By far, the most popular table tennis rubber series is Butterfly’s Tenergy. I’ve been using it since 2009 and have had no complaints with it, except one… the price!
And my qualm with Butterfly isn’t even that it’s expensive. Plenty of things in life are expensive and if you want the best, usually you have to pay a premium. My issue is that the price is increasing year-on-year, at quite an alarming rate, and showing no signs of stopping.
If we go back to October 2008, Tenergy 05 was available for £33.50. The average price of rubbers were somewhere between £25-£30 a sheet, making it only slightly more expensive than the rest (15-25%). Move forward to today and Tenergy is £49.99. The average price of rubbers today is about £30-£35, making the Tenergy series now considerably more expensive (45-45%)!
I decided to have a quick look at UK inflation to work out how much the price of rubbers should have increased during the last four years. I was informed that “£33.50 in 2008 is equivalent to £39.10 in 2013”. That means that Butterfly have added an awful lot to their bottom line, as I doubt it’s costing them any more to make Tenergy now than it did four years ago. They have increased their price roughly 50% in just four short years.
And it’s not like all table tennis rubbers have increased in price dramatically. The general price increase from £25-£30 a sheet in 2008 to £30-£35 a sheet today is in line with inflation. It’s just Butterfly, and in particular their in demand Tenergy series, that are hiking up prices year-on-year.
Also, the price appears to be fixed between retailers. In the UK, at least, the price of a sheet of Tenergy 05 is £49.99 regardless of where you get it from. In contrast, rubbers from other leading brands have slight variations in price among the top retailers. Perhaps only a couple of quid but still enough to reassure me that the retailers have some freedom over the price they decide to charge.
So, what does the future hold for the Tenergy series? Well if things keep going the way they have been Butterfly are increasing their prices by about 9% a year. That would mean in a year’s time a sheet Tenergy will cost you £54.50 and by 2015, just shy of £60!
The question is, “How much are we prepared to pay for our beloved Tenergy?” Will we pay £60 a sheet or are we going to put our foot down? I’m not sure. At the moment, my current sheets of Tenergy are on their way out but I’m putting off replacing them.
Somebody save us and create a great alternative!
Please post comments and discussion below…