When it was revealed last month that the parts that go into the $1,500 Google Glass only cost $80 -- a markup of almost 1000 percent -- gadget geeks lit up the Internet with a firestorm of outrage. Google was quick to deny the claim, calling it "absolutely wrong," and a later report put the price of parts at $152, but that did little to quell the anger.
That particular discrepancy may only upset techheads who crave the smart eyewear, but there are plenty of other consumer products, especially luxury items like designer handbags and clothes, which cost relatively little to make but skyrocket in price when they get sold in stores.
Take a look at some of the most highly marked-up consumer items below.
Beats headphones can retail for as high as $599.95, but they reportedly cost as little as $14 to manufacture, according to the New York Times. Some critics have argued that you can get much better-sounding headphones at a fraction of the price.
Eyeglasses, made up of relatively cheap materials like plastic and glass, have historically been among the most highly marked-up items, costing $450 or more for high-end designer eyeglass frames. Online retailers such as Coastal, ZenniOptical and Warby Parker have recently attempted to reverse this trend with frames ranging from $95 to as low as $8.
AudioQuest HDMI Cables
With a digital signal coming through an HDMI cable to your television set, there’s hardly any reason for the average consumer to spend more than a few dollars on the utilitarian item. But that doesn’t stop Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) from offering a 39.4-foot HDMI cable from AudioQuest that retails for a whopping price of $2,200.99. Even at a cheaper price point of $200, some researchers found that there was no discernable difference between an expensive HDMI cable and a cheap $12 cable.
One of the electronic world’s cash cows is printer ink. Inkjet printer cartridges may only cost about $.84 to manufacturer, according to the Guardian, yet their markup is substantial. Consumers can expect to pay $13 to $75 per ounce of printer ink, or $9,600 a gallon, according to Consumer Reports.
Luxury Denim Jeans
According to the Wall Street Journal, a pair of True Religion jeans can cost around $50 to produce. But at retail, these luxury jeans can cost as much as $398, nearly an 800 percent markup.
Prices on coveted luxury handbags can vary widely based on material and consumer demand. One thing is for sure: You'll pay a pretty penny to get your hands on some of the most exclusive bags, such as the $1.9 million gold and diamond Hermes Birkin handbag. Most high-end handbags that retail for up to $1000 cost less than $100 to make, say experts.