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Does “odd-even” pricing even work?

Ever heard of “odd-even” pricing?

The idea goes that people associate odd numbers with bargains and even numbers with quality.

We’ve seen this principle repeated ad nauseam, though few articles about the theory link any real evidence.

So, we did our best Poirot and decided to investigate.

As it turns out, although the odd-even pricing theory has become ubiquitous, there aren’t many relevant studies out there.

And the studies that do exist—like this one, this one, and this one—tell us fairly basic information:

  • People are more likely to buy a $1.99 product than a $2 product.
  • People are more likely to remember price increases with even numbers.
  • People are highly individual with price preferences: some will almost always prefer odd numbers while some will almost always prefer even numbers.

Also, many of the studies that form today’s marketing knowledge were conducted decades ago, long before the era of mainstream e-commerce.

So, that theory you’ve been told about like it’s hard science?

There’s not much recent, robust evidence to back it up.

Truth is, pricing is complicated. And while it’s easy to distill eye-catching tactics into short, Twitter thread-able insights, things aren’t always that simple.


Pricing tends to be product, brand, and individual-dependent.

Want your own answer to the odd-even pricing tactic? Try A/B testing odd and even prices for your products, and pick the one that pulls a higher conversion rate.

Any other common marketing theories you want us to dig into? Reply to this email and let us know what we should investigate.

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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