Penetration vs Skimming Pricing Strategy

The pricing strategy for a new product should be developed so that the desired impact on the market is achieved while the emergence of competition is discouraged. Two basic strategies that may be used in pricing a new product are skimming pricing and penetration pricing.

Skimming Pricing Skimming pricing is the strategy of establishing a high initial price for a product with a view to “skimming the cream off the market” at the upper end of the demand curve. It is accompanied by heavy expenditure on promotion. A skimming strategy may be recommended when the nature of demand is uncertain, when a company has expended large sums of money on research and development for a new product, when the competition is expected to develop and market a similar product in the near future, or when the product is so innovative that the market is expected to mature very slowly. Under these circumstances, a skimming strategy has several advantages. At the top of the demand curve, price elasticity is low. Besides, in the absence of any close substitute, cross-elasticity is also low. These factors, along with heavy emphasis on promotion, tend to help the product make significant inroads into the market. The high price also helps segment the market. Only nonprice-conscious customers will buy a new product during its initial stage. Later on, the mass market can be tapped by lowering the price. If there are doubts about the shape of the demand curve for a given product and the initial price is found to be too high, price may be slashed. However, it is very difficult to start low and then raise the price. Raising a low price may annoy potential customers, and anticipated drops in price may retard demand at a particular price. For a financially weak company, a skimming strategy may provide immediate relief. This model depends on selling enough units at the higher price to cover promotion and development costs. If price elasticity is higher than anticipated, a lower price will be more...
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