Substitute Products Definition, Impact, Factors

A customer buys a pair of Nike shoes instead of Adidas shoes because they are cheaper. In this case, the customer is substituting one product for another because it is cheaper. However, there can also be cases where a customer buys a more expensive product because it is of better quality.

  1. In other words, the two vendors depend mainly on branding and price respectively to achieve sales.
  2. In a monopoly, only one firm produces a good or service with no close substitute goods.
  3. The greater the number of substitute products in the market, the more rivalry exists in the industry.
  4. Getting more of one commodity allows a consumer to demand less of the other product.
  5. Replacing butter with applesauce is an example of an imperfect substitute.

If a consumer perceives a difference between soda brands, she may see Pepsi as an imperfect substitute for Coke, even if economists consider them perfect substitutes. If two brands of cereal have the same prices before one’s price is raised, we can expect sales to fall for that brand. As the price of Coca-Cola rises, consumers could be expected to substitute to Pepsi. Consumers who prefer one brand over the other will not trade between them one-to-one. Rather, a consumer who prefers Coca-Cola (for example) will be willing to exchange more Pepsi for less Coca-Cola, in other words, consumers who prefer Coca-Cola would be willing to pay more.

An example of perfect substitutes is butter from two different producers; the producer may be different but their purpose and usage are the same. For instance, an increase in the price of eggs does not directly relate to an increase in demand for olives. Now that you have the formula for cross price elasticity of demand, it’s important to know how to use it to make your calculations.

Factors affecting the Substitute Products

Thus, companies will adjust by reducing prices or production to prevent it from becoming flooded with too many products. When it comes to Substitute Goods, usually the price changes will have a bigger impact on the market competition than on other types of goods. This is because Substitute Goods are easily replaced by other similar products.

Are alternative modes of transport substitute goods?

Since indirect substitutes are not very common, they tend to have a weak correlation, which results in a low cross-elasticity of demand. For instance, if the price of bowling increases and its sales decline by 10 percent, the increase in video game sales may only be around 1 percent. Monopolistic competition presents an interesting case that present complications with the concept of substitutes.

If two substitute products perform differently when subjected to various conditions, the customer will choose the option that is most beneficial for the particular prevailing condition. For example, in the transport sector, while traveling for shorter distances, most people prefer small vehicles. If substitute products are highly differentiated and are of high quality, a consumer is likely to switch to a product that offers better quality. For example, users of aesthetic products like skin lightening creams are very sensitive to quality. They will discontinue using a product once they realize there is a higher quality substitute in the market. As a result, businesses may incur high marketing and promotional costs when competing for market share, which, in turn, reduces operating profits.

Direct and Indirect Substitute Goods

Having chosen a POS (point of sale), you restrict your attention to its proposals, possibly ending up to no purchases in the expectation of a further POS exploration in a reasonably short span of time. For instance, once satisfied the basic needs, many “additional” needs will be satisfied in sequence, with pauses to let income sources provide enough flows for further consumption. This category of consumers also keep “slack resources”, intentional or unintentional savings, to cope with unexpected purchase occasions. Most substitution happens among goods produced in the same industry, sold on the same market. However, if the need is broad enough, the choice can be made across very different categories of products (e.g. if you have to make a wedding gift, the goods to be compared can be extremely heterogeous).

Imperfect substitutes, also known as close substitutes, have a lesser level of substitutability, and therefore exhibit variable marginal rates of substitution along the consumer indifference curve. The consumption points on the curve offer the same level define substitute goods of utility as before, but compensation depends on the starting point of the substitution. The cross elasticity of demand for substitute goods is always positive because the demand for one good increases when the price for the substitute good increases.

It means that as the price of product x rises, the demand for the other product rises. As seen in the graph above, when the price of tea increases, the quantity demanded of coffee also increases. In economics, a substitute good is a product or service that can replace another product or service with little to no perceivable difference to the consumer. People will choose a substitute good if there is a significant price difference, the supply of the original good is low, or the stock is out.

This is because people will prefer to lower-cost substitute to the higher cost one. If, for example, the price of coffee increases, the demand for tea may also increase as consumers switch from coffee to tea to maintain their budgets. For example, if the price of coffee increases, the quantity demanded for coffee stir sticks drops as consumers are drinking less coffee and need to purchase fewer sticks. In the formula, the numerator (quantity demanded of stir sticks) is negative and the denominator (the price of coffee) is positive.

Each individual places a certain value on each product, and they make their decision based on their preference for one product over the other. As mentioned above, they are generally used for the same purpose or are able to satisfy similar needs for consumers. For example, a frozen yogurt shop and an ice cream shop sell different goods.

Graph of two substitute goods

In a monopoly, only one firm produces a good or service with no close substitute goods. Thus, you can see the more sensitive goods are to price fluctuations, the more they are susceptible to substitutes. In other words, the more elastic two comparable goods are, the more they are substituted for one another as prices change.

Take your learning and productivity to the next level with our Premium Templates. Access and download collection of free Templates to help power your productivity and performance. Switching cost is the loss or the extra cost you incur from leaving the option you were using for another. For example, if you have been taking notes with a pen but now you want to take them using a video recording device, the switching cost here is high since you will have to buy the video recording device. On the same note, you can switch from one pen to the other easily since the switching costs are low.

In this scenario, if the supply of Pepsi is increased from S0 to S1, the price decreases from P0 to P1, and there will be high demand for Pepsi as the quantity demanded will increase from Q0 to Q1. The demand curve shows the increase in the quantity demanded of Pepsi with a decreasing price. In this scenario, there is a rightward shift of demand for Coca-Cola (substitute) from D0 to D1 due to a fall in the price of Pepsi. The price of Coca-Cola decreased from P0 to P1, and the quantity traded also decreased from Q0 to Q1.


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