Staff Posts

How Big Tech’s Big Price Hikes Surpass Inflation

A quick assessment of some of Big Tech’s price hikes over the past few years on their major products reveals a pattern of rising prices for consumers above the rate of inflation.

Zach Praiss
Zach Praiss,
Mar 22, 2024

We’ve all been there – on the receiving end of an email from Amazon, Apple, or Netflix announcing higher prices — and frankly, our reactions are becoming the same because of how often they happen. We autopilot to delete the email, take a deep sigh, bite the bullet, and eat the price hike. 

Turns out, so many of us are dependent on Big Tech in our professional and personal lives. Where would we be without our Amazon Prime, iPhones, and Netflix? And that dependency comes at a cost to us. If we look at just a few of the prices of Big Tech’s most popular services, we begin to see a startling trendline — steadily rising prices for some of our favorite services from Amazon, Apple, and Netflix.

Amazingly, Big Tech companies can update the prices for these popular subscription services whenever they want with just a quick notice to consumers like us. Despite no significant improvements to these popular services over the past years, it’s clear these monthly subscription prices are steadily rising — and further analysis reveals how these prices are outpacing the rate of inflation. 

Take a look at the price of these popular monthly subscription services from Amazon, Apple, and Netflix mapped against the adjusted initial price as computed by U.S. consumer price index (CPI) data:

While these differences over time may look small, keep in mind that they represent only the monthly subscription prices. Apple TV’s monthly subscription price above that of the adjusted price based on CPI inflation rate hits a hefty $4.02 more than the inflation projection, which equates to $48.24 a year in even greater profits for the Big Tech giant. Multiply that by 25 million subscribers in the U.S. for Apple TV and you get $1.2 billion. One can see how these Big Tech companies quickly rake in massive profits — charging consumers for rising subscription prices far above the rate of inflation.

What’s really frustrating about Big Tech’s rising prices? Consumers have little to no power, understanding, transparency, or accountability when it comes to Big Tech leveraging their marketplace dominance to steamroll us with higher monthly subscription fees from everything from our online shopping to streaming entertainment to cloud storage.

While this is not a comprehensive analysis of every Big Tech service or product out there, it is a preliminary assessment of the changing prices of some of Big Tech’s most popular subscription services: Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and Netflix Standard. One could say it’s a cherry-picked list, but I don’t think that’s the case, frankly, for services like Amazon Prime, which is regularly paid for by more people today in the U.S. than those who voted in the 2020 presidential election.

These rising monthly subscription prices above the rate of inflation from Big Tech should raise serious questions and concerns about these companies’ growing monopoly power and corporate greed. At a time when Big Tech companies are already posting record earnings (notably while they’ve been laying off significant amounts of their staff), why are we then as consumers paying more than the rate of inflation for their services? 

When we all live in Big Tech’s world, consumers and workers pay the price.

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