The price must have just come down from about $4. Now it is $2
Maybe related to the MicroChip buyout. I'm glad I didn't notice the price go up, I would have been stressed out. I bought 25 with a digikey order before that happened and haven't needed any since.
Anyway, most makers aren't going to compete with spar-dafruit.
I wouldn't recommend trying to compete, rather emulate what they're doing right (documentation, libraries, customer support, branding) but with products they don't sell.
This is what I do now:
I do like the look of a board with no modules, though I don't know why I have that hang-up. However, I'm also a big fan of through hole because it's so much more accessible so the board with modules has a significant advantage. They can order the kit and it probably won't take much over an hour to assemble even for someone with only a little prior experience with a soldering iron! In that way the second seems even more "open" to me. Of course some will be happy to pay you extra for the assembled device too. If you can provide this at a lower cost by using the modules that's great. Even though your shipping cost will be higher than what a Chinese seller would pay, it's not so bad as trying to compete on a single module sale since it's divided among a handful of modules and the extra shipping cost is well worth it to a US buyer anxious to get their new toy soon.