In our mailbox today we observed a note from Leapfrog indicating a massive price drop.
The price change applies to their previous flagship desktop 3D printer, the Creatr HS, which was first introduced way back in 2014. The Creatr HS was at the time a much faster and larger volumed version of their previous product.
Now the company says:
With the large production, we were able to optimise the machine and to reduce its costs, which now gives us the chance to offer you a €1000,- price drop in a brand new Creatr HS 3D printer.
Currently the machine is priced at €1,499 (USD$1,590) on their website. I’m not aware of their pre-discount price, but arithmetic suggests it would have been €2,499 (USD$2,650). According to our records, the machine was initially offered at €1,799 (USD$2,435 at the time). Clearly exchange rates have been floating around since then.
But there is the question of why they are doing this. In some cases, saved expenses to produce the product are reflected in additional profit, not necessarily lowered pricing. So what might be going on at Leapfrog?
There are several possibilities.
One might be that Leapfrog is facing increased competition and felt it necessary to reduce their product price to compete. This is likely as there certainly is a great deal of competitive machines available today, many at excellent price points. This is definitely not the same situation as existed during the 2014 introduction of the Creatr HS.
Another possibility is that Leapfrog may be considering phasing out the Creatr HS in order to focus more strongly on their now-core product, the Leapfrog Bolt. The lower price might help clean out inventory of a model that could be discontinued in the future. Meanwhile, the Bolt is a much more powerful device that is capable of multiple materials in a single print, ability to handle a very wide variety of unusual materials and several ease-of-use features.
It’s also a lot higher priced than the Creatr HS, as it’s priced at €4,999 (USD$5,300). It’s highly likely they make a much higher margin on the Bolt than they do on the Creatr HS.
I suppose this could be yet another aspect of the shift from consumer to professional 3D printing that’s been happening in the past couple of years. Companies in the space have discovered there’s lot more profit from serving professionals. Leapfrog would be not the first, nor the last to make that switch.
[UPDATE] Leapfrog 3D Printers has provided a comment about their strategy:
Our price reduction can be indeed connected with our intention of moving forward to a more professional target. Leapfrog has decided to focus on the Bolt and to work towards its developments and market. In addition, this opportunity has allowed us to start a donation campaign, with and for our customers, making us even prouder of this new step. Therefore, the social responsibility is part of the action and a connection with one of our previous target groups – the educational systems and its institutions –, simply because we believe that this is where the innovation and development of any industry is rooted. In the near future we will come up with new campaigns, inviting our buyers to also donate towards education through different actions and opportunities.