Place a Larger Number on the Left

Customers can subtract these numbers more easily, which makes the difference seem larger.

Nick Kolenda
Updated on
Original price of $50, followed by sale price of $25

Displaying a sale price?

Place the original price (the larger number) to the left. It's called the subtraction principle (Biswas et al., 2013).

Follow this technique for quantities, too. Which order is better:

  • $29 for 70 items
  • 70 items for $29

Answer: The second sequence (Bagchi & Davis, 2012). The large quantity (e.g., 70) made the price seem cheaper.

  • Bagchi, R., & Davis, D. F. (2012). 29 for 70 items or 70 items for 29? How presentation order affects package perceptions. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(1), 62-73.
  • Biswas, A., Bhowmick, S., Guha, A., & Grewal, D. (2013). Consumer evaluations of sale prices: role of the subtraction principle. Journal of Marketing, 77(4), 49-66.