A meta‐analysis on the effects of just‐below versus round prices

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Authors

Marketers' proclivity for just-below prices (e.g., $9.99) is rooted in an expected higher demand than for round prices ($10.00). The literature, however, lacks a comprehensive assessment of when and how price endings matter. Three mechanisms might explain price-ending effects on consumers' purchase decisions: just-below prices (1) improve price perceptions, but (2) impair perceived product quality, and (3) cause consumers to underestimate prices. A preregistered meta-analysis (k = 69 studies, m = 362 effect sizes, N = 40,541) established that just-below (vs. round) prices tend to increase purchase decisions (g = 0.13, CI 95%[0.01, 0.25]), result in an advantageous price image (g = 0.28, CI 95%[0.09, 0.48]), have no effect on perceived product quality (g = 0.00, CI 95%[−0.17, 0.18], p = 0.96), and are more often underestimated (g = 0.67, CI 95%[0.04, 1.30]). Participant, study, price, and product characteristics moderate the magnitude of these effects. Overall, the effect sizes are small and highly heterogenous, p-curve analyses revealed a large proportion of nonsignificant effects, and publication bias corrections suggest smaller and, at times, nonsignificant true effects. We discuss theoretical and applied implications for the pricing literature.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Volume34
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)299-325
Number of pages27
ISSN1057-7408
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 04.2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG LO 2201/2‐1). Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Consumer Psychology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Consumer Psychology.

    Research areas

  • Management studies - just-below prices, meta-analysis, price endings, pricing, round prices

DOI