Relative Vs. Absolute Comparison of Prices

Keith Coulter, Clark University, USA
Pilsik Choi, Clark University, USA
In the context of two experiments, the authors examine the manner in which high and low prices are compared. They find that a comparison of sale price to regular price may be more likely to involve a relative (percent) assessment, whereas a comparison of sale price to a competitor’ price may be more likely to involve an absolute difference assessment. The authors find that horizontal (i.e., side-by-side) placement of prices may result in more holistic processing, and a greater tendency to estimate discounts in relative terms. Conversely, vertical (i.e., columnar) placement facilitates digit-by-digit comparison, and therefore may result in more specific calculation procedures (i.e., a greater tendency to compute absolute numerical difference).
[ to cite ]:
Keith Coulter and Pilsik Choi (2010) ,"Relative Vs. Absolute Comparison of Prices", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 725-726 .