About psychological pricing

Hey, hey

I’ve followed Fairphone for years and have always appreciated every aspect in which Fairphone has tried to distance themselves from bad habits of the industry and tried to introduce a new standard.

In the pursue of sustainability and ethical practises it doesn’t make sense that Fairphone uses psychological pricing. For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the common use of .99 prices to make the customer feel like they are paying less.
It may seem like a very banal issue that we are all used to, especially in supermarkets, but it’s been widely studied and it has a lot of impact on customer perception.

In my opinion, it is a very unethical way to price your products because somehow you are trying to fool your potential customers. I would always prefer to buy the full-rounded up price and not feel like they are trying to trick me.

Fairphone does psychological pricing in two ways:

  1. For smartphones and audio products they use a “XX9€” pricing. e.g. Fairphone 5 costs 699€ instead of 700€.
  2. For accesories and spare parts they use a “X9.95€” or “X4.95€” pricing. e.g. Fairphone 5 Protective Case costs 39.95€ instead of 40€.

I would really like if Fairphone changed the pricing of all their products. What does everybody else think? Do you feel annoyed by that kind of pricing strategy?


Well, I get the point, but on the other hand the pricing strategy works quite well, and everybody uses it and will be using it as it keeps working. I’d rather have people buy a psychologically priced Fairphone than buy competitors product, because raising FP prices by 1 € would break some psychological price limit.

What is annoying though, is that those psychologically priced accessories don’t work well with the Keep club point discounts, as they are not psychological. So you can’t apply a 25 € coupon for 24,95 € charger etc. But that’s a quite different discussion from a more consumerist perspective.


Hey, to answer a couple of the things you said:

That’s not a logically valid argument. Every other phone company makes terribly unsustainable and unethical phones, by that same logic Fairphone could do the same. That the majority does something is not a reason to do it. It is unethical.

I am not sure I agree with what you say. Because this is just pricing, but it isn’t difficult to extend that same argument further and reach a point where any means are okay just as we get people to buy a Fairphone instead of another phone. If Fairphone is actually getting sales by tricking the minds of their customers, I don’t think that really counts as helping the mission or whatever.

Furthermore, I am not even sure it is a good strategy for Fairphone. Sure it works for other companies, but when someone arrives at Fairphone Shop it means that person has already a different set of values and/or background than other customers. Fairphone buyers are willing to pay more for a phone whose hardware/software value is evidenty less (You can get much better functionally phones for 700€ than a Fairphone 5) but you are willing to pay for your values.
To that sector of customers who really values ethics, I think it makes sense to not trick them, to give them the real price, no tricks. Every industry-standarised practise that Fairphone uses may be perceived by those unsure potential customers as: “Meh, Fairphone is just the same, I’d rather get a better phone for this price”.

I feel like that may be perfectly thought out by the company and they don’t want people to use their Keep Club points to buy “for free” articles. I agree with you completely that it is annoying, there are other ways to prevent that.

Thanks a lot anyways for your response!!!


I don’t get fooled myself, I know exactly how much I’m actually spending, but I do have a different complaint in this regard: The cents I can’t withdraw from my account or use for anything else. It’s really annoying, imho.

Why should FairPhone use marketing strategies that are less successful than other brands? It will only lead to fewer sales and poorer popularity.

What the world needs is a phone company that they can trust, which is a job that FairPhone does pretty good! We also need a modular phone that is sustainable and the workers needs a fair payment for their job.

I think FairPhone will make the world a little bit better. If marketing can help FairPhone gain a higher market share, then I think the benefits of FairPhone is worth it.


Shift has a price policy based on “Schapszahlen” (repdigits?)
(Shift mu: 888€; Shift8: 577€…)

Would that be more of your taste, @Jorbol ?

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Schnapszahlen … from Schnaps (or Schnapps in English) :wink: .

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I mean, it’s an interesting thing, at least they are playing less with the customer’s mind.
But my point is simpler. Fairphone 5 is 700€, put that price, that’s it. Don’t try to fool anyone.
When they give discounts, they don’t give 49€ discounts, they give 50€ discounts, for example.

As I said in a previous message, I think it coud even become part of Fairphone’s marketing strategy to promote their fair rounded prices. I think it really goes with the company’s message. I don’t agree that it would be harmful for the company.


I strongly resent those .95 or .99 prices, too. But I’m afraid they probably just work, although it’s an ugly arms race logic.

By the way, Fairphone used to have .00 prices (or even very uneven prices for FP1 spares like .63 or .27 or the like) before the Fairphone 3. However, the FP3 is when and where Fairphone’s economic turnaround started. Of course, other factors were involved in this as well, but I think there was a general turn to more aggressive and conventional marketing then.


I completely agree with you.

That’s actually very, very interesting to know. I hope it can be reversed.
I am actually eager to know if, according to Fairphone, this strategy has helped their marketing or not. It is, of course, a very difficult variable to measure but still, would be nice to hear from them.

Well, it’s marketing who will answer, and they will never admit they are using magic spells and incantations. “It’s all Science, mister!”… :crazy_face:

(That been said, and since I’m already posting, I’d like to express (add) my dislike for .99 prices: It feels insulting, like “Hey, you’re so darn dumb you won’t ever realize that €4.99 = €5.00!”.
And that everybody does it doesn’t excuse anything. Billions of flies eat dung, is that a valid reason to do so myself?)