Place Original Prices Above or to the Left of Sale Prices

Customers can subtract these numbers more easily, enlarging the perceived discount.

Sale price of $25 with original price of $50 bring placed toward the left or top of it


Displaying a sale price?

Where should you place it? Does it matter?

Typically, place the original price (the larger number) above or to the left.

Why the Left?

It's called the subtraction principle (Biswas et al., 2013).

We can subtract numbers more easily when larger numbers appear on the left. We learned subtraction this way.

You want easy calculations because two numbers seem further apart when they're easy to subtract. Your discount will seem steeper (Thomas & Morwitz, 2009).

Why Above?

Vertical formats ease subtraction too.

This format creates digit-by-digit comparison, so it's especially persuasive if each digit in the sale price is lower (Feng, Suri, Chao, & Koc, 2017).

If your discount isn't steep, use a horizontal format to obscure the comparison.

  • Bagchi, R., & Davis, D. F. (2012). 29 for 70 items or 70 items for 29? How presentation order affects package perceptions. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(1), 62-73.
  • Biswas, A., Bhowmick, S., Guha, A., & Grewal, D. (2013). Consumer evaluations of sale prices: role of the subtraction principle. Journal of Marketing, 77(4), 49-66.