We all know that inflation is a thing right now. Prices are rising. One way businesses can choose to respond to this is through something called “shrinkflation”, which the Financial Times writes about here. The idea behind shrinkflation is that, instead of just raising end prices to absorb higher costs, you instead shrink or reduce your product or service offering. Of course, you could also do a combination of both things: increase your price and shrink your offering.
This shrinking can take many forms. A few less chips in your bag. A slightly smaller chocolate bar. Smaller food portions at the restaurant. Or maybe opt-in room service for your hotel room. It can also take the form of less space. Average apartment sizes in most big cities have trended downward over the years for this exact same reason. Developers are working to maintain some kind affordability in the face of rising costs.
I think a lot of people like to scoff at these sorts of practices. Why can’t we just build bigger family-sized suites? But the reality is that it is being driven by real market constraints. Without something giving, like suite sizes, urban housing would be multiples less affordable compared to current levels. The developers I know don’t have any sort of deep-rooted philosophical aversion to selling 5,000 square foot estates in the sky. The problem is simply that most buyers and renters won’t like the sticker price.