Definition of Price Skimming

Price skimming is a pricing strategy initially setting a high price for a product or service and gradually lowering it over time. This approach targets early adopters who are willing to pay a premium price for being the first to own or use a new product. As the product gains wider market acceptance, the price is reduced to attract more price-sensitive consumers.


Price Skimming: /praɪs ˈskɪmɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Price skimming is a pricing strategy where a company initially charges a high price for its product or service before gradually lowering the price over time. This approach allows businesses to maximize profits from early adopters and recover costs more quickly.
  2. Price skimming is most effective when there is strong demand for a product, limited competition, and the product has a unique or innovative feature. It is commonly used for new technology products, luxury items, and innovative goods or services.
  3. Some disadvantages of price skimming include the potential for customer dissatisfaction, increased competition, and limited market penetration. Businesses should carefully weigh the pros and cons of this strategy before implementing it.

Importance of Price Skimming

Price skimming is an important digital marketing term as it refers to a strategic pricing approach used by businesses when introducing new products or services in the market.

This method involves setting a higher initial price, which is then gradually reduced over time or as market competition intensifies.

Adopting a price skimming strategy allows businesses to maximize profits by targeting early adopters who are willing to pay a premium for being the first to own or use the new product or service.

Additionally, it can create a perception of exclusivity and quality, thereby establishing a strong brand image.

As a result, price skimming enables businesses to recoup their research and development investments quickly, which is essential to staying competitive and relevant in the fast-paced world of digital marketing.


Price skimming is a strategic approach in the realm of digital marketing that aims to maximize profit by setting a higher price during the initial launch period of a new product or service. The purpose of this method is to capitalize on the early adopters and enthusiasts who are willing to pay a premium to get their hands on the latest offerings. By targeting this specific consumer segment, businesses can not only generate substantial revenue in the short term, but also reinforce a perception of exclusivity and innovation around their product.

As the demand from the early adopters wanes, companies gradually lower the price to appeal to a broader consumer base, so they can continually tap into new market segments and customer categories. One crucial element to successful price skimming is to have a robust understanding of the target audience, as well as the value proposition of the product. This strategy is most effective when the offering in question has a unique selling point, is not easily replicated by competitors, and elicits a sense of urgency among the customers.

In the world of digital marketing, businesses utilize various channels such as social media, influencer marketing, and targeted online campaigns to reach their intended audiences, and create buzz around the product. By emphasizing the novelty, superiority, and limited availability of the product, marketers nudge consumers to make quick purchase decisions at higher price points. As the market matures and competition increases, price skimming enables businesses to leverage the profits earned during the initial phase to invest in further innovation, improvements, and developing new offerings to maintain their competitive advantage.

Examples of Price Skimming

Price skimming refers to a pricing strategy where a firm initially charges a high price for its product or service, then gradually lowers it over time. This strategy aims to capture high profit margins from early adopters and eventually attract more price-sensitive consumers as the price declines. Here are three real-world examples of price skimming in digital marketing:

Apple Inc.:Apple is well-known for its price skimming strategies, especially when it comes to the release of new iPhones. When Apple launches a new iPhone model, it typically sets a high initial price to target tech enthusiasts and early adopters willing to pay a premium. As time goes on and market demand stabilizes, Apple lowers the prices of these products and targets a broader consumer segment.

Amazon Prime Day:Amazon Prime Day is an annual shopping event exclusive to Amazon Prime members. During this event, Amazon offers limited-time exclusive deals on various products, often at a high initial price point. As the event progresses, Amazon lowers the price on these items to attract more price-sensitive consumers, successfully practicing price skimming.

Video Game Industry:In the video game industry, price skimming is commonly used for the release of new games and consoles. When a new game is released, the initial price is set high, targeting early adopters who are passionate about gaming and willing to pay more. As sales begin to plateau, companies gradually reduce the price of the game, thereby attracting a wider audience of price-sensitive consumers. Similar strategies are employed during the launch of new gaming consoles, with prices decreasing over time as newer versions are released and the market demand changes.

FAQ: Price Skimming

1. What is price skimming?

Price skimming is a pricing strategy where a business sets a relatively high initial price for a new product or service and then gradually lowers the price over time. This strategy is typically used when launching innovative or technology-driven products, where early adopters are willing to pay a premium price for being the first to own or use the product.

2. What are the advantages of price skimming?

Some advantages of price skimming include higher profit margins, faster return on investment, ability to segment the market, and paving the way for future product introductions. The high initial price helps in covering the research and development costs, enables better cash flow, and allows companies to achieve a premium brand status.

3. What are the disadvantages of price skimming?

Price skimming can attract competitors, risk a loss in market share, and can alienate price-sensitive customers. Additionally, it might lead to negative customer perception if the price reductions occur too rapidly or are too drastic, causing some customers to resent having paid a higher price initially.

4. When is price skimming an appropriate strategy?

Price skimming is most suitable for products or services with inelastic demand, strong market demand, and unique features or benefits that differentiate them from competitors. Additionally, it is effective when launching new products with high innovation, strong brand positioning, and when there’s potential for different customer segments who value the product differently.

5. What are some examples of products or industries that use price skimming?

Price skimming is commonly used in the technology, pharmaceutical, fashion, and consumer electronics industries. Examples include new smartphones, gaming consoles, designer clothing, and innovative medical treatments. Manufacturers and brands in these industries often utilize price skimming to recoup development costs and create a perception of exclusivity and premium quality.

6. How does price skimming differ from other pricing strategies?

Price skimming is a short-term strategy focused on maximizing profits from early adopters before reducing the price for wider market penetration. This contrasts with other strategies such as penetration pricing, which focuses on gaining market share through low initial pricing, or cost-based pricing, which determines the price based on production costs and a desired profit margin.

Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Market Segmentation
  • Early Adopters
  • Price Elasticity of Demand
  • Product Life Cycle
  • Competitive Pricing Strategy

Sources for More Information

Reviewed by digital marketing experts

More terms

Guides, Tips, and More