Market penetration pricing is a quick-entry price strategy that assumes low price will gain high sales volume which, in turn, will result in lowering costs. This strategy is used in price sensitive markets. For example, consider the market for DVD players; it is a high volume market, it has a high number of competitors, the costs to produce DVD players have fallen, and new and/or changing technology allow businesses to rapidly introduce new features and benefits on new models. The businesses that introduce DVD players quickly, sell high volume at low or reasonable prices, are following a market penetration strategy.

Businesses using market penetration pricing are usually trying to penetrate the market by growing their share of the market. They assume that the lowest price will win market share. Make sure that if you use this pricing strategy that you test your market, your price sensitivity and your price elasticity or in-elasticity first. Also be sure to do your market research to gain an understanding of how your competitors will react to this penetration pricing strategy. For example, your low price may cause your competition to lower price, then you will lower your price again, and so on – no one wins with a strategy like this.

But your market penetration pricing strategy can also be a deterrent for new competitors who are considering entering the market. When they see how low your pricing is and realize that their margins will be low and the risk of gaining market share for new entrants is high, they might choose not to enter the market. For your business to be successful with this strategy, it must have the capability to enjoy the economies of scale that high volume will bring and be the low cost provider in the market.

If you are an existing business and your competitor is following a market penetration strategy, do a thorough market research assessment of your capabilities:

Can you drive your costs down?
Can you produce high volume?
Do you want to sell your product at a low price (and hope volume sales will get you both the market share and the profitability you want)?
If you answer no to any of these questions, don’t follow this penetration strategy (or at least, consider this strategy very carefully). However, if you are a new business considering this strategy in a new, or scarcely populated, market, focus on how to drive your costs down and your efficiencies up.

Whatever pricing strategy you use, make sure that you specify it in your marketing mix plan and write down the reasons you chose that strategy. Then, at least on an annual basis at the time of your business plan update, review your chosen marketing strategy (including your pricing strategy) and ensure it is the right strategy for the product life cycle, for the market conditions, for your buyers, and for the competitive environment at that time.