Apple sells a $19 polishing cloth. The price point actually makes sense

Apple follows the rule of “charm pricing,” which uses odd numbers to demonstrate value to customers. Its $19 polishing cloth fits into this strategy.

In October, Apple announced it was selling a $19 polishing cloth and the internet went absolutely crazy… with jokes.

“Oh look, crazy Apple selling overpriced stuff that its captive loyal customers will still buy” was the popular sentiment.

As it turns out, the $19 price point makes a lot of sense…

… based on Apple’s pricing strategy

According to the Wall Street Journal, every Apple product has a starting price that ends with the number “9.” Here’s a quick spot check:

  • iPhone 13 Pro: $999
  • iMac 27”: $1,799
  • 3rd gen AirPods: $179

The logic behind this pricing is known as charm pricing, which “uses odd numbers — often nines — to demonstrate perceived value to shoppers and convince them to buy” (think about it: $4.99 feels a lot cheaper than $5).

So, Apple needs to price its polishing cloth with a ‘9’

But it also has to signal its premium position in the market. For this reason, a $9 polishing cloth is too low a price because you can find comparable single-digit options on Amazon.

The next “9” price is $19, and it’s clear that Apple believes this is the market-clearing price for its upscale clientele. In addition to the cloth, the iPhone maker sells many commodity accessories at $19, per WSJ.

  • Earbuds
  • Power bars
  • USB-C cables

Earlier this week, Elon Musk poked fun at Apple’s $19 cloth by selling a limited edition Tesla “Cyberwhistle” for $50. If he was following Apple closely, he should have priced it at $49.

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