Skimming vs. Penetration Strategy: The Ultimate Pricing Guide

In the world of product management and pricing, skimming and penetration strategies play a crucial role. These strategies involve pricing a product either at the highest value possible (skimming) or at a low price (penetration) to attract customers. In this article, we will explore the differences between skimming and penetration strategies and how they can affect a company’s revenue and market position.

Skimming Strategy

The skimming strategy involves introducing a product at a high price and gradually reducing the price over time. This strategy aims to maximize revenue while the demand for the product is still high. One famous company that utilizes this strategy is Apple. Apple launches its new versions at a premium price, and as it introduces new products, it reduces the prices of its previous ones. This approach works for Apple because it has a cult following and high price is perceived as high quality. However, the skimming strategy has its limitations as well.

Firstly, skimming strategy only works if there are enough customers willing to buy the product at a high price, like in the case of Apple. Additionally, the high price should not attract too many competitors. Competing with Apple’s fandom and cult following is challenging. Moreover, the strategy may not be effective for follow-up products, as buyers may switch to cheaper alternatives if price reduction occurs too late.

Penetration Strategy

The penetration strategy takes the opposite approach. It involves introducing a product at a low price to attract customers and increase market share and sales volume. Lowering the price helps the company gain awareness for the product and encourages customers to try it. Companies that use penetration pricing usually have a smaller market presence and need to lower the price to build a customer base.

However, there are limitations to the penetration strategy as well. While it can increase market share and sales volume, it may not necessarily lead to profits if the price is too low. Additionally, the initial low price may attract customers who switch to competitors as prices rise.

Two examples of companies that use penetration pricing are Costco and Kroger in the US. They sell their own organic food brands at lower prices compared to other brands to penetrate the market. Similarly, Big Bazaar in India keeps its prices lower compared to its competitors to attract more customers.


Choosing between skimming and penetration strategies depends on the product and market conditions. Skimming works well when a product has a premium value and customer base, like Apple. On the other hand, penetration pricing can be effective for new products or products with a lower market presence. By understanding the differences between these pricing strategies, product managers can make informed decisions to maximize revenue and market share.

Implementing an effective pricing strategy is crucial for any product’s success. Whether it’s skimming or penetration, understanding the market dynamics and customer behavior is essential. By carefully analyzing the market, product managers can choose the right pricing strategy that aligns with their business objectives and attracts the right customers.

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