I had a nice flowery post written up, and then the internets ate it, twice. So here’s the skinny, with no flowers:
Here’s why it’s likely the year for geeks to buy HDTVs and Roombas:
Costco has listed both as coupon items in their Q1 publication, showing that Costco’s buyers with their reams of customer purchasing data, believe their disproportionately upper-middleclass clientele is ready to buy on this go-around. And when they do buy, their neighbors will want the same thing, but for 30% less. And the manufacturers will be happy to do so, by cutting the bill of materials so that they can actually turn a profit on the mass audience. It’s probably the last time when each product will have essentially “just one” level. Both haven’t significantly bifurcated into “high end” and “low-end” product lines as of yet, because there’s been no mass-market to pander to.
So what we’re looking at here are two products likely at the pinnacle of their cost/feature cycle, still offering tweak-ability for geeks, but priced in such a way as to gain a foothold into the market. After this season, the low-end models will be cut to “just enough” that you can say you own one, and the high-end models will have cute, but largely un-used features added to justify their added cost. In a few years, the low-end will surpass the functionality of today’s breakthrough product on a pure value scale, but right now, they’re still building for passion, not profit.