External Factors: Elasticity of Demand

Marketers should never rest on their marketing decisions. They must continually use market research and their own judgment to determine whether marketing decisions need to be adjusted. When it comes to adjusting price, the marketer must understand what effect a change in price is likely to have on target market demand for a product.

Understanding how price changes impact the market requires the marketer have a firm understanding of the concept economists call elasticity of demand, which relates to how purchase quantity changes as prices change. Elasticity is evaluated under the assumption that no other changes are being made (i.e., “all things being equal”) and only price is adjusted. The logic is to see how price by itself will affect overall demand. Obviously, the chance of nothing else changing in the market but the price of one product is often unrealistic. For example, competitors may react to the marketer’s price change by changing the price on their product. Despite this, elasticity analysis does serve as a useful tool for estimating market reaction.

Elasticity deals with three types of demand scenarios:

  • Elastic Demand – Products are considered to exist in a market that exhibits elastic demand when a certain percentage change in price results in a larger and opposite percentage change in demand. For example, if the price of a product increases (decreases) by 10%, the demand for the product is likely to decline (rise) by greater than 10%.
  • Inelastic Demand – Products are considered to exist in an inelastic market when a certain percentage change in price results in a smaller and opposite percentage change in demand. For example, if the price of a product increases (decreases) by 10%, the demand for the product is likely to decline (rise) by less than 10%.
  • Unitary Demand – This demand occurs when a percentage change in price results in an equal and opposite percentage change in demand. For example, if the price of a product increases (decreases) by 10%, the demand for the product is likely to decline (rise) by 10%.


For marketers the important issue with elasticity of demand is to understand how it impacts company revenue. In general the following scenarios apply to making price changes for a given type of market demand:

  • For Elastic Markets – increasing price lowers total revenue while decreasing price increases total revenue.
  • For Inelastic Markets – increasing price raises total revenue while decreasing price lowers total revenue.
  • For Unitary Markets – there is no change in revenue when price is changed.
Internal Factors: Costs
External Factors: Customer Expectations