It's simple supply and demand: The more unique something is, the more it's worth. And that's the basic premise behind limited editions.
Manufacturers limit supply on everything from electronics, to watches, to socks, all to drive up prices. Branding expert Ali Craig says the frenzy's all in our brain stem. "Limited editions have such a primal appeal, because we all want that secret little in, and that's exactly what limited editions feed for us. It's perceived to be better value, even if it isn't really.
And there’s the rub – there have been some crazy limited edition FAILS.
The "collectors' edition" of Call of Duty World at War came with a branded flask – just like the ones you'd use if the World was really at War! – except that the flasks were… sealed shut. Nuts.
But Ali Craig reminds us that not every limited edition is a bust. "Target with Lilly Pulitzer, they sold out within hours. And then H&M recently had Balmain, the designer, do a limited edition set, and you could see those designer pieces selling on eBay for sometimes three, four, and five times higher than the original price was." In some cases, more than the non-H&M, original designer pieces. Wow.
Ali previews three of this holiday season’s limited edition offerings, in three categories.
For the makeup-lover in your life, Ali says to check out the limited editions at Urban Decay. “For the holiday season they teamed up with Sephora and Gwen Stephani, because you're gonna want to not just look like Gwen, but have the newest and latest Urban Decay palate.”
Caffeine addicts, rejoice! Ali says Starbucks has your limited edition: "They have a Swarovski crystal gift card that you can get." For the low, low price of... $200? Yikes. "It comes loaded with 50 on it, and it's available online and in limited brick-and-mortar locations." These are going FAST. At last check, the online was sold out (no word if they’re going to re-stock), so look for the limited edition gift card in selected locations… or find them on the secondary market (but expect to pay a premium).
So will any of these limited editions be worth the added expense? That depends on one thing: How much your brain stem wants it.