Costco Black Friday Discounts Include Google Home Mini 3-Pack for $69.99 – three non-obvious takeaways
Holiday shopping season is nearly upon us and some Black Friday promotional circulars are starting to surface. Costco’s promotion of a Google Home Mini 3-Pack for $69.99 is an example of how price discounts may still be a big driver of smart speaker unit sales this season. However, three other things caught my eye: the price point, the promotion’s positioning and a product that is being promoted.
Merchandising Choices Reflect Retailer Expectations
First of all, the price point reflects a $30 discount so that means the typical pricing is $33.33 per Google Home Mini, well below the $49.99 list price. Consumers should be aware that you never have to pay the full price for the entry-level smart speakers. The devices are frequently discounted and there are some retailers that provide them on a lower daily price. The Black Friday discount brings the price of the Google Home Minis down to $23.33 each. It is a bulk purchase and it is only available to warehouse club members, but the average price is less than 50% of list. Many people have suggested that Amazon and Google should just give the devices away because what they really care about is that consumers start to form loyalty around the voice assistant. For a large number of consumers this price point is close to giving it away.
Another noteworthy aspect of the promotional circular is that the Google Home Mini deal was buried on page six of eight. Last year, Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot’s were typically page one features. That positioning reflects expected consumer interest in the product category. Retailers likely have lower expectations about device demand in 2018. A smart speaker discount did make the list of 64 promotions, but it is buried in the middle and not on the first or last page that capture the most consumer attention. Page one did include some more traditional product categories such as a refrigerator, television, four laptops and even an iPad.
Finally, there is not a single smart display listed in the circular. The industry is clearly hoping that smart displays such as Amazon Echo Show, Lenovo Smart Display and Google Home Hub will be the must-have product of the 2018 holidays. That hope may still be fulfilled, but it will help a great deal if smart displays also receive discount promotions from major retailers. Costco has decided against it. Will other retailers follow suit. Let us know what you think on Twitter. You can see the full circular here.