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Price skimming is a pricing strategy in which a marketer sets a relatively high price for a product or service at first, then lowers the price over time. It is a temporal version of price discrimination/yield management. It allows the firm to recover its sunk costs quickly before competition steps in and lowers the market price. Price skimming is sometimes referred to as riding down the demand curve. The objective of a price skimming strategy is to capture the consumer surplus. If this is done successfully, then theoretically no customer will pay less for the product than the maximum they are willing to pay. In practice, it is almost impossible for a firm to capture all of this surplus. * Price skimming is a product pricing strategy by which a firm charges the highest initial price that customers will pay. As the demand of the first customers is satisfied, the firm lowers the price to attract another, more price-sensitive segment. Therefore, the skimming strategy gets its name from skimming successive layers of "cream," or customer segments, as prices are lowered over time. LIMITATION OF PRICE SKIMMING

There are several potential problems with this strategy.
* It is effective only when the firm is facing an inelastic demand curve. If the long run demand schedule is elastic (as in the diagram to the right), market equilibrium will be achieved by quantity changes rather than price changes. Penetration pricing is a more suitable strategy in this case. Price changes by any one firm will be matched by other firms resulting in a rapid growth in industry volume. Dominant market share will typically be obtained by a low cost producer that pursues a penetration strategy. * A price skimmer must be careful with the law. Price discrimination is illegal in many jurisdictions, but yield management is not. Price skimming can be considered either a form of price discrimination or a form of yield management. Price discrimination uses market characteristics (such as...
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