It divides products into four categories based on their market share and market growth. Despite being released decades ago, it continues to be a major revenue generator for Microsoft. The software suite, which includes applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, has a large customer base and a high market share, making it a reliable source of income for the company. Strategic partnerships and collaborations with complementary businesses to create additional value and revenue sources can help solidify the cash cow position of a company. Cross-selling or bundling products/services can help utilize the cash cow’s customer base.

Although cash cows operate in mature markets, there’s still room for further market penetration. Firms can seek to deepen relationships with existing customers or target remaining segments of the market yet to adopt the product. However, since these markets are mature, the focus is often on maintaining market share rather than seeking expansive growth. The BCG matrix is a tool to evaluate the products of a company, and thereby help to decide where the company’s resources can best be allocated to maximize profits in the future.


Cash cows, owing to their ability to generate steady cash flow, often serve as the financial foundation of a company. In contrast to a cash cow, a star, in the BCG matrix, is a company or business unit that realizes a high market share in high-growth markets. Stars require large capital outlays but can generate significant cash. If a successful strategy is adopted, stars can morph into cash cows.

  • The stable cash flow from this product allows the company to invest in new product development, marketing, and expansion into new markets.
  • The profits from Windows help fund Microsoft’s other ventures, including its cloud computing services and hardware development.
  • Cash cows can also be slow-growth companies or business units with well-established brands in the industry.
  • The aforementioned products have made a mark on their respective industries, and hence hold a big chunk of the market share in these industries.
  • The model was the BCG matrix, and firms still use it to planning long-term product strategies.

Question Marks – Question marks grow rapidly, and thus consume a large amount of cash, but don’t generate as much cash due to their low market share. As their name suggests, they are very tricky and leave us wondering what future course they might take. These products need to be constantly examined and reconsidered to decide whether they are worth the investment they demand. Products or business units with high market shares and consistent profitability over an extended period will likely be cash cows.

Market Penetration and Market Share Maintenance

These products should be ‘milked’ by extracting the profits and continuously managing them so that they keep generating strong cash flows, which can be further used to fuel stars. The term “cash cow” is often used to describe a business, product, or investment that generates a consistent and substantial flow of cash or profits over an extended period of time. It refers to a reliable and lucrative source of income that requires minimal investment or effort to maintain.

Because of their consistent revenue stream, cash cows are crucial for maintaining overall cash flow stability within an organization. They provide a buffer that allows the company to take calculated risks in other areas without jeopardizing its overall financial health. Cash cows are known to be a company’s most valuable and competitive product or business divisions as they contribute to a significant chunk of a firm’s operating profits. These profits are a result of low investment and high revenue gains from such products.

The model was the BCG matrix, and firms still use it to planning long-term product strategies. Since the business unit can maintain profits with little maintenance or investment, a cash cow can also be used to describe a profitable but complacent company or business unit. A cash cow is also a reference to a business, product, or asset that, once acquired and paid off, will produce consistent cash flows over its lifespan. Companies love cash cows, because of their income-generating qualities.

Origin of Cash Cow

Cash cow may also refer to a company that is milked until it is dry.

Introduction: What is a cash cow?

Relying too heavily on cash cows can be risky for a company, as it may make them vulnerable to changes in the market or competitive landscape. Companies that are too reliant on cash cows may also miss out on new opportunities or fail to innovate, which can lead to declining profits over time. It is important for companies to balance their portfolio with a mix of cash cows, stars, question marks, and dogs. Cash cows play a critical role in a company’s portfolio by providing a reliable source of cash flow that can be used to finance other business units or invest in new products.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Matrix

The Cash Cow Matrix is a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Growth-Share Matrix. This strategic management tool helps companies understand which products or services are making a lot of money and have high market growth and market share. Examples of cash cows include well-established and popular consumer brands, mature industries with stable market demand, and products with high profit margins.

All three of these products belong to a market that witnesses slow growth. Above all, these companies can do this without undermining profitability. They do not even have to ask shareholders for additional capital. The roof tile division manufactures and sells 70% of its products in the European Union and the USA.

Due to their strong market position and customer loyalty, companies can leverage such assets to promote other products or higher-value offerings. This strategy can help increase overall sales and contribute to higher profitability. In simple terms, these offerings belong to markets that see less growth but have a substantial market share that generates enough revenue to support the evaluating appraisals company’s other business activities. A cash cow is a business division or product with a significant market share in a mature market that guarantees substantially high returns on investment. A cash cow is one of the four categories (quadrants) in the growth-share, BCG matrix that represents a product, product line, or company with a large market share within a mature industry.