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Which price is better on eBay £100 or £99.99?

By Chris Dawson September 18, 2015 - 6:56 am

Andrew Whitten from the US National Bureau of Economic Research has been looking at eBay offers and counter offers and concluded two things. It’s possible to get your items sold faster but it will be at a lower price.

“Items listed at multiples of $100 ultimately sold for 5 to 8% less than items with non-rounded prices, but received offers faster and were more likely to sell”.

10.5 million listed items were analysed, out of which 2.8 million received offers and 2.1 million ultimately sold. They key finding is that items listed at multiples of $100 receive lower offers on average than items listed at nearby prices, ultimately selling for 5 to 8% less. Items listed in round numbers received offers 6 to 11 days
sooner and are 3 to 5% more likely to sell than items listed at “precise” numbers such as $99.99.

To verify the findings goods listed in round numbers on eBay UK which were available for sale in the US were checked. Once the price was translated in to dollars they were no longer round numbers and did achieve higher prices. Andrew says “This evidence indicates the round numbers themselves have a significant effect on bargaining outcomes“.

It would appear that by listing at a round number the seller is indicating that they’re in a hurry to sell, whereas a seller listing at a precise number indicates that they are willing to wait to get a good deal.

Common practice has been to list costs at precise numbers such as £99.99 as it’s believed to appear less than £100 and so the buyer is more likely to purchase. That’s why you’ll invariably find in shops prices ending in 99p. However on eBay it may well be that listing with round numbers could increase your sell through rates albeit at lower margins.

Of course if you don’t enable Best Offer on your listings the point is moot!

  • Leigh
    2 years ago

    Surely only the most gullible buyer would see the difference of 1p making a price appear more attractive. It is and always has been a ridiculous ploy.

    • Jon
      2 years ago

      Sometimes eBay give vouchers to customers who have had a bad shopping experience or to inject some life into a dormant account. Most vouchers need to be used on one purchase. If an item on eBay is 9.99 you can’t use a £10 minimum purchase voucher on it. I currently have a £25 voucher. It says 25.00 off your purchase of £25.00 or more. This means I can not use it on a £24.99 item. Another reason to sell at rounded prices.

    • Rai
      2 years ago

      Even recognizing the obvious psychology behind it, it still works. A lot of tried & tested retailing techniques tend to abuse flaws in our mental routines that make things stick in our mind, distract us from the actual overpriced item, or in the case of this cause us to subconsciously think we are spending less than we actually are – this is particularly the case when buying multiple items 1 or multiple or which are at uneven prices.

    • Tony C
      2 years ago

      I’ve always thought that too.

      Indeed, I have heard it said that one reason for pricing things with a £*.99 ending rather than a rounded pound is from bricks-and-mortar cash register ‘lore’, and not so much because it makes the price look lower.

      If something is, say, £4.99, it makes the shop’s till operator open the tray to give the buyer their 1p change, whereas if the item was £5.00 then an unscrupulous operator could conceivably put the fiver in their pocket instead of the till, if they didn’t need to ‘register’ the purchase in order to give change.

  • james
    2 years ago

    “if you want to sell your £99.99 item, for less money faster, advertise it for £100, then wait until someone offers you £80” is the advice here?

    surely it’ll sell faster at £80 if you advertise it for £80?

    • Mark_H
      2 years ago

      Then the same person would offer you £60

  • Gerry007
    2 years ago

    .
    19s-11d (19/11d) is not a £1.00, as is 99p now there is no 005p(1/2p).

    • 2 years ago

      Being 65 years old I can well remember £ s d coinage in use. I used to look at my money in those days and thrre were still coins in circulation with Queen Victoria’s Head on them. Coins that had been in circulation up to 100 years. The pennies and halfpennies might have been worn almost smooth and the coins generally black with use but they were a symbol of the history of this country.

      So what is the situation today. A plastic currency where since Decimilisation several coins have been withdrawn totally such as the 1/2 pence or to be replaced by a much smaller version such as the 5p and 10p.

      I know that few would agree with me but may I suggest that we go back to the good old £ s d where there were 12 pennies to a shilling and 240 pennies to the £pound. Those were the days.

    • Tinker
      2 years ago

      Yeah lets go back to the good old days, polio ,iturbuculosis ,outside toilets , no cental heating, bombs and doodlebugs,

    • 2 years ago

      Years ago somebody told me that if you have nothing to say you should keep your mouth shut. As usual Tinker has nothing to say and he should perhaps take notice of what I was told all those years ago.

      Back when we had £ s d currency what did we have? Well gleaming Magnificent Steam Locomotives hauling trains over all of the pre-Beeching Railway Network. We had fields and woodlands across the country whilst of course today we have square miles of grotty bungalows and even grottier Industrial Estates where often many of the units are empty and derelict..

      Remembering back a few years to World War II we had a community spirit where neighbours knew neighbours and it was just about impossible for somebody to die at home and be left for days, weeks or months before anybody missed them whilst today often the first thing that reminds anybody that they have a neighbour they haven’t seen for months in the smell of decomposing flesh.

      Tinker sounds like one of those very young and stupid people who believe that everything today is good while everything a few years ago was bad.

    • Tinker
      2 years ago

      Poor old codger

    • 2 years ago

      I may be an old Codger but if thats the best comment you can come up with perhaps you should keep your mouth shut. After all just about every time Tinker opens his mouth he proves just how stupid he is.

    • Simon M
      2 years ago

      >> Poor old codger

      Was that necessary? This forum is a resource for business sellers, entrepreneurs, and the like.

      I certainly don’t agree with half of what Chris T says either, but don’t feel the need to resort to immature and petty name calling.

      Disagreements and debates are one thing (which I’ve been part of), but let’s all try to be respectful please.

      S.

    • tinker
      2 years ago

      I was trying trying to show sympathy and understanding, but if Daft old bugger is more respectful so be it

    • tinker
      2 years ago

      or how about cantankerous argumentative old “BUFFER” , [pun intended]

    • Gerry007
      2 years ago

      .
      RE: Yeah lets go back to the good old days, polio ,iturbuculosis ,outside toilets , no cental heating, bombs and doodlebugs,

      Even ChrisT would not want any of that, silly comment…..

    • 2 years ago

      So whats changed!!!

    • Gerry007
      2 years ago

      .
      The trouble is that today’s youngsters cannot even count pass 10 let alpne to 240….

    • GrammarPolice
      2 years ago

      The trouble is that today’s geriatrics cannot even choose when to use “pass” or “past” correctly….

    • 2 years ago

      Agree with comment about counting to 10. After all they have only 10 fingers and toes and anything above that is a major problem. But just think about Multiplication.

      When my Daughter was at School I was horrified to find that she had not been taught the Tables. So I taught her and my Son. The next Parents Evening at the School I was cornered by the Head and told off because in her words ‘We don’t believe in teaching the tables these days’. I always thought of the Tables as being part of the foundations of Mathematics. A bit like trying to build a house without first digging and preparing the foundations. Certainly I would not be happy buying a house without foundations.

    • 2 years ago

      Talking about multiplication etc. I can remember many years ago(about 1970 I had to talk over some problems to do with the Bonus Scheme of my employers with a bloke on the shop floor. He assured me that he could not do mathematics. Yet he was happy to tell me of how his horses had done and rapidly calculated just what his winnings were on the various races.

      I always thought that I was reasonably good at mental arithmetic but he was way quicker than me yet he claimed that he could barely add up. But as he was probably ten to fifteen years older than me I wonder if somebody on the shop floor today in a similar situation would use mental arithmetic or a calculator??

    • 2 years ago

      This might have been an anecdote better saved for your memoirs.

  • dan
    2 years ago

    ive always done the .99p trick,

    and tend to see buyers spliting pounds even further on my items.

    they are mainly under £10-15. some people will offer 7.50 on a tenner item, but lots will counter my offers back into the .25p block of change. eg £10 they offer say £5.00 ill counter £7.50, they will come back with 7.25 or £6.75.

  • Chris
    2 years ago

    Interesting.
    So when you guys use best offer, do you price higher than its currently selling for (Sold listings) then you obviously accept a higher % off.
    Or do you price at what its selling for and only accept close offers?

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