Price Skimming Strategy: Definition, Strategies, Examples, and Pros/Cons

What is Price Skimming?

Price skimming is a pricing strategy where a company initially sets the highest possible price that early customers are willing to pay for a new product. Over time, as demand from the initial customer segment is met and competition enters the market, the company gradually reduces the price to attract more price-sensitive consumers.

This strategy, similar to skimming successive layers of cream, maximizes profits early on. Unlike penetration pricing, where initial prices are set low to build a broad customer base, price skimming targets early adopters and adjusts pricing as the product becomes more commonplace.

It’s a short-term approach typically used by pioneers in a market with little competition. The process involves launching with a premium price and systematically lowering it to accommodate broader consumer segments.

Purpose of Price Skimming

The purpose of price skimming is to capitalize on initial market demand by setting a high price for a new product, attracting early adopters willing to pay a premium.

Over time, as demand from this segment decreases and competitors enter, the price gradually drops, targeting more price-sensitive consumers. This strategy maximizes early profits, recouping investment costs swiftly, before adjusting prices to access broader markets and maintain competitiveness.

Advantages of Price Skimming

Price skimming also known as skim pricing offers various benefits to business. Here are six to mention:

  • Maximizing Early Profits: Price skimming lets companies fetch high prices from eager customers early on. It’s like catching the first wave of enthusiasm, getting the most money before others join the party. This helps cover initial costs and boosts overall profit.
  • Flexible Pricing: This strategy allows companies to adjust prices as they go. It’s like having a volume knob for prices. They can start loud, then slowly dial it down as needed to attract different types of buyers without losing too much momentum.
  • Real-Time Feedback: By targeting early adopters, companies get quick feedback. It’s like test-driving a car before it hits the market fully. This helps tweak products or marketing based on what customers say early on.
  • Segmenting Markets: It helps in serving different customer groups. It’s like having different entrances to a concert for VIPs and regular ticket holders. Early adopters get the VIP treatment, then others can join at different price points.
  • Swift Returns: It’s like winning a sprint race rather than a marathon. Companies quickly cover the costs of developing the product by charging a premium early on. This speedy return is a big plus.
  • Creating Buzz: Starting with high prices catches attention. It’s like throwing a flashy party that everyone talks about. This buzz helps create demand and curiosity around the product, which can lead to quicker sales.

Read More: What is Product Life Cycle Pricing?

Disadvantages of Price Skimming

Skimming pricing also has some disadvantages – here are five to mention:

  • Brand Damage: Think of it like a roller coaster drop for customer trust. If a company drastically drops prices after an initial high, customers might feel tricked or cheated. It’s like promising a big surprise but delivering something less exciting. This can hurt how people see the brand.
  • Competition Pressure: Imagine being the first to dive into a pool, but suddenly everyone else jumps in too. When competitors notice the high profits, they might rush in with similar products at lower prices.
  • Demand Dependency: Picture a seesaw that gets stuck on one side. Price skimming only works if certain customers keep buying at different prices. If demand suddenly changes, it’s like the seesaw tipping over. This strategy heavily relies on consistent customer behavior.
  • Short-Term Strategy: Price skimming works great at the beginning, but as time passes, it loses steam. It’s not a long-term plan since competitors catch up, and price-sensitive customers move on to cheaper options.
  • Market Share Challenges: It’s like claiming a spot in a queue that’s getting longer. Initially, a company might have the spotlight, but if it keeps prices high for too long, it’s like stepping out of line. Others might take their place, reducing the company’s market share.

Read More: What is Product Mix Pricing?

Strategies For Price Skimming

When to use price skimming and penetration is a mind game. Here I have mentioned five key strategies that might best work with the price skimming strategy:

Early Bird Advantage

It’s like being the first to try a new dessert at a party. Launch the product with a high price tag when it’s fresh and exciting, targeting those who love being the first to taste something new. Use this strategy when you’re the trailblazer in the market, introducing something that’s never been seen before. It’s perfect for catching the attention of tech lovers or trendsetters.

Tiered Drop Technique

Imagine stairs with gradually decreasing steps. Start high and then lower the price in stages. It’s like letting more people access a building by creating steps instead of a sudden jump. This method suits products that can adjust prices over time without surprising early buyers. It’s good for reaching different customer groups and ensuring a smooth transition in pricing.

Read More: What is an Odd Pricing Strategy?

Segmented Skimming

Picture a puzzle where each piece is priced differently. Identify specific customer groups willing to pay different prices. It’s like offering VIP tickets for special perks at a concert. This approach works well when different customers value your product differently. It allows tailoring prices for various groups, maximizing profits from each segment.

Event-Driven Drops

Think of it as a sale but with a planned sequence. Lower prices during specific events or milestones. It’s like having a fireworks show on special occasions. This tactic is great for creating buzz and excitement at key moments, attracting both early and later buyers at different stages of the product’s journey.

Competition Response

Imagine a game of tennis where you adapt to your opponent’s moves. Lower prices in response to competitors entering the market. It’s like adjusting your strategy when your opponent changes tactics. This approach is about staying agile and competitive, matching or beating rivals’ prices to maintain your product’s appeal.

Read More: Psychological Pricing Strategy

Examples of Price Skimming

Let’s explore price-skimming strategy examples including company names and how they have implemented it:


Apple has mastered price skimming with its iPhone launches. Upon releasing a new model, they initially set a high price to attract early adopters and avid fans eager for the latest technology. As time passes, Apple gradually reduces the price, making the product accessible to a broader audience. For instance, the iPhone 11 was introduced at a premium price, appealing to tech enthusiasts, and over time, the price decreased, making it more affordable for a wider market segment.


Tesla’s approach to price skimming involves starting with high prices for their luxury electric vehicles, targeting wealthier consumers who seek innovation and exclusivity. Then, over time, they introduce more affordable models to reach a larger customer base. For example, Tesla initially launched its Model 3 cars at higher price points, catering to early adopters, and subsequently decreased prices as manufacturing efficiencies and cost reductions occurred, making the vehicles more accessible to a broader market.

Read More: Promotional Pricing Strategy

Sony PlayStation

Sony employed price skimming with its PlayStation consoles. When a new generation of PlayStation is introduced, it enters the market at a premium price, attracting dedicated gamers and early adopters. As the console’s life cycle progresses and production costs decrease, Sony lowers the price, appealing to a broader audience. The PlayStation 5, for instance, debuted at a higher price to capitalize on the demand from gaming enthusiasts and gradually reduced its price to attract more buyers.


Samsung, known for its smartphones, implements price skimming by initially launching new phone models at higher prices to target early adopters and tech enthusiasts. After a few months, Samsung typically reduces prices to attract price-sensitive consumers and maintain competitiveness in the market. For instance, the Galaxy series often starts with premium pricing and gradually adjusts prices over time to capture various segments of the market.

Read Next: Sealed Bid Pricing in Marketing

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