From my friends over at HOW comes this NY Times (free registration required) article talking about upscale brands feeling the pinch of the financial “crisis”. And they seem to be utilizing some low-end tactics to keep the customers coming: coupons and steep discounts. Is this a new trend until the financial storm blows over? For designers: how have your clients been reacting? 

My feelings are mixed on this one. Yes, I understand there’s a lot of bad financial crap going on right now and we’ve all had to tighten our belts a bit. However, if you are an upscale brand and you are trying to convince people to pay more for your widget does it really behoove you to hook customers on discounts? 
I think that in the long term, upscale brands who switch gears and try to compete on price will end up hurting themselves and the perceived value of their brand. Sure, you will pick up new customers and keep current ones in the short term. But once those discounts disappear when the economy picks up again, people will feel like they’ve being ripped off. (“If x brand could take 50% then, why are they charging 100% more now?”)  And those “cherry pickers” who come running to the sales most likely will run the other way when the prices start going up again. So the brand has not only lost current customers, they’ve lost “new” customers too. 
However, I do understand the need to actually stay in business. And my mother always taught me buy stuff on sale. So I really can’t complain about saving some money. And maybe the folks getting these good deals will realize how great the products are and want to pay more for them when the prices do go up because of their superior quality. 
So what do you think? I’d love to hear your comments!