With gas prices climbing to $4 a gallon in the U.S (welcome to the $100 fill-up!). and $1.40 a litre in Canada, it has been interesting to see consumer-focused companies start to offer free gas as an incentive.
Chrysler, for example, is offering buyers a locked-in price of $2.99 a gallon for three years for nearly of all its new vehicles. Calloway Golf is offering a $100 gas card for people who buy a FT-i, FT-5 or Hyper X driver. Meanwhile, the Shady Lady Ranch in rural Nevada is offering its brothel customers $50 of free gas for every $300 they spend on the ladies.
Given consumer electronics such as new computers, digital cameras, large-screen TVs and iPods/iPhones aren’t necessities, you have to ask whether retailers and/or consumer electronic makers will need to offer free gas to encourage purchases.
If you’re trying to convince consumers to cough up $2000 for a 40″ flat-screen LCD television, perhaps $100 of free gas might close the deal. What about a $10 gas card if you buy a digital camera, or $50 or free gas when you buy a new laptop?
Now, the concept of free gas for tech products may seem a bit far-fetched but when you consider how dependent North Americans are on gasoline and how it’s starting to account for more of a household’s budget, you can understand the appeal of free gas.
As well, keep in mind that the last 10 years have been good times for consumer electronic makers as consumers, buoyed by low unemployment, low interest rates and higher home values, were happily spending.
In no time at all, retail sales have slumped as consumer rein in spending. U.S. auto sales in June, for example, slumped 18.3% in June from the year before.
When you take everything into consideration, the concept of free gas could easily trickle its way into the consumer technology market in the near future.