Why is buying bulk cheaper

What do retail, bulk and OEM mean?

Some hardware and software products are marked as retail, bulk, or OEM versions. You should know the difference if you want to buy hardware or software. This explains what these terms mean.


Retail comes from the English and describes the retail trade, which acts as a reseller of products that he obtains from a manufacturer or wholesaler and sells to the end consumer.
In the PC sector, products are referred to as "retail" if they are intended for sale to end users. Retail products can be recognized by the sturdy cardboard box with a nice outer packaging. Driver CDs, manual, cables and accessories are included with the product. A graphics card is included in the retail scope of delivery, for example, with additional software or computer games.
Software products are referred to as retail if they are real full versions and a manual is supplied in addition to the data carrier.
Due to the packaging and the extras, retail versions are always more expensive than bulk versions.


Bulk comes from English and denotes a product version that is made for the "masses". The bulk version of a product is the actual device or product, with no other software, manual, or extras. Pretty packaging is also missing. The hardware is usually only packed in an antistatic bag, which may also contain a driver CD.
Software products are rarely available as bulk versions. But when it does, the data carrier is usually only in a paper sleeve.
There is no manufacturer support for bulk versions. But they are usually cheaper. In the event of problems with the product, the customer must contact their dealer.

There is often both a retail and a bulk version of a product. The products usually do not differ from each other. It rarely happens that the retail and bulk versions differ in quality. For example, there are graphics cards that have slower memory in the bulk version than in the retail version.
If the end user can do without the extensive accessories of the retail version, then he can save a lot of money.

OEM / system builder

In the PC field, not all products are intended for retail use. Hardware in particular is built into devices and only then sold to the end user. But software, such as the Windows operating system, is usually sold together with a complete PC. This Windows version is an OEM or system builder version.
OEM is the abbreviation for "Original Equipment Manufacturer". This abbreviation is mostly known in connection with software. OEM denotes software that is sold by the manufacturer as a discounted full version in large quantities only to the "Official Equipment Manufacturers". They, in turn, are only allowed to sell the software in connection with new hardware. OEM hardware is usually built into complete PCs.
The OEM version usually lacks the manuals and installation DVDs. Usually there is also no support from the manufacturer. This is often taken over by the provider or dealer.

Special features of the scope of delivery

With retail and full retail versions, you can always assume that they are fully equipped. That means with CDs / DVDs, manuals and accessories.
In the case of bulk, OEM and light retail versions, the product is always in very simple packaging. It is a simple cardboard box, a plastic sleeve or an antistatic bag.

Note when buying

You can save a lot of money buying OEM and bulk versions. But then you have to note that you have to live with a slimmed-down scope of delivery and possibly get a lower quality product.
Particularly with OEM versions, you have to make sure that software and hardware are usually sold together. If no hardware is sold for an OEM software, this is legally difficult and means that you cannot get any support from the manufacturer.

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