Research on consumer behaviour suggests that people perceive nine-ending prices (e.g. $2.99) to be significantly lower than prices one cent higher ($3.00). This is known as the left-digit effect. This effect was replicated in a group of Chinese participants residing in Hong Kong where nine-ending prices such as $2.99 do not occur in the local pricing system, suggesting that familiarity of the pricing format has little influence on the effect. A novel finding was also reported with the left-digit effect observed in the domain of date perception. Participants rated last-day-ending dates such as 5.31 (representing May 31) as significantly earlier than first-day-ending dates such as 6.01 (June 1). Price and date judgements are juxtaposed against one another and discussed in terms of the rounding-up aversion account. Potential pitfalls in consumer behaviour are also highlighted.
Keywords: left-digit effect, consumer behaviour, price perception, date perception