Age of Cheap

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GDI Study No. 13 / 2004
Age of Cheap

Authors: David Bosshart, José Luis Nueno und Daniel Staib

Language: German and English


Why customers intend to pay less and less as prices become more important than ever

  • Why do customers want to spend less and less?
  • What are the driving forces behind low prices?
  • What business models influence the “Age of Cheap”?


We are at the dawn of the “Age of Cheap“, with customers demanding evermore for less. The struggle for rock-bottom prices cuts across all markets, determining economic and social development. Couple this with China’s full integration into the WTO, the demographic time bomb, changing consumer behaviour and the disappearance of medium income levels and it looks like a trend destined to keep gaining momentum. Cheap will become increasingly important for traders as more and more industries and lines of business pursue the trend.

This GDI study reveals the effects, prospects and risks for retail and its surroundings of the “Age of Cheap”. It includes case studies on Zara and Wal-Mart.

Summary of the study (PDF)