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Price: Definition in Market Context

We all know prices – high, low, and just the right amount. But what does the price signal and how does it impact my business? PricingHUB walks you through the role of price, the factors influencing price and the various pricing tactics employed in today’s market.

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Definition of Price

In its most elementary sense, price is the amount of money required to purchase a good or service. However, its function is not solely monetary; it assesses the consumers’ perceived value of a product and how much consumers are willing to pay.Price cannot be reduced to mere figures on a label; it offers an insightful reading into the quality, value and overall marketplace conditions.

Role of Price in the Market

Price signals excess or shortage of a commodity that determines how buyers and sellers react. This fundamental aspect of economics guides supply and demand, highlights value and steers both suppliers and consumers in their decision-making process.

Value Indicator

Price is an indicator or value for both consumers and producers. A high price implies an increased level of quality and signals desirability to consumers. The more a consumer values a product, the increased chance of them accepting a higher price. For producers, a highly-priced commodity is indicative of its perceived value and its standing in the market.

Resource Allocation

Price provides a strong signal to producers about where they should allocate and dedicate their resources. Through demand and supply analysis, producers will allocate more resources to the production of goods and services that have a high perceived value, thus incentivizing businesses to increase production to meet the needs of the market. Higher prices translate to greater future benefits and profitability.

Decision Making

Price often indicates the global state of the market. The implications of geopolitical and economic risks allow businesses to make informed and strategic decisions surrounding the allocation of resources, policies and investment opportunities. It allows businesses to forecast demand and determine possible barriers to entry in an emerging market.

Factors Influencing Price

Pricing decisions require a deep understanding of the intricacies of the market. To compete successfully, a business must consider the following four major factors that influence price: Cost of Production, Supply and Demand, Market Structure and External Factors.

Cost of Production

The cost of production is a major price determinant. Labor, raw materials and overhead costs are associated with producing a product or service. The cost of production is an indication of how much should be charged to cover incurred costs and maintain profitability.

Supply and Demand

The interplay between supply and demand underlines every market transaction and pricing decision. This fundamental economic theory indicates that prices soar when demand exceeds supply for a good or service. When supply outstrips demand, prices fall.

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Market Structure

The market structure refers to the classification and differentiation of diverse industries. The nature of the market structure dictates the pricing strategy adopted. Economic market strategies can be divided into four categories: Perfect Competition, Monopoly, Oligopoly and Monopolistic Competition. Each structure has a distinctive modus operandi, regarding effectiveness and operation.

    • Perfect Competition: In this market structure, commodities are homogenous which facilitates brand switching. A business does not have control over the price set and must yield to the popular marketplace price. 
    • Monopoly: As the name suggests, this structure indicates a firm’s power to have significant control over its pricing strategy. The unique position as the sole provider of a commodity allows the monopolist to apply a maximum price to boost profits. 
    • Oligopoly: The market share for specific goods or services is divided between a small, select number of large companies. These behemoths dominate the industry and may find themselves in a state of mutual interdependence
    • Monopolistic Competition: This structure is an amalgamation of Monopoly and Perfect Competition. The players in this market offer slightly differentiated products that serve the same purpose. In this structure, a business has more control over its pricing strategy but determining the optimal balance between price and product differentiation is necessary. 

Types of Prices

There are a myriad of pricing methods that are categorized under Cost-oriented pricing and Market-oriented pricing such as list price, discount price, auction price and market price.

List Price

Also known as recommended retail price (RRP) and manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), the list price refers to the sum that the manufacturer recommends based on many factors.This price is a springboard for negotiations and serves as a reference point for sales.

Discount Price

Discount prices are both strategic and short-term. A discount on the original price of the commodity (e.g. 50% off) engenders a sense of urgency, flushes old stock and drives sales. While it appeals to bargain hunters, this tactic could damage brand loyalty if used long-term.

Auction Price

Auction pricing is a dynamic pricing model that revolves around the theory of supply and demand. Competitive and real-time bids are offered based on the immediate value attributed to an item.

Market Price

The market price is the prevailing price for a good or service. This amount is subject to reevaluations as it is based on the current market conditions and changes due to the forces of supply and demand, competitors’ tactics and other external factors.

Pricing Strategies

An effective strategy helps your business set the ideal price to maximise profits. The pricing strategy that you adopt will be determined by your current stage, customer price sensitivity, competitors and internal and external costs.

Cost-Plus Pricing

In Cost-Plus Pricing (also known as mark-up pricing), a mark-up percentage is added to the total cost required to produce one unit of product. This widely-used and simplistic strategy ensures that all expenses are covered. However, external forces such as competitors are not factored into this strategy. PricingHUB considers all market aspects before determining the optimal price. If you’re looking for a strategy that will be a boon to your business, Cost-Plus pricing should not be your first port of call.

Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing strategies empower companies to be agile and reactive in the wake of an ever-changing market. A dynamic pricing strategy allows organizations to adjust prices in real time in accordance with market conditions and factors such as competitors and seasonality. PricingHUB’s aim is to help you adapt to these changes with our dynamic pricing strategies by enabling rapid responses and maximizing ROI.

Penetration Pricing

So-called due to the purposeful manner in which it penetrates a market. By initially offering a lower price, a business is generating widespread awareness of its service or product. This pricing strategy allows a firm to make a presence among established market participants and secure market share rapidly. Once a firm has achieved its goal of differentiating and drawing customers, it will switch strategy and focus on more non-price competition attempts.

Skimming Pricing

Skimming pricing is typically used when a new product erupts on the market. The highest initial price will be set to gather as much revenue as possible. Once the demand for the set skim price has been satisfied, the prices will be lowered to attract and capture a broader segment of the market.


Known as one of the most conventional methods of pricing, rule-based uses static pricing rules by applying constraints. These “If-Then” statements are so-called, as a specific action will trigger a certain pricing reaction. 


Value-based pricing does not rely on historical pricing. Instead, this strategy utilizes its perceived value to determine what price point will be acceptable to customers. This is a customer-focused methodology meaning that the final price of a product or service is chosen based on its’ potential benefit or gain.


A Customer-centric strategy is the core of PricingHUB’s mission. By aligning customer needs with contextual data and continuous experimentation, we help businesses find their customer’s price sensitivity. Finding a price that is attractive to your clients while boosting margins plays a key role in customer-centric strategies.

Importance of Price

Price signals essential information on a buyer and supplier level, guiding decisions that alter and shape market dynamics.

Market Efficiency

Price signals offer a key insight into market efficiency. Efficient prices are a mirror of the market conditions and reflect the underlying supply and demand. This allows market players to make informed decisions and allocate sources to where they will be valued most.

Economic Signals

In market economies, prices serve as indicators that guide economic activities. They provide critical information to consumers and producers regarding optimal resource utilization, shaping behavioral and economic choices.

Consumer Behavior

Consumer behavior is heavily influenced by price. It influences perceived value and increased prices may lead to a fall in demand, while decreased prices may bring about a surge. In addition, promotional strategies may cause interest to pique, increasing consumer awareness.


To effectively navigate and compete in today’s volatile landscape, it is essential to understand pricing dynamics within the market context. Factors such as supply and demand, market structure and cost of production should be assessed. Businesses must adopt a pricing strategy that aligns with their objectives while consumers should be cognizant of how price influences their purchasing decisions.

Related Terms


Cost is the total amount incurred by a business to produce a product/service.


Perceived value is measured by the customer’s perception of a product or service’s desirability. Their perception of the benefits they will derive from its use will also impact how much they are willing to pay.

Profit Margin

Profit margin is a measurement of profitability. The total costs involved in producing the service/goods are deducted to determine a business’s earnings. It is expressed as a percentage and is a common determinant of general business health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is price determined in a competitive market?

In a competitive market, one singular entity does not have control. There are many buyers and sellers present. Many factors influence price yet the convergence of supply and demand is the primary driver. Businesses should carefully evaluate price sensitivity to attract and retain customers while simultaneously covering production costs and achieving profit margins. PricingHUB helps companies determine price sensitivity, allowing them to remain competitive and customer-centric.

What is the difference between cost and price?

Cost refers to the total amount expended in making a product or service sold by a business. Price is what the customer is willing to pay for this service, which can fluctuate according to value perception and external factors.

Why do prices fluctuate?

Various drivers result in price fluctuation such as supply and demand, cost of raw materials, political and global events and consumer behavior.

Learn more about PricingHUB

Discover all our pricing glossary articles

Distribution channels
Cross selling
Customer centric
Price elasticity
Sales index
Pricing AI

Calculating a margin
Back margin
Front margin
Gross margin
Sales margin
Net margin

Price bundling
Selling price
Psychological price
Price image

Relative price
Safety stock
Brand rate
Up selling
Yield management
Dynamic pricing

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