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The Year Ahead/consumer

How Companies Get You to Pay More for the Same Product

It’s not just the airlines; consumers are paying up for everything from sneakers to pickup trucks.
American Airlines started premium economy in 2016.

American Airlines started premium economy in 2016.

Photographer: Colin Underfill/Alamy

Companies go to great lengths to get consumers to spend more on goods.

After growing into multibillion-dollar businesses by expanding their range of products and the number of locations where they’re sold, European luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Burberry Group Plc are racing to put scarcity back in the equation. Streetwear’s “drops” are the inspiration—the special releases that have Generation Z-ers camping in line for skateboarding brand Supreme or spending $200-plus on Kanye West “Yeezy” Adidas sneakers.