If You Think 9-Ending Prices are Low, Think Again
48 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 8, 2019
9-ending prices are a dominant feature of many retail settings, which according to the existing literature, is because consumers perceive them as being relatively low. Are 9-ending prices really lower than comparable non 9-ending prices? Surprisingly, the empirical evidence on this question is scarce. We use 8 years of weekly scanner price data with over 98 million price observations to document four findings. First, at the category level, 9-ending prices are usually higher, on average, than non 9-ending prices. Second, at the product level, in most cases, 9-ending prices are, on average, higher than prices with other endings. Third, sale prices are more likely to be non-9 ending than the corresponding regular prices. Fourth, among sale prices, 9-ending prices are often lower, on average, than comparable non 9-ending prices. The first three findings imply that although consumers may associate 9-ending prices with low prices, the data indicates otherwise. The fourth finding offers a possible explanation for this misperception. Retailers may be using 9-ending prices to draw consumers’ attention to particularly large price cuts during sales, which perhaps conditions the shoppers to associate 9-ending prices with low prices.
Keywords: Behavioral Pricing, Psychological Prices, Price Perception, Image Effect, 9-Ending Prices, Price Points, Regular Prices, Sale Prices
JEL Classification: M30, M31, L11, L16, L81, D12, D22, D40, D90, D91, E31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation