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RC Transmitters - Retail Pricing

Are Retail Prices Being Controlled?

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John Roberts 915/11/2018 10:50:38
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185 forum posts
167 photos

The festive season is just around the corner and my good lady has offered to buy me an upgraded Tx for my Christmas present. My existing Tx (from one of the 'big name' producers) has served me well for 7 years and so it made sense to stick to the same brand (familiarity and the fact that I don't really want to have to replace about 20 Rx's).

Two things immediately struck me. First, there only appear to be only a very small number of UK retailers stocking this brand. Second, and more significantly, all the stockists are listing my preferred Tx at the same price. In the UK retail price maintenance (RPM) is generally unlawful so is it just pure coincidence that all the UK retailers are selling at the same price?

Nigel R15/11/2018 10:57:22
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2977 forum posts
471 photos

Presumably the distributor charges them all the same amount each and they've chosen to put the same markup on it.

Former Member15/11/2018 11:06:17

[This posting has been removed]

Martin Harris15/11/2018 11:20:33
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8733 forum posts
214 photos

Are the prices less than the manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price? I believe that the margins on model related items are significantly smaller than the general retail sector so it's quite feasible that the sellers are operating on extremely slim mark-ups which have reached a point where it's not viable to discount any further.

Perhaps your decision should be based on post and packaging charges - unless you're lucky enough to have a good retailer still operating relatively close to you?

Cuban815/11/2018 11:45:58
2640 forum posts
13 photos

I bought a new Spektrum DX8 G2 over the counter from a mainstream model shop a while back and paid £100 less than what they're being advertised for now. I don't believe that the manufacturing costs of said radio have increased that much, or the exchange rate has caused such a price hike. Presumably, Spektrum were making a reasonable margin before the price rise, and even if they were underselling it a bit, a hundred quid extra is hard to justify.

Their receiver prices was also getting ridiculous, compared to the ever more popular FrSky stuff, but I see that their new 6 channel (sans aerials) is a bit more reasonably priced.

Nigel R15/11/2018 11:52:32
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2977 forum posts
471 photos

" I don't believe that the manufacturing costs of said radio have increased that much, or the exchange rate has caused such a price hike. Presumably, Spektrum were making a reasonable margin before the price rise, and even if they were underselling it a bit, a hundred quid extra is hard to justify"

Production costs have risen.

Exchange rates have been getting progressively worse for us for a while.

I don't think Spektrum were making that good a margin, see the recent(ish) restructure.

Spektrum prices had been held at a good level longer than was viable.

They're actively developing TXs, not every manufacturer is.

I'm surprised it took this long to bump them.

Stearman6515/11/2018 12:11:34
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769 forum posts
893 photos

If I was you I would ask the retailers what their best prices are. I was interested in a top range transmitter & found it £40 less elsewhere. I went back to the other retailer & asked if he would match the price & he agreed. IMO there is always some wriggle room especially as black Friday is approaching. devil

John Roberts 915/11/2018 12:13:00
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185 forum posts
167 photos

The retail prices being offered are 40 quid cheaper than manufacturers RRP. Whilst my current Tx continues to work very well, the set I have in mind offers more functionality (I am particularly thinking of flight modes for gliders) plus some useful frills like voice prompts etc. Also who doesn't like a brand new bit of kit occasionally!

It easy to understand why so many people are turning towards the (apparently) high spec offerings from Frsky etc. at remarkably good prices compared to the traditional mainstream marques.

Peter Christy15/11/2018 12:19:51
1517 forum posts

I don't think the model shops make much on RC gear - their markup is pretty low. Some importers, however, are making very substantial markups on imported gear (over 100% in some cases, if rumours are to be believed!).

If you want to know how much your gear *should* cost, try looking at RC Japan's website. OK, you'll have to convert from yen, add shipping, import duty and VAT, but I think you'll find the difference in price quite staggering!

I have no problems with importers making a markup. After all, they have to support the product in the UK, but some of the markups are quite extra-ordinary!

Not that many years ago, it was cheaper to buy a British manufactured car in Europe and re-import it, than it was to buy from a UK main dealer. I suspect RC gear is heading the same way...

--

Pete

John Roberts 915/11/2018 12:34:44
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185 forum posts
167 photos

My suspicion has always been that the manufacturers/importers have the retailers in a headlock when it comes to pricing. I doubt the retailer is making much at all on the deal.

As Peter Christy says above, the pricing of much of this equipment outside the UK tells its own story about markup.

Dave Hess15/11/2018 12:41:03
301 forum posts
18 photos
You don"t necessarily have to stick with the same brand to use all your receivers. There are multi-protocol modules now that allow your new transmitter to bind with just about any receiver. Just make sure that you get a transmitter with an external module bay so that you can install one of these modules.

I don't know about other systems, but it's easy to set up the external module with an Open Tx transmitter.
Cuban815/11/2018 14:07:51
2640 forum posts
13 photos

I suppose you have to take a wider view. Radio is still relatively inexpensive compared to years ago. My first set was a Futaba 2 channel, twin stick, 27 Mhz Medallion outfit (hence I fly mode1) which IIRC cost me around £60 in the mid/ late 70s. What's 1970s sixty quid worth now, three or four hundred pounds perhaps? and don't forget that was for a simple 2 channel outfit with dry batteries. Anything more sophisticated was way beyond what I could afford at the time, and I used to watch the older chaps who could afford 'full house sets' and think "I'll get one of those one day".

If you wanted an extra servo, that would cost you about a tenner, so fifty quid in today's money for a pretty poor spec item in comparison to what we have today.

I think I paid around £150 for a Futaba 5 channel Gold set 35 Mhz (the seven channel was still out of reach) in 1981, so a rough guess £500 in 2018 terms? Lovely set, still have it, but I doubt if it'll ever get used again. The workmanship and quality of manufacture is quite outstanding, never so much as a single glitch that I noticed. Just the basic controls, with no fancy stuff except servo reversing. No wonder Futaba gained the reputation that it did, and eventually knocked for six the US and UK manufacturers and sidelined the European offerings as well.

 

Edited By Cuban8 on 15/11/2018 14:12:03

Trevor Crook15/11/2018 15:21:57
836 forum posts
65 photos

Yes, C8, I remember the olden days when you had to pay over £100 for a Futaba PCM receiver. You can now get a far superior 2.4GHz 6-channel receiver from Futaba or Spektrum for a few quid either side of £30. I regard that as good value for money and don't feel the need to consider "second source" receivers.

Similarly, 8-channel transmitters from those two top-selling manufacturers for less than £200 look good. Obviously there are several other makes around that offer even better value.

Geoff Sleath15/11/2018 16:19:25
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3297 forum posts
251 photos

If model shops were making massive profits by taking a big mark-upon their selling prices then there'd still be all the shops round me still in business and thriving. As it is, all the shops I used to use regularly are no longer there and I'm left with mail order and the internet.

If everyone's prices are easily checkable then they're going to end up at a very similar level. There's more to buying a high cost item like a new transmitter than price. That's why I paid a little more than necessary for my Horus by getting from T9 HobbySport. I haven't needed any support but I'm confident it will be there if needed. Not so sure about (say) HK, though I still buy from them where the risk is less.

Geoff

ChrisB15/11/2018 20:37:16
1219 forum posts
34 photos

All modelling equipment is price fixed.

I've spoken to several well known retailers over the last few years who've told me that if they sell a radio or engine, one brand in particular below or above X% of the RRP more than 3 times, the supplier will terminate their account for breaching the T&C.

If a retailer wants to buy an item for £500 and sell it for £100, that's up to them and should not be determined by the supplier, as they already have their money.

It's contrary to fair practice and is anti-competitive and i'm sure if there was the will by us lot and the retailers investigations could be made.

Kim Taylor15/11/2018 23:18:29
274 forum posts
53 photos

Nowt to do with radios, but I recently saw that the Hanger 9 Valiant 10cc was on offer in the US for $199 (can't be bothered to work it out in sterling)

I went through the order process to checkout and I could get one delivered over here from the US, carriage and duty paid, for £245.

List price over here is £279 ................................................

The price we pay is what the market will stand and has very little to do with the cost of manufacture.

Kim

Stearman6515/11/2018 23:46:48
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769 forum posts
893 photos
Posted by Kim Taylor on 15/11/2018 23:18:29:

Nowt to do with radios, but I recently saw that the Hanger 9 Valiant 10cc was on offer in the US for $199 (can't be bothered to work it out in sterling)

I went through the order process to checkout and I could get one delivered over here from the US, carriage and duty paid, for £245.

List price over here is £279 ................................................

The price we pay is what the market will stand and has very little to do with the cost of manufacture.

Kim

Beware buying from the US, I bought a cockpit kit from Top Flite direct, the carriage & duty amounted to almost the cost of the kit so £40 jumped to almost £80. I worked it out myself & it came to £10 less than I was charged, so I sent an official query, that was almost 2 months ago, I'm still waiting for a reply. I also decided to get the fiberglass cowl & other components from the US, but was wary about duty. Luckily, a guy from a US forum offered to have them sent to him & he would send them to me, they arrived, duty nil. Obviously that was a one off. I should ask the seller whose shipper they use, if it's DHL forget it, they used Parcel Force when it arrived in the UK who bumped the charges, mine came through https://www.usps.com/ which is different to UPS.

CARPERFECT16/11/2018 07:47:40
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470 forum posts
6 photos

John Roberts 9. If you tell us all which Tx you are looking at ? we can all look for you to see whats the best price. But we do not want members telling you to buy X instead, You buy what you want, Its nothing to do with anyone but you

John Roberts 916/11/2018 14:57:46
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185 forum posts
167 photos

I will admit to being deliberately coy about the Tx I had in mind largely because I didn't want to kick start another re-run of the old argument about Spektrum vs Futaba vs Frsky et al. It has been done to death and I reckon most people are a bit tired of reading it.

Anyway, I am looking to replace my first generation Spektrum DX8 with a Spektrum DX9 Black Edition. All the UK retailers I looked at are selling at 359 quid.

In times gone by Spektrum occasionally released 'special editions' that included extras such as a free Rx or an aluminium carry case and I was hoping that one of these offers might come along for Christmas but no signs of that right now. In fact it seems as though Spektrum (Horizon Hobby) has stopped these specials completely as part of their overall UK marketing strategy

Stearman6516/11/2018 15:23:08
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769 forum posts
893 photos

For 1 channel less have you checked **LINK**

I handled one a couple of weeks ago & almost bought it. It was impressive.

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