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The Odd Number Effect

 

DisciplinesMarketing > Pricing > The Odd Number Effect

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Price things using odd digits. Generally try to avoid or reduce the use of even digits (though zero is usually ok).

In doing this, beware of other effects, such as price boundaries.

Example

A retailer prices an item at $17 rather than $16, and sells more.

A seller bundles items in threes rather than twos. These sell well.

Discussion

If you ask people about the number they like best, you may well find that they choose seven, three or five. But why? Why do people like odd numbers? When we see even numbers of things, we have a tendency to unconsciously order them neatly into pairs. We know that odd numbers will have one spare, which leaves us feeling a certain tension. This is experienced as increased arousal, which consequently makes odd numbers slightly more interesting.

The odd-number effect is a contrary principle to the price rounding effect, where we tend to end up with even numbers. When rounding is important in a price, you may still be able to include odd digits in the final number.

You can over-do use of odd numbers. For example, an item priced at £15.73 may be adversely affected by the price length effect, where its length and complexity makes it seem like hard work and so be abandoned.

The odd number effect appears in art and photography as well, where it is well known that a group of three is more pleasing to the eye than a group of two, and that generally groups of items look better when there an odd number of things there.

See also

Price Rounding Effect, Price Length Effect, Price Boundaries

 

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