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Costco's Catastrophe Kits

By: Darrin Duber-Smith


It often pays to address a niche market, which could be defined as a relatively small market that features few if any competitors. If you have a unique enough good or service and the market is large enough to reach and serve profitably, niche marketing pays. As a case in point, for those seeking to survive a major disaster, Costco is now offering a 1-year emergency kit made up of nearly 100 one-gallon cans comprising 6,200 servings of food. The whole package runs $999.99 and includes shipping, and the product will last up to 25 years. Who would buy such a thing?


Image result for survivalists


Well,  the "survivalist" market segment of U.S. consumers might not be a very large one, but a niche it is. The product should do rather well, especially in more remote geographic areas of the country. But what about short term-disasters? A smart marketer might not see the opportunity in this product category in such a "niche" fashion and might have even better ideas for this category. Indeed much smaller kits with shorter shelf lives are already being sold at Wal-Mart as well as Costco, and such products (large and small) would obviously be very useful during natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and other incidents where people could be cut off from supply routes for extended periods of time. Such products have almost universal application, and, with a population becoming increasingly worried about disasters, one would expect that this category could become very large indeed.


Discussion: Would you buy such a kit? Why or why not? Can you think of any other new products that might meet a consumer's need for sustenance during an emergency?