Willingness to Pay

Willingness to Pay

Willingness to Pay Jonathan Poland

Willingness to pay (WTP) is a measure of how much a customer is willing to pay for a product or service at a specific time and place. It is an important concept in economics and is often used to evaluate the potential success of marketing strategies such as pricing, branding, and sales.

Willingness to pay is determined by a number of factors, including the value that a customer places on the product or service, their income, and the availability of substitutes. It is typically expressed as a range, with a minimum WTP representing the lowest price at which a customer would be willing to purchase the product or service, and a maximum WTP representing the highest price they would be willing to pay.

Marketers use willingness to pay to assess the potential success of different pricing strategies. For example, they may conduct market research to determine the WTP of their target customers, and then set prices that fall within that range in order to maximize their sales. In addition, marketers may use WTP to evaluate the effectiveness of branding and sales strategies, and to make decisions about the allocation of resources.

Overall, willingness to pay is a key concept in economics that can provide valuable insights for marketers. By understanding the factors that determine WTP, marketers can develop effective pricing, branding, and sales strategies that help to maximize their revenue and profits. The following are factors that are known to impact willingness to pay.

Businesses vs Individuals

In many cases, businesses are willing to pay more than individual customers. For example, airlines make great efforts to charge business travelers more with yield management techniques.


An individual’s income, disposable income and wealth.


Enthusiasts for a particular product may be willing to pay more than those who view a product with indifference.


In many cases, customers are willing to pay more for products that align with their values. For example, a customer may be willing to pay more for solar electricity than electricity generated with a fossil fuel.

Value Proposition

The value that is offered by a product or service. For example, a dog walking service may represent freedom and be extremely valuable to some customers.


A brand that is able to instill positive emotions may command a higher price point as customers purchase with emotions as opposed to cold logic. For example, a pleasing customer experience may lead to emotions such as gratitude that make a customer less price sensitive towards a business.


Quality such as durability tends to command a higher willingness to pay.

Reviews & Recommendations

Social information such as recommendations and reviews. A primary factor in industries driven by reputation systems such as the hotel industry.

Brand Recognition

Customers may be willing to pay more for a brand simply because they recognize it.


If you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to drink, you may be willing to pay more for coffee. Brands may avoid charging more in this situation as it can build a sense of resentment. Charging more in a desperate situation such as a disaster is ethically questionable and potentially a compliance issue.

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