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03-31-2013, 11:52 PM   #1
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One year anniversary - is Pentax unilateral pricing (MAP) on lenses working?

One year ago today, 1 April 2012, Pentax USA introduced a new lens pricing policy (aka maximum assured pricing / unilateral pricing) that immediately jumped new lens prices online by up to 90%.

We were told that it was done to encourage brick and mortar stores in the US to carry Pentax equipment again by giving them large margins, and that Pentax was just following Nikon and Canon's pricing policy.

The web went apes*&t: lots of customers thought Pentax crazy, some tried to jack up corresponding used lens prices. Many US PF members started buying in Canada, with its better prices and 2 year warranty. Some non-US PF members had little sympathy and crowed that now US Pentax customers would share the high price pain they had been experiencing for years.

It appeared that sales of new Pentax lenses tanked. After a time, prices came down to near their pre-April levels, then went up again, down again, up again and finally we had the crazy low Black Friday sale. Now lens prices are back up to what many consider unrealistic levels. But these are advertised prices: we're told if you call Adorama or B&H they'll quote you prices that are near or as good as those pre- April 2012.

So, now one year on I ask: is Pentax UPP on lenses working?

- working for Pentax USA to expand their lens sales? (I know there are no sales figures but what do think?)
- working for Pentax internationally to prevent US online sales to overseas customers?
- working for you for local instore Pentax product and lens tryouts?
- working for you as a US or overseas Pentax customer who buys online?


Last edited by Gray; 04-01-2013 at 12:28 AM. Reason: updated links
04-01-2013, 12:01 AM   #2
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I don't think that it has shown any benefits yet, but maybe it will in a couple of years. What has changed, however, is the B&H and Adorama in-store pricing. Prices in store have certainly gone up, unfortunately, even though they're not as high as the online MAP prices. For example, the 16-50mm is $1049 in store at B&H (subject to change).

Even if Pentax gear starts showing up at B&M stores, it's not going to sell at the new inflated prices if it's sitting beside cheaper Canikon alternatives IMHO. Why buy a Pentax 50mm for $250 when the competition has one for just over $100?

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04-01-2013, 12:59 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Why would they want to get a toe in to brick and mortar stores?

Who buys there anymore anyway?

Seriously - I am curious about the stats. Around here, even when it comes to Canikon, if you want more than the kit lens, you need to go into the city centre (CBD/downtown). Then when you get there, prices are through the roof and sales staff don't know whether they're Arthur or Martha. Do people really bother with that any more ??
04-01-2013, 01:25 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gray Quote
what many consider unrealistic levels
Pentax also has to consider that their glass is far overpriced; especially considering how much the competition offers - better optics and better aperatures, better build quality and reliability.

04-01-2013, 02:24 AM   #5
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In Australia I'm seeing more Pentax product on shelves so thats a plus- also everyone seems to have the ability to match pricing on official dealers.
It seems to have been a goodish year overall with the K30 and K5II(s) getting good reviews and exposure. The Q isn't treated in such the disdain it was particulary with the newer price points and the K01 seems to be clearing well at its price. I think Pentax just need that top end model to really push forward further and some of that new glass to hint at the future. EG that new DA* stuff.
04-01-2013, 05:39 AM   #6
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Yes, it is working. It has cured my LBA.
04-01-2013, 05:53 AM   #7
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Just FYI ... in France the prices did not change all that much ... One year after a few have gone down, ie DA 50/1.8, DA 40/2.8 and a few other primes as well ... the zooms seem to have stayed at the same price levels, but then again I am not interested the DA zooms, thus I do not follow closely the prices here ... J
04-01-2013, 06:02 AM   #8
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If anything, Prices on some lenses here in AU dropped. I'm about to order a DA* 60-250 for $1285 locally. The limited lenses, DA 55-300 in particular and a couple of others are ridiculously high here in Oz. Body pricing is as good as anywhere in the world here. It's whats tipped me back from the C*non crowd into the Pentax crowd once more.

04-01-2013, 06:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MPrince Quote
Yes, it is working. It has cured my LBA.

+1 on that statement.
04-01-2013, 06:43 AM   #10
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I think the ultimate result of the new pricing is that most of us are saving our money and waiting for the end of the year sales from Thanksgiving and Christmas when they seem to let their pricing policy slide. My daughter shoots Nikon and the same thing there also. I picked her up a zoom last year at a substantial discount.
04-01-2013, 07:20 AM   #11
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For what it's worth, I contacted B&H three weeks ago regarding a lens. I don't know whether B&H independently changed their policy, Pentax cracked down on them and forced a change, or the rep was clueless, but here's what I was told (paraphrasing): "B&H does not have separate online and in-store pricing for Pentax lenses. The online price is their only price." I didn't call back and check with another rep because the lens was out of stock anyway.
04-01-2013, 07:39 AM   #12
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I hate the policy. My B&M store had "okay" prices before, to compete with BH and Adorama. Then they raised their prices significantly to match the new prices of BH and Adorama online.

So I think the new pricing has had the opposite affect, for me. The B&M's here sold Pentax before and made a margin on their stuff. Now they don't sell Pentax, they offer it, but it does not sell. My fave B&M went from a display of 20 lenses and 4 bodies down to 6 lenses and they don't display any bodies.
04-01-2013, 08:32 AM   #13
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It's interesting to compare with the experience of a major general retailer in the US, J. C. Penney.
They've just gone back to the kind of "mark-up to mark-down" policy that Pentax is using:
J.C. Penney revives ''mark-up to mark-down'' tactic to boost sales | Reuters
04-01-2013, 08:46 AM   #14
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I wouldn't know, I've never bought a Pentax lens new.

As far as B&M stores go, I wouldn't even consider buying locally. Even assuming I could find Pentax gear, and for the same price as online, there's the 10% sales tax to consider. If I had bought my K-5 IIs locally, I would have paid $130 in taxes. So, pay $130 in tax, or none at all? Tough choice.
04-01-2013, 08:56 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by russell2pi Quote
Why would they want to get a toe in to brick and mortar stores?

Who buys there anymore anyway?

Seriously - I am curious about the stats. Around here, even when it comes to Canikon, if you want more than the kit lens, you need to go into the city centre (CBD/downtown). Then when you get there, prices are through the roof and sales staff don't know whether they're Arthur or Martha. Do people really bother with that any more ??
Many people buy online, but it's always nice to try before you buy. And you can't do that with Pentax gear except for in a few select cities.

Adam
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