The Reason So Many Prices End in .99


With chip readers, auto-reload apps, and one-click online purchasing, it's only too easy to buy something without fully registering how much it costs. That said, even if you're not counting out nickels and dimes for the cashier these days, you've probably still noticed how often prices end in .99.


Maybe you assumed it had something to do with tax laws, or else it was a leftover practice from decades ago, when things cost less and pennies mattered more. In fact, it's actually a clever psychological tool that tricks your brain into thinking the price of an item is lower.


“Because we read from left to right, we pay less attention to the end of the number versus the beginning,” consumer analyst Julie Ramhold told Reader's Digest. So, for example, your mind will interpret $9.99 as $9, though it's obviously much closer to $10.

DealNews.com的消費者分析師Julie Ramhold在接受《讀者文摘》采訪時說:“因為我們習慣從左往右閱讀,所以我們對數字結尾的關注要少于數字開頭。”例如,你會把9.99美元理解為9美元,盡管它顯然更接近10美元。

Just one dollar's difference might not seem like enough to drastically affect your decision on whether to buy something, but it can push an item into a lower price range—and that's enough to make your mind think it costs significantly less. To your subconscious brain, a one-digit price like $9 seems a lot cheaper than a two-digit price like $10.


Though ending prices in 9 might be the norm, there is a fair amount of variation when it comes to retailers' pricing tactics. Live Science reports that because we often perceive a price ending in 9 as a cheap deal, some stores—like J.Crew and Ralph Lauren—save the nines for their sale items, and use numbers ending in 0 for their full-priced items, giving the impression that those items are high-quality. Thrift stores, on the other hand, often use whole numbers for all their products.

雖然以9結尾的價格可能是一種常態,但在零售商的定價策略上存在相當大的差異。Live Science報道說,因為我們經常認為以9結尾的價格是便宜貨,一些商店如J.Crew和Ralph Lauren常把以9結尾的價格留作特價商品,全價商品的價格以0結尾,給人以高質量的印象。另外,二手商店的所有商品的價格通常都是整數。