Price Setters and Price Takers Revisited

Let us recap.

If you can set the price and defend it against competition you are a price setter. Premium price or bargain price does not matter. As long as you can defend it because of your product’s (perceived) differentiation (among your target segment) or because of your cost advantage you are a price setter.

If your pricing is a reaction to an existing competitor then you are a price taker.

In the tablet space, big or mini, Apple and Amazon are price setters but Google is a price taker.

In my September article in GigaOm I analyzed the profit implications of iPad mini for Apple. Making a case against $199 lower-end iPad mini I wrote this about price setting:

If Apple is the price setter in the premium tablet category, Amazon is the price setter in the low end. Entering this segment would mean becoming the price taker or making an effort to become a price setter with a different price point.

By design, Apple has never been a price taker. In any market, the price setter gets to control its  own profit while a price taker is at the mercy of market forces. Trying to become a price setter when there already is one requires Apple to either go low or just a bit higher. Either way, Amazon has set the price anchoring. The most likely scenario is a $299 price point for the iPad Mini.

The real pricing came in at $329. In other words Apple chose not to be player in the low end market because it realized Amazon as the unshakeable price setter in that category and chose a segment where it can be the price setter.

Price Setters will thrive and go on to create significant value over long term.

Price Takers will be relegated to the footnotes of history.

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