Has our emphasis on homogenizing the American consuming public into an amorphous being with a middle-income paycheck outlived its usefulness?
I read a fascinating article by Bloomberg writer, Eric J. Francis. Entitled "This Board-Gaming Craze Comes With $2,700 Tables", struck me with the elasticity of pricing when it comes to people with enthusiasms and expendable income.
His article focuses on Rising Sun, a table-top game that sells for $100. He assures us that there are many other games out there at similar prices and people are buying them. What he notes, however, is that gaming enthusiasts aren't just willing to pay a C-Note for the game but will pay thousands of dollars more for the right gaming table, chairs, and other accessories.
All of this brings me to the issue of pricing. I have been progressively questioning the wisdom of the "hot price point". As Thomas Kaeppeler, President of Ravensburger North America, once told me, $19.99 was the hot price point when he joined the American toy industry 25 years ago and it still is today.
Has our emphasis on homogenizing the American consuming public into an amorphous being with a middle-income paycheck outlived its usefulness? Is our focus on $19.99, or whatever the hot price point du jour, causing us to miss opportunities for premium products at a much higher price.
I propose that we step back and consider that America is made up of people with enthusiasms and/or wealth that are willing to pay more for a toy than their less enthusiastic and/or lower income fellow citizens. Do we have to sell the same toy to first time parents in their early 20s and on limited budgets that we sell to high income, first-time parents in their late 30s with two big paychecks? I don't think so.
Whether it's a $100 game or a $25 squeaky toy (shout out to Sophie the Giraffe) there are people willing to pay for quality and panache.
Let us know what you think.