Price War

Updated on January 31, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What is the Price War?

A price war is a competition among the business’s competitors in lowering the price of their products to gain an advantage over their competitors in price and capture a greater market share. It is used as one of the strategies to increase the business firm’s revenue and increase the market share.

Key Takeaways

  • A price war refers to competition among the business’s competitors to lower the product prices to gain the benefits over the competitors in price and dominate the large market share. 
  • One can use it to raise the business firm’s revenue and market share. 
  • Small firms suffer big time in this war as they cannot operate a business with less or no profits. Hence, it can be managed or triggered by business firms that can remain in the market after the price reduction. 
  • Every business must have its Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to survive in the market for the long term. 

Explanation

  • A price war is carried out to eliminate the competitors from the market or gain an advantage over them by selling products and services at a lower price. When the cost of the goods reduces, customers would prefer to procure at a lower price, which would increase the revenue of the business firm. Customers are benefited from this process as they would pay less for the products.
  • The business firms entering into a price war may not enjoy profits much or even incur losses for the initial period when they reduce the prices. That could be a short-term strategy to gain an advantage, or it may be a long-term one for capturing the market completely. When one competitor reduces its price, the other is forced to reduce its cost to sustain in business and market.
  • Small firms can suffer big time in this war as they cannot run businesses with less or no profits. Therefore, it can be managed or triggered only by the business firms that can stay in the market even after reducing the prices.
Price War

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Example of Price War

Price War in the Airline Industry:

The price charged by S airlines to fly from Chicago to London is $560. S airlines compete with Xone airlines which charges $550 for the same trip. S airlines entered into a price war to attract customers, reduced its price substantially, and lowered the price to $500 per trip. To sustain itself in the market, Xone airlines also dropped its price to $490 per trip. This mechanism leads the airlines to incur losses, and customers benefit from lower prices.

Case A: When S airlines are backed by strong financial background:

S airlines will further reduce its price to $470 since strong financesFinancesFinance is a broad term that essentially refers to money management or channeling money for various purposes.read more back it. However, Xone airlines cannot reduce the cost since it is already incurring losses. If this continues, then Xone airlines will exit the market since it cannot sustain the price war, which reduces the healthy competition in the market, and over time, S airlines will again start increasing prices.

Case B: If Xone airlines have a unique selling proposition:

Though the S airlines reduced its price, Xone airlines can still retain the same pricing structure with special features and facilities. They can avoid it by establishing product differentiationProduct DifferentiationProduct differentiation refers to making a product look attractive and different from other products in the same class. Marketers highlight the distinguishing features in the product commonly through packaging or a good design, which helps communicate the benefitting factors to the shoppers.read more and the value-added benefits to customers.

Causes of Price War

  • In a highly competitive market, comparable goods’ existence triggers a price war by reducing the price to gain an edge over its competitors.
  • It is one of the ways through which the market share can be increased, which will increase the business’s revenue.
  • It is entered when the business wants to penetrate the established market and offers a price less than that of the existing market players.
  • A business nearing the bankruptcy stage may enter into a price war by reducing the price of the products, which will improve the liquidityLiquidityLiquidity is the ease of converting assets or securities into cash.read more.

Effects

Advantages

  • Customers are benefited as the price of the products is reduced.
  • Companies have the advantage of getting more customers for their products.

Disadvantages

  • It can seriously impact the company’s financial performance and influence the market and the customers.
  • Small business firms cannot sustain this like other big players. Over time they would close down their business.
  • Once the market is captured in the process of the price war, the big players enjoy the market share and start increasing the prices again.
  • It eradicates healthy competition in the market.
  • Since prices are reduced, they may reduce employees’ salaries and overtime. Therefore, when competition reduces, employment opportunities will also decrease.
  • With a low pricing strategy, the business cannot achieve the position of the best product available in the market.

Conclusion

Price war gets triggered only when the products are comparable with similar aspects. If more value addition is provided in the products, customers will automatically choose the best ones. (E.g.) Audi car over Tata car.

Though the price of the Audi car is more, customers still choose it seeing the value derived from it. It is always better to make the products unique rather than lower prices and enter into price wars. Healthy competition is needed in the market and can cause long-term issues for both customers and the business.

It is good if it is a short-term strategy where both businesses and customers are benefited. However, every business should have its Unique Selling PropositionUnique Selling PropositionThe full form of USP is a unique selling proposition. It is the unique characteristic of the product or services of the company that conveys or highlights the benefit of customers along with differentiating the company from its competitors in the market, providing it with an added advantage and this USP should be communicated properly to the customers in order to take its full benefits.read more (USP) to sustain itself in the market for a longer time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to avoid price war?

One can avert a price war through the following steps:
Ignore strategies that force competitors to counter lower prices.
Recognize competitive value situations.
Ignore misunderstanding about competitive and market developments and influence market or channel niches. 

How to win a price war?

One can win a price war by focusing on product quality, showing the firm/business strategies to the competition so that they would know what they lose if they low their prices, and must be strategic in reducing the costs.

What are the consequences of price war?

Price wars can affect companies to acquire losses in the margins, creative abilities, consumer equity, and industries. Price war victims may be downgraded as substitutes and may even face bankruptcy.

How much is a Golden Eagle price war thunder worth?

The price of 1 Golden Eagle will convert 45 CRP into 45 vehicle RP. The in-game currency is how War Thunder makes money off of the game. Golden Eagles, the money used to purchase additional content, can be used to pay for premium cars, vehicle upgrades, premium account upgrades, additional crew spaces, and much more.

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