Known as “charm prices,” prices ending in 9, 99, or 95 make items appear cheaper than they really are. Since people read from left to right, they are more likely to register the first number and make an immediate conclusion as to whether the price is reasonable.
When professor Robert Schindler of the Rutgers Business School studied prices at a women’s clothing store, he found the 1 cent difference between prices ending in .99 and .00 had “a considerable effect on sales,” with prices ending with .99 far outselling those ending with .00.
While this works right down to the last digit on a product as small as an iTunes download, it’s also effective on anything from a pair of jeans to a car or house. Homes selling for $299,000 often sell faster than those costing $300,000. The reason? It’s under, rather than at, the upper limit of those shopping for houses in the $250,000 – $300,000 price range.
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