Abstract

Analysis of the rightmost digits of selling prices in a sample of retail price advertisements confirmed past findings indicating the overrepresentation of the digits 0, 5, and 9. The high cognitive accessibility of round numbers can account for the overrepresentation of 0- and 5-ending prices and suggests the existence of two effects that could account for the overrepresentation of 9-ending prices: (1) a tendency of consumers to perceive a 9-ending price as a round-number price with a small amount given back and (2) a tendency of consumers to underestimate a 9-ending price by encoding it as the first round number evoked during incomplete left-to-right processing. Analysis of the patterns of rightmost digits observed in the sample provides supportive evidence particularly for the second of these two 9-ending effects.

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