[Survey] [Results] [Analysis] [Conclusion] [Other Findings]
The aims of the survey were to see whether there was any substance in the media claim that Amazon were dynamically changing prices according to shoppers personal profiles and behaviour.
Participants were asked to select one of 4 items available at Amazon and then to chose either Amazon's US or UK web site. The 4 items were:
Participants were also asked to say how frequently they visited Amazon's site, when they last purchased and whether they allowed cookies. We also collected information on the participant's operating system and browser used, as well as the date and time when they participated.
The aim of the survey was to see whether Amazon's prices change dynamically. If they did, then did the changes correlate to such factors as frequency of visits, frequency of purchase, whether cookies were enabled, and the user's technical environment.
The survey ran from 25 July 2001 to 15 June 2003.
285 responses were received. 4 were eliminated as the prices given seemed excessively high.
There were 71 responses. The standard price was £11.99 but during October 2001 there seemed to be a special promotional price of £10.49 after which it rose back to £11.99.
In March 2002 the price "permanently" dropped to £10.49 though a some people reported prices of £5.00, £7.99, £10.00, £11.29 and £14.98 up to January 2003. From that date the prices fluctuates more widely but within the range £10.62 to £11.13 (excepting one of £3.99 which seems too low). See graph with UK and US prices over time (new window).
There were 52 responses. From August 2001 to September 2002, the standard price was $17.50 but one person says they were charged $10 and another $21. This $21 price was on the 18th December 2001, just before Christmas.
During October 2002 the price fluctuates very widely: three at $26.57, one at $10.00, another at $17.00, two at $17.50 and one even as low as $5. Was Amazon experimenting with a new dynamic pricing engine?
Then from November 2002 until May 2003 the price settled down again at $17.50 excepting 3 incidences, one of $3.70 (this seems too low), one of $12 and one of $15.
There were 35 responses. Over the whole 2 year period, everyone, excepting one individual, was charged £11.99. The exception was charged £10.00 in October 2002. He/she had never visited before and therefore had never purchased from Amazon, but then neither had many others. See graph with UK and US prices over time (new window)
There were 30 responses. From September 2001 through to September 2002 the standard price was $13.99 with just 2 exceptions of $12.95 and $10. In October 2002 the price increased to $14.99 and stayed there until the end of the survey with just 4 exceptions of $6, $5, $10 and $6 over the period. Again no correlation of these exceptions with when last purchased or frequency of purchase or to not accepting cookies.
There were 23 responses. For almost the first year, from July 2001 until April 2002, all were charged £22.99 excepting one person who was charged £12.99 - maybe a mis-typed response. Then the price rose to £23.74 and remained there until the end of the survey without a single exception. No correlation with other factors were identified. See graph with UK and US prices over time (new window).
There were 16 responses. The first respondent was charged $29.99 but then the rest were charged $31.46 until January 2003 when the price dropped to $26.96 where it remained with every person then being quoted that price. Yet again no correlations could be seen.
There were 23 responses. The first 3 of these were charged £199.99 but then the price dropped to £189.99 where it stayed until October 2002. Purchases after that time varied widely, as they did in the US.
We conclude that the product was no longer available as new and that respondents were providing the 2nd user price. If this were true, then the incredible fact is that the price started to rise, with prices of £200, £300, £250 and £250. Yet this product is widely available on ebay "as new" for £70 "buy now". It is often the case that 2nd user prices on Amazon can be higher than Amazon's new price!
As before no correlations could be seen. See graph with UK and US prices over time (new window).
There were 31 responses. The first 3 visitors in October 2001 and were charged $279.99, $279.99 and $299.99. There after the price settled down to $199.99 until November 2002 with one exception in October 2002 of $135. After November 2002 the prices varied widely but the general trend was downwards to as low as $49.99.
Again we believe that the product was no longer available as new and that respondents were providing the 2nd user price. As before no correlations could be seen.
There appears to be no correlation between price and any of the following: frequency of visiting Amazon's site, time since last purchased, whether cookies were blocked, and the operating system and browser used. We conclude that there are no indicators that Amazon is using dynamic pricing based on personal profiles or behaviour.
However, there are unexplained price fluctuations, especially with Amazon US. These may be due to special promotions to stimulate demand, or they may be based on other unknown personal factors.
Many thanks to all those who responded. Look out for another survey.
Back to the Dynamic Pricing Content Page
[One to One Marketing]
[SIM Executive Summary] [SIM Report] [SIM Project] [SIM Framework] [SIM Methodology] [SIM Illustrations] [SIM Links]
[Key Information & Resources] [Guest Contributions] [List of Support Topics] [What's On]
[Copyright Fair Use]
[Publicity] [Why Ads?] [What's New] [What's Coming] [Technical Info]
[Home] [Site Search Form] [For a Full list of Contents see the Site Map]
This page last updated June 2003 © Managing Change 1997,98,99,2000,01,02,03 www.managingchange.com