All consumer products follow a product life cycle. The product life cycle framework is a powerful analysis tools used by businesses to help determine product launch strategies, pricing strategies, and the overall strategic direction of the product portfolio. This framework suggests that all products follow a 4-phase life cycle: Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline.
However, does the product life cycle apply to art work? Does it apply to any expressions, such as art?
I venture to say “no.” Art has a timeless quality, which develops greater value and appreciation with time. It is not something that can be commoditized. For those that argue that art can be commoditized, that definition of ‘art’ would be a product that follows the product life cycle. These forms of art can include post cards, trinkets, screen print t-shirts, and generic home decorations.
For higher end art, such as the single copy paintings, these items cannot be commoditized. They follow a different life cycle, where their value may initially be very low. In the beginning, the artist who creates the art work may not be well known and struggling to make a name of him or herself. With time, if the artist does develop a strong reputation, the artist’s artwork will then develop greater and greater value. This trend is the opposite of the product life cycle framework that most products follow, where value declines with time.
The competitive landscape of art is also vastly different from that of traditional products. Market saturation, penetration, growth, technology impact, and market potential all have little bearing in this world. For the traditional product, an intense product launch strategy must be developed. This strategy must take into account insights from the product life cycle development, as the life cycle will drive sales forecasts and other critical financial projections.