does the newer model have features you really want? How long would you have to wait for the new model to be released? Is another model likely to become cheaper anytime soon? If you're having trouble making a decision, you might consider making a pros-and-cons list for each product you're considering. You can then make a decision based on cost, features, and availability.

So it's really that easy?

Well, yes and no. Keep in mind that information you find on the Web is not always accurate, and this is especially true when you're trying to learn about a potential product release. Many news sites, including those noted above, will post rumors and speculation about unreleased products, but that doesn't make them true. In some cases, they've actually gotten things pretty wrong.

Before you make any decisions, we'd recommend trying to verify the information with at least a few different websites and sources. You might also want to ask your friends and family members for advice if they've purchased a similar item. In the end, making a quick decision after too little research could actually prove more harmful than helpful. That said, with a little time and effort, you should be ready to make an informed decision that will save time and money.

That's all we have! Happy researching!