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I did some quick calculations the other day and to my surprise, realised that I have spent over $15,000 buying your awesome metal detectors. I don’t have a problem with that because I hunt the beach and water during the summer and hit the gold fields during the winter. My issue is with the current line up of gold detectors, specifically the pulse induction units which range in price from about $6000 to $10000 dollars. I know you plough a good deal of money into R&D but I feel a lot of your loyal purchasers are being neglected. I remember the days when the SD2100v1 and SD2200v2 detectors were available at a reasonable price as well as the reintroduction of the GPX4500 ( but I suspect as a reaction to perceived competition). These units were available alongside your official top of the line detectors so that Mr Average could afford a high performance detector. What has happened to your ability to still offer affordable pulse machines and not have to remortgage the family home?

Mr Minelab......or is it Mr Codan.......your business model is sure keeping your stockholders happy but it is a far cry from how things used to be. Current new PI units are out of the reach of many users who have supported your company for over 25 years. 
I could go out tomorrow and buy a new GPX6000 but the reason that I won’t is twofold......my old 2100 and 3500 running both small and large monos perform very well for me AND I don’t want to further encourage Minelabs perception that “if we build it (and sell it for a premium price) they will come”.

I fully applaud the GPX6000 platform based upon initial feedback from owners but COME ON..........stop making it an exclusive club !

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The GPX6000 sounds like a winning formula, performance matched to light weight and good balance.. Tony I'm keen for people to buy a load of them, in a year or two I will be looking at the used market. Sometimes it pays to take a step back and let the dust settle. Time is on our side, more information, accessories etc I will make a better educated purchase when the time is right. All the best.

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Agree completely.....it’s something I might look at next year, but for now I’m happy with my old school detectors.....they may look retro but still perform very well.

Regards,

Tony

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  • 1 month later...

This letter should have been:

Dear Competition, 

Please get your act together and make a decent prospecting PI detector, Minelab currently has total control of the market charging extremely high prices for their equipment as they have absolutely no competition so it's money for the taking if you can come out with a reasonable performance, good quality, light weight, modern automatic ground balancing PI detector with good sensitivity to small gold and affordable to the weekend warrior market along with EASE OF USE it will sell like crazy to those not willing to pay Minelab's pricing but still want to have a bit of fun prospecting.  The weekend warrior market is likely a huge untapped market largely due to insane pricing limiting the buyer pool to only those more serious about it.

You don't have to beat them in performance, just make something that is worth using and built to last, support for GPX coils would help it sell.

Thank you for listening Fisher, Nokta and even Garrett, not pointing out any names of course.

Simon

Even if you didn't want to buy the competitions detector it would drive down some of Minelab's pricing when they see it eating into their market.

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Thanks for that note, Steve. I could not agree more. The RD cost behind every new technology it's tremendous. I work in the pharmaceutical industry. People often ask why many drugs are so expensive. Well, it costs about two to three billion dollars to develop one single medication. If we don't make this money back and some profit, we will just not invent better medicines that help people. It is that simple. It is a sad reality that I don't like neither, but this is just the reality take it or not.

GC

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I am sorry for this reality check.  I'm fully aware that I won't get any likes for my post 😉 But this is just how our world operates. If you like to change it, count me in.

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There are two pricing models they could take. 

Cheaper with more sales hoping to recoup the money that way which I'm sure they would.  They took this path with the Equinox.  People in the coin and relics market were already accustomed to cheaper detectors with the CTX being the top dog in the market for price and possibly performance at the time prior to the Equinox but it didn't have a huge market share compared to the lower priced units which were the bigger sellers.  Before the Equinox came along what was the most popular coin and relic type detector? For me it is hard to know, it seemed more of a spread around various brands.  The Equinox came in giving people a large step up in features and performance at a similar price to the existing detectors and just basically took the floor out from under the other detectors market, almost everyone quickly jumped onboard and bought one.  Although their profit margin would be a lot smaller on the Equinox they've more than likely made up for that on the massive number of sales of it and then we look at accessories, if you want to buy both of the other coils for it they're making a big profit there.  Check out the price of a WM08 or headphones for those that bought a 600 and want them, mental.

I went to buy a v10 coil for my Vanquish 540 to complete the set.   I looked at the price of the coil and thought OK, a bit pricey considering the price of the detector.  Then I looked at the Vanquish 340 which includes the v10 coil and for just over $100 more I can get the V10 coil and another detector.  I think this is the path I'm going to take to get the coil.  I've never bought a detector just to get a coil before but it makes sense to do so.

Now, the Gold detector market has been different, people are used to very high prices and for those that are fortunate enough to be in a location with gold that can make these prices viable, it's really no big deal and that's their target market, people that would fall into being professionals really.  I'm a hobbyist and my finds in my area limit me to being so, I'm not their target market.   They set the price by the bulk of the buyers of the detector and what they will pay, not by people like me.  I've heard people say If I buy a 6000 I can pay it off in a week or two in gold finds, it'd take me a year or more, I'd have to go out much more often than I do now too. 

Minelab are selling more 6000's than they can produce already, waiting lists all over the place.  A bulk of the detectors seem to have gone to fill the market in Africa and I guess rightly so, the bulk of the buyers are there.  Australia they just had to give a bunch of detectors to for their reputation to stay intact supporting local plus the Australian's are great for marketing purposes flooding Social media with photos and video of the detector in action, the African's don't do this, they're too busy using their detector to make a living.

The smaller markets just have to wait to get one and they knew there would be less sales in these markets, and with sky high shipping costs from Covid and even chip shortages and production constraints again related to Covid lock downs and social distancing at the production facilities the high price low sales volume method was really their only realistic choice at the moment, they would have no way possible of keeping up with the orders if they sold the GPX 6000 at $3000 and they have no reason to with no competition.

I think it's how it has to be, so my hopes are on one of the other manufacturers throwing caution to the wind and coming out with the lower cost PI option, Garrett are already there they just need to do a redesign of the housing and set a cheaper price point and they can make the lower cost PI for those that want a cheaper unit, they also have the TDI up their sleeve they could redevelop into something a bit better.  First Texas have the Impulse Gold if they can ever get it to market, the AQ has left me a bit troubled there.  And Nokta have said they were doing a PI.... maybe they'll do it.  QED is far too limited by various things we don't need to get into here to really make an impact at all except to a very small user base so can't really be included as an option for worldwide distribution.  I think any manufacturer that can fill this void of a low cost good performance lightweight modern PI will do very well, they may create a hobbyist market that didn't even exist due to price constraints.   If someone else doesn't do it Minelab might just do it soon to make sure the others have no hope.  A modified simplified modern housing built in battery GPX 4500 and a lower price point and bang that opportunity is gone.

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I still want a proper ATX as a well behaved detector. Which I would use to hunt coins in parks, despite what people think about that. I can do it because i have, many times. The ATX circuit will easily handle hot rocks that a GPZ 7000 or GPX 6000 bang on all day. I'd get one just for that!! I did actually, but I finally just gave up on heavy machines. I totally agree with your last paragraph Simon. Cutting edge tech has only been part of the problem. The other was losing track of what the customer base actually wants. In my case it came to seem like willful ignorance.

Minelab has left plenty of opening still, but they are tightening up the product line rapidly, getting extremely aggressive on prices where they have competition, and going for the moon where they do not. Once upon a time the $1500 - $2500 range was nose bleed high, and so in one way Minelab has given cover for companies to make solidly profitable product in that price range, without it seeming all that expensive now. It's a rather simple balancing act really between the proper physical design combined with the actual performance. I will give up a small edge in performance if it means I get the physical package I want. There are efficiencies to be had in the physical design that help make the offset. Make it an attractive price and we have a deal.

Anyway, we are not at end game yet. In fact, I see avenues blossoming with new tech introductions. Microprocessing enables things we never thought possible with analog.

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Some great posts here. My main issue is the “entry level price point” for a Minelab PI detector which here in Australia is either $6000, $8000 or $10,000.

Minelab have chosen not to have a simple no frills PI model (for example, priced at $4000) because it will likely eat into the higher priced models. I don’t think it will because some people will simply never step up into the higher priced detectors. We could have a GP3500v2……..priced at $3500. Tooling, R&D has long been paid for. I’m guessing Minelab will only do this if the competition brings something to the table. I’m also guessing two things;

1. The pricier machines won’t take a hit on the sales sheets because your regulars will generally migrate to the latest.

2. Minelab revenues increase by tapping into new buyers keen to try the hobby without selling a kidney.

I recall a conversation I had with my local Minelab dealer about the time the SD2100v2 and SD2200v2 were being released……he sold them as fast as he could order them and then they were gone for good. Most sales were to newcomers to the hobby !

 

 

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