MAP Policies Sweep Across the Airsoft Industry
July 18, 2013
If you’re even a little bit plugged into the airsoft industry then you’ve probably noticed the terms ‘MAP policy’ floating around recently. If you’re not familiar with the acronym, it stands for Minimum Advertised Price. Contrary to popular belief, MAP policy is a good thing. Many airsofters believe that retailers started enforcing MAP policy so that they can rip off the consumer to make more money, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. MAP policy is put into place, and enforced by, the manufacturer and/or distributor of product to protect its value. It is very important to protect the value of each product because it ensures growth for the industry; growth for the manufacturers, growth for the retailers, and growth for the airsoft players. It may not be readily apparent how the airsoft player benefits from MAP pricing, most can easily see how the other parties benefit, so let’s look at the brand new A&K PKM as an example.
Here is a gun that’s supposed to sell for $500 on sale for $360 at some retailers, a 28% discount. The cost to make the gun, package it, pay export fees on it, ship it here, pay tax on it, and sell it is $351 with the exchange rate. A $9 margin is not enough to justify selling the gun, after paying for the product and the fixed cost of business, all profits are lost. Most consumers won’t think twice about a business’s profits because they just want to get the product for the lowest price possible. Let’s explore a scenario where profits are cut out of all existing airsoft products. Manufacturers and retailers are now making, buying and selling items at the same price. Sales skyrocket because the price of everything is so low. There’s a lot of money exchanging hands but each dollar spent only yields a 99 cent return. Slowly the money disappears, manufacturers can no longer afford to make anything new, so nothing new is introduced to the game. In a desperate attempt to stay busy, retailers start selling things at deeper and deeper losses, they’re not making money, but at least they’re not standing around with nothing to do. Eventually retailers close their doors. Without product support or anywhere to buy, the player base dwindles until airsoft becomes a memory of the fun times we used to have. It may seem far fetched but this has actually happened to industries in the past, and it is still happening in some industries today. Going back to our example of the A&K PKM, now that we’ve been down the slippery pricing slope, the solution seems simple right? Raise the price so that the industry can sustain itself, but it’s not that easy. The gun is no longer valued at $500 because it was introduced into the market at $360. While it may be better in the short term for the customer to pay as little as possible for our A&K PKM, the long term result is that there won’t be an industry to support the sport.
MAP does exist to ensure profits, but it doesn’t make anyone filthy rich, all it does is make sure that the industry doesn’t price itself to oblivion. Hopefully this sheds some light on what MAP policies are and why they exist. Fortunately, the sweeping MAP enforcement is coming at a very early time for the airsoft industry and the road to sustainability is being paved for a brighter future for our sport.
Please check out our policies page for more information.
List of current MAP items:
Blue Force Gear
D Boy Guns
Echo 1 Guns
Elite Force Guns
Lancer Tactical Guns
Socom Gear Guns
Tactical Assualt Gear