Cost is not everything

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Where I stand when it comes to reaching the average consumer is that a manufacturer needs to offer the best value at the lowest possible price point to its target market. This is a proven path to success in the marketplace. You see, if your target market cannot afford what you put on the table, they cannot afford it, and that is that.

On the flip side, however, is the misconception that a cheaper model is the same as the more expensive model. That is just amusing. It never is, and there is always something that has to give to deliver lower price points. Sometimes, it is lower RAM, smaller internal storage, a less powerful processor, or a smaller number of features. There always is.

Besides the functional differences, there is also the look and feel. This is related to cheaper materials. Displays on the more expensive models are almost always smoother and silkier to touch, designs look better, and premium materials go into the crafting. As a rule, the more expensive mobiles have a more premium feel to them too. They ooze class. If class doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t worry about it. You are not the target market for those devices.

My Hyundai Accent meets the basic needs of motoring. It has also proven fuel efficient and reliable. After 5 years, it still looks pretty good and there are people who ask if it is two years old yet. Awesome car. Still, I am under no illusions as to think that it is the same as a BMW 3 series. They are very different – in power, comfort, handling, safety and durability. Yes; I probably do not have a daily need for all the features that the 3 series offers. The Accent meets the majority of my needs. Still, there is no question that all things being equal and where money is not a problem, I will upgrade to the 3 series (or at least its closest equivalent in the Hyundai range, should I be a fanboy).

We need low-cost smartphones in order to reach the vast majority of people. I am all for that. But if you have ever owned a premium smartphone, the difference in both classes of devices cannot be lost on you. The vast majority of people have no direct or immediate need for many of the features that are crammed into many mobile flagships. What does the market woman at Lagos Island want to do with an 8 megapixel camera? A 5 megapixel camera suffices for the most part. Yet, the two are different. What does the average mobile user need Air View for? Yet, it is an extra that factors in, whichever way you look at it. We have also long established that dual-core processors are more than adequate for most use-case scenarios. Yet; a dual-core processor isn’t the same as a quad-core unit.

If you can afford it, chances are that you will go for faster, bigger, better, more powerful, and all. I do not need the power and maximum speed of the Nissan GT-R in my day-to-day city runs, but I sure would love to own and drive one some day. Cost is not everything.


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  1. Great points, and I mostly agree.

    I would like to also add that high cost does not necessarily always reflect great value… value being in the hands of the holder.

    There are high cost items of inferior quality to far cheaper equivalents.

    It happens in mobile devices, cars, fashion accessories, everywhere.

    there is always something that has to
    give to deliver lower price points.
    Sometimes, it is lower RAM, smaller
    internal storage, a less powerful
    processor, or a smaller number of
    features. There always is.//

    Sometimes, maybe often, all that needs to give is wanton greed and rabid acquisitiveness.

    If an item costs X to make, and is sold for 4X to people with more money than sense, that is plain criminal.

    So, it’s not always all about cost. It’s often about gullibility, the Lemming Syndrome and facetious class consciousness.

  2. And they still line up like sheep waiting for hours and days at a time outside their shops as if their lives depend on it. iewu

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