The Gabor Granger method for pricing optimization

June 28, 2023

Gabor Granger pricing analysis is a sequential monadic testing method used to determine your clients’ willingness to pay and the price elasticity of your products or services. It’s such a useful pricing optimization tool that it’s been used consistently since its creation by economists Andre Gabor and Clive Granger in the 1960s.

The Gabor Granger pricing method has 2 main benefits:

  1. It’s simple. Your entire Gabor Granger pricing analysis is based on 1 question – ‘Would you buy this at $X?’ This makes it easy for your survey respondents and your team to understand. 
  2. It delivers business-critical data. You get critical data that you can use to establish the best price fit for your products and services, and your corresponding revenue per purchase.

Finding out your clients’ and prospects’ willingness to pay means that you can switch costs to optimize your pricing strategy for maximum growth. The data from a Gabor Granger analysis also tells you how much any changes in price will affect your sales and revenues. Understanding your products’ and services’ price elasticity is a key component of your overall pricing strategy. 



What is the Gabor Granger pricing method?


The Gabor Granger pricing method is a well-established market research technique used by businesses to gain valuable insights into the price sensitivity of their target market. This method involves conducting surveys with potential customers, presenting them with different price points, and asking them how likely they would be to purchase the product or service at each price level.

By analyzing the responses, companies can determine the demand elasticity of their offering, which helps them understand how changes in price affect consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. The Gabor Granger pricing method is particularly useful for new product launches or when businesses are considering adjusting their pricing strategy. It allows them to identify the optimal price point that maximizes sales and revenue while taking into account customer preferences and market dynamics.



What are the advantages of the Gabor Granger pricing method


The Gabor Granger method provides several benefits and advantages that make it a valuable tool for businesses conducting pricing research.

  • Simplicity and Ease of Implementation: One of the main advantages of the Gabor Granger method is its simplicity and ease of implementation. The method involves presenting potential customers with a series of price points and recording their willingness to purchase at each price. This straightforward approach makes it accessible to businesses with limited resources or time constraints for conducting pricing research.
  • Rapid Feedback and Quick Results: The Gabor Granger method provides rapid feedback on customer price sensitivity and preferences. Since the data collection process is relatively quick and straightforward, businesses can obtain results in a shorter time frame compared to more complex pricing research methods. This speed allows businesses to make timely pricing decisions and respond to changing market conditions promptly.
  • Direct Measurement of Purchase Intent: Unlike some other pricing research techniques that rely on indirect or hypothetical scenarios, the Gabor Granger method directly measures customer purchase intent at different price levels. By asking customers whether they would buy at each price point, businesses can obtain precise insights into customer reactions to pricing changes.
  • Demand Curve Estimation: The Gabor Granger method allows businesses to construct demand curves based on customer responses. These demand curves provide valuable information on price elasticity, indicating how changes in price impact demand. By understanding price elasticity, businesses can determine the optimal price point that maximizes revenue or market share.
  • Applicability to Various Products and Services: The Gabor Granger method is applicable to a wide range of products and services across industries. Whether it’s consumer goods, technology products, or professional services, businesses can utilize this method to assess customer price sensitivity and optimize pricing strategies accordingly.
  • Identifying Price Elasticity Thresholds: The Gabor Granger method helps businesses identify price points at which customer demand changes significantly. This information is crucial for avoiding overpricing or underpricing products. By understanding price elasticity thresholds, businesses can set prices that are aligned with customer preferences and demand patterns.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Due to its simplicity and direct measurement approach, the Gabor Granger method is a cost-effective way to gather pricing insights. It allows businesses to obtain valuable information without the need for extensive resources or specialized expertise.
  • Supports Pricing Strategy Development: The data obtained through the Gabor Granger method can inform pricing strategy development. Businesses can use the demand curve information to make informed decisions about pricing tiers, promotional pricing, and discounts, enabling them to stay competitive in the market.



When should the Gabor Granger method be used?


The Gabor Granger pricing method is a valuable tool that can be employed in various scenarios to help businesses make informed pricing decisions. Here are some situations where utilizing the Gabor Granger pricing method can be particularly beneficial:

  • New Product Launch: When introducing a new product or service to the market, businesses often face uncertainties about the optimal pricing strategy. The Gabor Granger pricing method can be employed to gauge customer response to different price points, enabling companies to identify the most attractive price that maximizes sales and market penetration.
  • Price Adjustment: If a business is considering adjusting the pricing of an existing product or service, the Gabor Granger pricing method can provide crucial insights into how customers will react to the changes. By understanding price elasticity, companies can assess the potential impact of price adjustments on demand and revenue.
  • Competitive Analysis: In competitive markets, understanding customer preferences and price sensitivity is essential for gaining a competitive advantage. The Gabor Granger pricing method allows businesses to compare their pricing strategy with that of their competitors and identify opportunities to differentiate their offerings based on customer perceptions of value.
  • Market Entry Strategy: When entering a new market, businesses must grasp the unique pricing dynamics of that market. The Gabor Granger pricing method can aid in comprehending customer behavior in the new market, helping companies adapt their pricing to local preferences and economic conditions.
  • Promotional Pricing: During promotional campaigns, businesses may use the Gabor Granger pricing method to evaluate the effectiveness of discount offers or special pricing incentives. This approach assists in determining the optimal discount level that motivates customer purchases without sacrificing profitability.
  • Pricing Optimization: For companies looking to optimize their pricing strategy in the long term, the Gabor Granger pricing method can provide valuable data to inform pricing decisions. By regularly monitoring customer preferences and price sensitivity, businesses can continually adjust their pricing to maintain competitiveness and profitability.
  • Product Positioning: Understanding how price influences customer perceptions of a product’s value is crucial for effective product positioning. The Gabor Granger pricing method helps businesses align their pricing with the perceived value of their offerings, ensuring they position themselves accurately in the market.
  • Segmented Pricing: In markets with diverse customer segments, the Gabor Granger pricing method can be used to identify pricing strategies tailored to specific customer groups. By recognizing differences in price sensitivity among segments, businesses can develop targeted pricing approaches that cater to the unique needs and preferences of each group.

The Gabor Granger pricing method is a versatile tool that empowers businesses to make well-informed pricing decisions based on data-driven insights into customer behavior and preferences. Whether it’s for new product launches, pricing adjustments, competitive analysis, or long-term pricing strategies, the Gabor Granger pricing method provides valuable support in optimizing pricing and enhancing overall market performance.



How does the Gabor Granger pricing method work?


Your survey respondents are asked 1 question – ‘would you buy this at $X?’ If they answer ‘yes’, they’re asked again with a higher number. If they answer ‘no,’ then they’re asked again with a lower number. This continues until each survey respondent reveals the highest price they’re willing to pay for the item in question. 

There is a variation, which still involves the same question. But respondents give their answer on a scale of 1-5, which represents ‘extremely likely to buy’ to ‘not likely at all’. Again, this variant of the Gabor Granger method involves repeating the question until a highest price is established.



Where to gather pricing data sources from?


To conduct a Gabor Granger analysis effectively, businesses need to gather pricing information from various data sources to ensure robust and accurate results. Here are some essential data sources to consider:

  • Historical Sales Data: Historical sales data provides valuable insights into past pricing strategies and customer purchase behavior. By analyzing historical sales data, businesses can identify trends, patterns, and customer preferences regarding price points.
  • Competitor Pricing Data: Understanding competitor pricing is crucial for businesses to position their products or services competitively in the market. Gathering competitor pricing data allows businesses to compare their pricing with competitors and make informed decisions about price adjustments.
  • Customer Surveys and Interviews: Direct feedback from customers is invaluable for pricing research. Conducting surveys or interviews with existing and potential customers can help uncover their willingness to pay at different price levels. This primary data can directly feed into the Gabor Granger analysis.
  • Market Research: Market research reports studies can provide valuable market insights, including pricing trends and customer preferences. These studies can supplement internal data and offer a broader perspective on pricing dynamics in the industry.
  • Focus Groups and User Testing: Organizing focus groups or conducting user testing sessions can provide qualitative feedback on pricing perceptions and preferences. These qualitative insights can enrich the quantitative data collected for the Gabor Granger analysis.
  • Web Analytics and E-commerce Platforms: For businesses with an online presence, web analytics and e-commerce platforms can offer valuable data on customer behavior related to pricing. These platforms can provide information on click-through rates, shopping cart abandonment rates, and conversion rates at different price points.
  • Internal Sales and Marketing Teams: The sales and marketing teams can offer valuable insights into customer feedback and reactions to pricing changes. They can share anecdotal information and observations that might not be captured in formal data sources.
  • Customer Segmentation Data: Analyzing customer segmentation data can help businesses understand how different customer segments respond to pricing strategies. This information can aid in tailoring pricing approaches for specific target groups.
  • Pricing Experimentation Data: Running pricing experiments, such as A/B tests, can provide controlled data on customer responses to different pricing scenarios. These experiments can help validate findings from other data sources and identify causation between price changes and customer behavior.
  • Industry Experts and Consultants: Engaging with industry experts and consultants can provide valuable external perspectives on pricing strategies. They can offer insights into best practices and industry-specific considerations for pricing.

By gathering data from these diverse sources, businesses can ensure comprehensive and reliable inputs for their Gabor Granger analysis. Combining data from different perspectives helps create a more holistic understanding of customer price sensitivity and supports informed decision-making for pricing strategies.



What pricing areas does Gabor Granger help with?


In Gabor Granger analysis, the primary goal is to optimize pricing for achieving specific business objectives. The prices to be optimized for can vary depending on the specific goals of the analysis and the product or service being studied. Here are some common prices that businesses may consider optimizing during Gabor Granger analysis:

  • Optimal Price Point: The most fundamental objective of Gabor Granger analysis is to determine the optimal price point at which a product or service should be offered to maximize profitability and customer demand. This price point represents the ideal balance between customer willingness to pay and the company’s profitability goals.
  • Price Sensitivity Thresholds: Identifying price sensitivity thresholds is crucial for understanding how price changes affect customer demand. By identifying the upper and lower limits of price acceptability, businesses can avoid pricing their offerings outside the range that customers are willing to pay.
  • Price Elasticity of Demand: Gabor Granger analysis can help determine the price elasticity of demand for a product or service. This measures how sensitive customer demand is to changes in price. Knowing the price elasticity helps businesses understand the impact of price changes on revenue and volume of sales.
  • Competitive Pricing Strategies: Gabor Granger analysis can also be used to optimize pricing to gain a competitive advantage in the market. By understanding how customers perceive prices relative to competitors, businesses can strategically position their offerings and adopt competitive pricing strategies.
  • Premium Pricing Opportunities: For products or services that offer unique value or exclusive features, Gabor Granger analysis can help identify opportunities for premium pricing. Businesses can ascertain the price premium customers are willing to pay for distinct benefits.
  • Promotional Pricing: In certain situations, Gabor Granger analysis can be used to optimize promotional pricing strategies. By analyzing customer responses to different promotional discounts or offers, businesses can design effective and appealing promotions.
  • Bundle or Package Pricing: Gabor Granger analysis can help businesses optimize pricing for bundled offerings. By assessing customer preferences and willingness to pay for various bundled configurations, businesses can design attractive package deals.
  • Pricing for Market Entry or Expansion: When entering new markets or expanding to new customer segments, Gabor Granger analysis can guide pricing decisions to ensure a successful market entry. It helps identify the most appropriate price points that resonate with the target audience.
  • Subscription or Pricing Model Optimization: For subscription-based products or services, Gabor Granger analysis can optimize pricing models and subscription tiers to meet customer needs and maximize retention.
  • Dynamic Pricing Strategies: Gabor Granger analysis can support the development of dynamic pricing strategies that adjust prices based on real-time market conditions and customer behavior.

By leveraging Gabor Granger analysis to optimize prices for these different objectives, businesses can fine-tune their pricing strategies to align with customer preferences, enhance competitiveness, and drive sustainable revenue growth.



Gabor Granger pricing analysis 


Your Gabor Granger method enables you to plot 2 different, but equally important, data sets during your analysis.


Price elasticity chart

The price elasticity chart tells you the percentage of respondents that are willing to pay different price points on a demand curve. If you have quite a flat curve on your price elasticity chart, this tells you that you’re less likely to see a percentage drop/raise in sales if you put the price up/down by a particular percentage. 

A steep curve on your price elasticity chart indicates that your clients are very price sensitive about this product. For you, this may mean that switching costs up or down wouldn’t substantially change the sales figures either way. 

Calculating the elasticity of demand uses the curve between your acceptable maximum and minimum price points. On finding those 2 points, you then apply the following equation: 

% change in quantity demand ÷ % change in price = elasticity (shown as a number)

An answer greater than 1 indicates a steep curve, which means high elasticity and price sensitivity. A result of less than 1 demonstrates low elasticity and that switching costs have less impact on sales. 


Revenue curve

You can also use your Gabor Granger data to analyze how much predicted revenue you’ll make at each price point. It’s just a matter of plotting the percentage of people willing to pay at each price point against the predicted revenue made, if X number of units are sold at this price. You can then maximize revenue based on your Gabor Granger insights. 

The combination of revenue curve and price elasticity chart helps you answer two key questions:

  • Can you raise your prices without sales taking a tumble?
  • At what precise price point are your clients willing to accept costs going up or down?


Respondent biases to consider when using the Gabor Granger pricing method

There are two possible biases that you need to bear in mind when you’re using the Gabor Granger pricing method. One is that respondents deliberately try to play companies by understating their willingness to pay, in the hope that products will be priced lower. 

Another possible bias is respondents overstating their willingness to buy. It’s one thing answering purchasing questions in a theoretical context. It’s a whole other thing to tackle all the factors involved in making a purchase decision in real life, 


What the Gabor Granger pricing method doesn’t tell you

The Gabor Granger pricing method is narrowly focused on your existing products and services. In its foundational form, this pricing analysis excludes your competition. 

Although it only takes a simple alteration to include this comparison, if you feel it will better answer your pricing questions. You just need to add a visual of your competitors’ products or services, with their prices. This gives respondents a real-life context to keep in mind as they’re considering the value of yours.

As with any set of data, a Gabor Granger analysis is a snapshot of opinion at the time you do the research. Its insights are reliable for decisions made within a sensible time frame. But you need to consistently update your research intelligence to make future business decisions. Another benefit of the simplicity of this pricing model is that you only need to set up your Gabor Granger process once. It’s there to repeat for future analyses whenever you need to, without any further time investment.


Combined methodologies

The Gabor Granger pricing method is one of several specific pricing research methodologies you can combine to find the answers to all your pricing strategy questions. The Van Westendorp model is particularly useful for launching new products and services with the right price point. Competitive pricing sets you in the context of market averages and cost-plus pricing helps determine a competitive percentage mark-up on the cost price of an item. 

Each of these pricing models tells you something – but there isn’t one that tells you everything. Starting from what you want to know, it makes good sense to determine the best selection of research models to unearth the most comprehensive answers. 



Gabor Granger vs Van Westendorp method


The Gabor Grangerand Van Westendorp methods are both popular pricing research techniques, each offering unique advantages and insights into customer preferences. Here’s a comparison of these two methods:

Gabor Granger Method:
The Gabor Granger method, also known as the price sensitivity meter (PSM), focuses on measuring price elasticity and price sensitivity by directly asking customers about their willingness to purchase at different price points. This method involves presenting respondents with a series of price levels and recording the percentage of customers willing to buy at each price. From this data, a demand curve can be constructed to estimate optimal pricing points and identify the price that maximizes revenue or market share.

Benefits of Gabor Granger Method:

  • Simplicity: The Gabor Granger method is relatively straightforward to implement, making it accessible to businesses with limited resources for pricing research
  • Quick Results: It provides rapid feedback on customer price sensitivity and preferences, enabling businesses to make timely pricing decisions
  • Direct Measurement: By directly assessing customer purchase intent at different price levels, it offers precise insights into customer reactions to pricing changes

Van Westendorp Method:
The Van Westendorp method, also known as the Price Sensitivity Meter (PSM), is based on four pricing questions asked to respondents, providing four key price points: the Point of Marginal Cheapness (PMC), Point of Marginal Expensiveness (PME), Optimal Price Point (OPP), and Indifference Price Point (IPP). These four metrics help to establish a price range in which demand is relatively constant and identify the acceptable price range for customers.

Benefits of Van Westendorp Method:

  • Price Range Estimation: It provides a range of acceptable prices for customers, making it easier for businesses to set competitive and profitable pricing strategies
  • Insights on Perception: The method captures the customer’s perception of price, making it valuable for understanding the price-value relationship from the customer’s perspective
  • Determining Price Sensitivity Thresholds: It helps in identifying the price points at which demand changes significantly, allowing businesses to avoid overpricing or underpricing their products

Key Differences:

  • While both methods assess price sensitivity, the Gabor Granger method focuses on demand curves and willingness to buy, while the Van Westendorp method focuses on acceptable price ranges and perception of value.
  • The Gabor Granger method provides detailed demand curve information, while the Van Westendorp method is more oriented towards identifying price sensitivity thresholds.
    Gabor Granger requires more price points for accurate results, whereas Van Westendorp relies on four specific price points.

Which Method to Choose?
The choice between Gabor Granger and Van Westendorp methods depends on research objectives, available resources, and the complexity of the pricing scenario. The Gabor Granger method is suitable for rapid assessment of customer price sensitivity and can be useful for quick pricing decisions. On the other hand, the Van Westendorp method provides valuable insights into customers’ price perception and acceptable price ranges, making it ideal for more in-depth pricing analysis and strategy development.



When to use the Gabor Granger method for pricing optimization


The Gabor Granger pricing method is useful for a variety of different pricing optimization decisions, as part of your overall research strategy. 

  • You can’t change other elements of your service or product to boost sales. For example, you can’t run a promotion or adapt any features. If everything else is immovable, you can use your Gabor Granger analysis insights to increase revenue. 
  • You need to find the best price fit within your current price range. You’re working within pricing parameters based on prior sales and other internal information. But you need to get more precise figures to really optimize your pricing strategy. 
  • You want to be able to predict sales and profits. Who doesn’t? The Gabor Granger pricing method doesn’t bestow magical powers. But it does tell you the highest price that the largest percentage of clients are willing to pay. And from there you can extrapolate both sales and profit predictions. 
  • You want to know the price that will best boost revenue. Using Gabor Granger analysis you can see how much price changes, in either direction, are likely to affect sales. Using these insights, you can make decisions that will maximize your revenue stream. 

Whether you’re overhauling your entire pricing strategy, or deciding how much to raise your prices—the Gabor Granger pricing method is an extremely useful tool.

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