[Pricing Nugget #015] Anchors are Heavy and Durable

Have you heard about the anchoring effect?

Anchoring belongs to the classic psychological effects: You expose somebody to a random, uninformative number, and it still influences one’s quantitative judgment.

Why is this important for us in pricing?

Price evaluations are also quantitative judgments: What is my willingness to pay? Or what is a fair price?

Anchoring effects in pricing are well-documented – but how long does an anchoring effect last?

We will find out today.

[For a bit more (theoretical) background on the anchoring effect, please check out the video.]

Researchers exposed participants in various studies to random anchors and solicited their willingness-to-pay (WTP) for those products at different times.

The researchers found that…

  • anchors raise customers’ WTP for products,
  • the higher the anchor, the higher the WTP,
  • WTP is the highest right after exposure to anchor,
  • anchoring effects drop after one week but then remain the same for eight weeks, and
  • reminding on the anchor is not required to lift customers’ WTP.

What does it mean for us?

In short, never underestimate the impact of a good anchor – they are heavy and durable.

[For more details on the exact experiment, please check out the video.]


Yoon, S., & Fong, N. (2019). Uninformative Anchors Have Persistent Effects on Valuation Judgments. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 29(3), 391–410.