Bargain culture, says Sharon Zukin, a sociology professor and the author of ”Point of Purchase,” a book about shopping and America, is based on ”a kind of aspirational shopping for the lowest price, rather than the highest status.”
Apex is winning market share by shaving off features in order to lower the price. One of the commentors notes that
Industry leaders, who focus on quality and features, are often surprised to learn how willing American consumers are to accept inferior products, if the price is right.
You’d think that air travel would have made this obvious. People will put up with lousy food, lousy service and inconvenient travel times in order to get the lowest possible fare. This is also one of the pillars of Walmart’s success - once you hit a certain level of quality, the mass market wants lower prices above all else. This may be shifting a bit, as indicated by the success of the pseudo-upscale Target effort, but I believe that the true mass market will continue to be market by the desire for adequate goods at minimal prices.
Of course, I’ll refer back to an earlier post about Microsoft by pointing out that this was a key strategic win for Microsoft as well. Yeah, Microsoft stuff was not as reliable or as easy to use as other choices, but it was cheap, both for the software and the hardware. Better quality is not always the road to success.