What Is Geographical Pricing? Geographical Pricing In A Nutshell

Geographical pricing is the process of adjusting the sale price of a product or service according to the location of the buyer. Therefore, geographical pricing is a strategy where the business adjusts the sale price of an item according to the geographic region where the item is sold. The strategy helps the business maximize revenue by reducing the cost of transporting goods to different markets. However, geographical pricing can also be used to create an impression of regional scarcity, novelty, or prestige. 

Understanding geographical pricing

Global businesses understand that no two markets are the same. The target audience in one region may have vastly different interests or needs compared to the audience from another region.

What’s more, there may be a large discrepancy in consumer purchasing power.

Geographical pricing strategies are used by commodities companies, with steel and gasoline the most common examples.

Some primary producers also use the strategy, which helps explain why the price of an avocado is cheaper within avocado-growing regions.

Five geographical pricing types

Geographical pricing is a more general phrase that encompasses a range of more concise strategies. 

1 – Zone pricing  

This is the strategy most associated with geographical pricing. Customers within designated regions are charged the same price for goods and services, with more distant customers charged a higher price. 

Zones are typically represented on a map using concentric circles or other boundaries which reflect population density, geography, or transportation infrastructure. 

Gasoline prices in the United States are based on a complex mixture of factors including the number of competing stations, transportation corridors, average traffic flow, and the number of vehicles.

2 – Free on Board (FOB) origin pricing 

Here, the buyer pays for variable shipping costs from the production facility or warehouse. 

Ownership of the item transfers to the buyer once the item has left the facility, with the seller or buyer able to arrange the transportation itself.

3 – Basing point pricing

In basing point pricing, certain cities are designed as basing points. Shipping costs from these cities are the same, regardless of whether the buyer lives near the city.

Basing point pricing is common practice in the steel and automotive industries.

4 – Uniform delivered pricing

Similar to basing point pricing is uniform delivered pricing, where buyers pay the same freight costs regardless of their distance from the dispatch location.

The exact freight cost is determined by an average and is typically incorporated into the price of the product.

5 – Freight-absorption pricing

Freight-absorption pricing is a strategy where the seller absorbs all or part of the delivery cost to a given region.

This strategy, which is often reserved for when a product is on sale, is essentially a buyer discount because the freight cost is not built into the price.

Other geographical pricing considerations

While geographical pricing is mostly driven by shipping cost, there are a couple of other factors that may influence product prices:

  • Taxation laws – a business may adjust its product pricing based on different sales tax percentages. If Region A has a sales tax of 15% and Region B has a sales tax of 25%, the business will sell its products for a higher price in Region B to offset the extra sales tax.
  • Supply and demand – product pricing may also reflect a supply and demand imbalance in the market. When supply is low in a particular region, prices increase.
  • Consumer purchasing power – those living in rural areas tend to have lower purchasing power than their city counterparts. Purchasing power across different cities also fluctuates, with residents of Zurich and Sydney enjoying more purchasing power than those residing in Manila or Nairobi.

Examples of Geographical Pricing:

  • Gasoline Pricing: Gasoline prices can vary across regions due to transportation costs, taxes, and local market conditions. For instance, gasoline prices might be higher in remote or less accessible areas due to higher transportation costs.
  • Airline Ticket Pricing: Airlines often adjust ticket prices based on the departure and destination locations. Flights between popular destinations might have different prices compared to less popular routes.
  • Online Retail: E-commerce platforms might offer different shipping costs based on the customer’s location. Shipping fees can vary depending on the distance and shipping methods chosen by the customer.
  • Hotel Room Rates: Hotel chains may use geographical pricing to adjust room rates based on the location of their properties. Rooms in high-demand tourist areas might have higher rates compared to less popular locations.
  • Streaming Services: Streaming platforms might offer different subscription prices based on the user’s geographic region, considering factors like purchasing power and local competition.

Key takeaways:

  • Geographical pricing is the process of adjusting the sale price of a product or service according to the location of the buyer.
  • Geographical pricing types include zone pricing, FOB pricing, basing point pricing, uniform delivered pricing, and freight-absorption pricing.
  • Geographical pricing is mostly driven by consideration for shipping costs. However, region-specific taxation laws, supply and demand, and consumer purchasing power are also key factors.

Key Highlights:

  • Definition and Purpose: A price floor is a regulatory measure that establishes a minimum legal price for a good or service, preventing its market price from dropping below that level. Its purpose is to ensure a certain income or compensation for producers.
  • Example – Minimum Wage: One prominent example of a price floor is the minimum wage, which ensures workers are paid a wage that meets basic living standards.
  • Alternative Term – Price Support: Price floors are also known as “price supports” because they uphold prices above a specific threshold, offering support to producers.
  • Price Floors in Agriculture: Commonly used in agriculture, they stabilize farmer incomes by guaranteeing a minimum price. Governments may purchase surplus products at the price floor to ensure farmers’ earnings during market fluctuations.
  • Types of Price Floors:
    • Binding Price Floor: Set above equilibrium, it can result in surplus supply, benefiting producers but potentially increasing costs for consumers.
    • Non-Binding Price Floor: Set below equilibrium, it doesn’t impact market dynamics.
  • Effects on the Market:
    • Black Market Formation: Binding price floors can lead to unofficial sales at lower prices, creating a black market.
    • Higher Prices: Consumers may pay more due to price floors, leading to increased costs.
    • Reduced Demand: Elevated prices can drive consumers to alternatives, reducing demand.
    • Excess Production: Binding floors may cause overproduction and government intervention to buy surplus.
    • Incentives for Overproduction: In agriculture, price floors can lead to overproduction in anticipation of government purchases.

What are the 5 types of geographical pricing?

What are the disadvantages of geographical pricing?

From an accounting standpoint, having too many geographical pricing models might make the process more complex. That is why it’s critical to understand what geographies impact the business and adapt pricing primarily based on these geographies.

What is the purpose of geographic pricing?

Since geographical pricing is the process of adjusting the sale price of a product or service according to the location of the buyer, that can help the customer better relate to the product and to the business to expand more quickly through various geographies that otherwise would not be able to afford the same product.

Connected Economic Concepts

Market Economy

The idea of a market economy first came from classical economists, including David Ricardo, Jean-Baptiste Say, and Adam Smith. All three of these economists were advocates for a free market. They argued that the “invisible hand” of market incentives and profit motives were more efficient in guiding economic decisions to prosperity than strict government planning.

Positive and Normative Economics

Positive economics is concerned with describing and explaining economic phenomena; it is based on facts and empirical evidence. Normative economics, on the other hand, is concerned with making judgments about what “should be” done. It contains value judgments and recommendations about how the economy should be.


When there is an increased price of goods and services over a long period, it is called inflation. In these times, currency shows less potential to buy products and services. Thus, general prices of goods and services increase. Consequently, decreases in the purchasing power of currency is called inflation. 

Asymmetric Information

Asymmetric information as a concept has probably existed for thousands of years, but it became mainstream in 2001 after Michael Spence, George Akerlof, and Joseph Stiglitz won the Nobel Prize in Economics for their work on information asymmetry in capital markets. Asymmetric information, otherwise known as information asymmetry, occurs when one party in a business transaction has access to more information than the other party.


Autarky comes from the Greek words autos (self)and arkein (to suffice) and in essence, describes a general state of self-sufficiency. However, the term is most commonly used to describe the economic system of a nation that can operate without support from the economic systems of other nations. Autarky, therefore, is an economic system characterized by self-sufficiency and limited trade with international partners.

Demand-Side Economics

Demand side economics refers to a belief that economic growth and full employment are driven by the demand for products and services.

Supply-Side Economics

Supply side economics is a macroeconomic theory that posits that production or supply is the main driver of economic growth.

Creative Destruction

Creative destruction was first described by Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, who suggested that capital was never stationary and constantly evolving. To describe this process, Schumpeter defined creative destruction as the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.” Therefore, creative destruction is the replacing of long-standing practices or procedures with more innovative, disruptive practices in capitalist markets.

Happiness Economics

Happiness economics seeks to relate economic decisions to wider measures of individual welfare than traditional measures which focus on income and wealth. Happiness economics, therefore, is the formal study of the relationship between individual satisfaction, employment, and wealth.


An oligopsony is a market form characterized by the presence of only a small number of buyers. These buyers have market power and can lower the price of a good or service because of a lack of competition. In other words, the seller loses its bargaining power because it is unable to find a buyer outside of the oligopsony that is willing to pay a better price.

Animal Spirits

The term “animal spirits” is derived from the Latin spiritus animalis, loosely translated as “the breath that awakens the human mind”. As far back as 300 B.C., animal spirits were used to explain psychological phenomena such as hysterias and manias. Animal spirits also appeared in literature where they exemplified qualities such as exuberance, gaiety, and courage.  Thus, the term “animal spirits” is used to describe how people arrive at financial decisions during periods of economic stress or uncertainty.

State Capitalism

State capitalism is an economic system where business and commercial activity is controlled by the state through state-owned enterprises. In a state capitalist environment, the government is the principal actor. It takes an active role in the formation, regulation, and subsidization of businesses to divert capital to state-appointed bureaucrats. In effect, the government uses capital to further its political ambitions or strengthen its leverage on the international stage.

Boom And Bust Cycle

The boom and bust cycle describes the alternating periods of economic growth and decline common in many capitalist economies. The boom and bust cycle is a phrase used to describe the fluctuations in an economy in which there is persistent expansion and contraction. Expansion is associated with prosperity, while the contraction is associated with either a recession or a depression.

Paradox of Thrift

The paradox of thrift was popularised by British economist John Maynard Keynes and is a central component of Keynesian economics. Proponents of Keynesian economics believe the proper response to a recession is more spending, more risk-taking, and less saving. They also believe that spending, otherwise known as consumption, drives economic growth. The paradox of thrift, therefore, is an economic theory arguing that personal savings are a net drag on the economy during a recession.

Circular Flow Model

In simplistic terms, the circular flow model describes the mutually beneficial exchange of money between the two most vital parts of an economy: households, firms and how money moves between them. The circular flow model describes money as it moves through various aspects of society in a cyclical process.

Trade Deficit

Trade deficits occur when a country’s imports outweigh its exports over a specific period. Experts also refer to this as a negative balance of trade. Most of the time, trade balances are calculated based on a variety of different categories.

Market Types

A market type is a way a given group of consumers and producers interact, based on the context determined by the readiness of consumers to understand the product, the complexity of the product; how big is the existing market and how much it can potentially expand in the future.

Rational Choice Theory

Rational choice theory states that an individual uses rational calculations to make rational choices that are most in line with their personal preferences. Rational choice theory refers to a set of guidelines that explain economic and social behavior. The theory has two underlying assumptions, which are completeness (individuals have access to a set of alternatives among they can equally choose) and transitivity.

Conflict Theory

Conflict theory argues that due to competition for limited resources, society is in a perpetual state of conflict.

Peer-to-Peer Economy

The peer-to-peer (P2P) economy is one where buyers and sellers interact directly without the need for an intermediary third party or other business. The peer-to-peer economy is a business model where two individuals buy and sell products and services directly. In a peer-to-peer company, the seller has the ability to create the product or offer the service themselves.


The term “knowledge economy” was first coined in the 1960s by Peter Drucker. The management consultant used the term to describe a shift from traditional economies, where there was a reliance on unskilled labor and primary production, to economies reliant on service industries and jobs requiring more thinking and data analysis. The knowledge economy is a system of consumption and production based on knowledge-intensive activities that contribute to scientific and technical innovation.

Command Economy

In a command economy, the government controls the economy through various commands, laws, and national goals which are used to coordinate complex social and economic systems. In other words, a social or political hierarchy determines what is produced, how it is produced, and how it is distributed. Therefore, the command economy is one in which the government controls all major aspects of the economy and economic production.

Labor Unions

How do you protect your rights as a worker? Who is there to help defend you against unfair and unjust work conditions? Both of these questions have an answer, and it’s a solution that many are familiar with. The answer is a labor union. From construction to teaching, there are labor unions out there for just about any field of work.

Bottom of The Pyramid

The bottom of the pyramid is a term describing the largest and poorest global socio-economic group. Franklin D. Roosevelt first used the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) in a 1932 public address during the Great Depression. Roosevelt noted that – when talking about the ‘forgotten man:’ “these unhappy times call for the building of plans that rest upon the forgotten, the unorganized but the indispensable units of economic power.. that build from the bottom up and not from the top down, that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”


Glocalization is a portmanteau of the words “globalization” and “localization.” It is a concept that describes a globally developed and distributed product or service that is also adjusted to be suitable for sale in the local market. With the rise of the digital economy, brands now can go global by building a local footprint.

Market Fragmentation

Market fragmentation is most commonly seen in growing markets, which fragment and break away from the parent market to become self-sustaining markets with different products and services. Market fragmentation is a concept suggesting that all markets are diverse and fragment into distinct customer groups over time.

L-Shaped Recovery

The L-shaped recovery refers to an economy that declines steeply and then flatlines with weak or no growth. On a graph plotting GDP against time, this precipitous fall combined with a long period of stagnation looks like the letter “L”. The L-shaped recovery is sometimes called an L-shaped recession because the economy does not return to trend line growth.  The L-shaped recovery, therefore, is a recession shape used by economists to describe different types of recessions and their subsequent recoveries. In an L-shaped recovery, the economy is characterized by a severe recession with high unemployment and near-zero economic growth.

Comparative Advantage

Comparative advantage was first described by political economist David Ricardo in his book Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. Ricardo used his theory to argue against Great Britain’s protectionist laws which restricted the import of wheat from 1815 to 1846.  Comparative advantage occurs when a country can produce a good or service for a lower opportunity cost than another country.

Easterlin Paradox

The Easterlin paradox was first described by then professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania Richard Easterlin. In the 1970s, Easterlin found that despite the American economy experiencing growth over the previous few decades, the average level of happiness seen in American citizens remained the same. He called this the Easterlin paradox, where income and happiness correlate with each other until a certain point is reached after at least ten years or so. After this point, income and happiness levels are not significantly related. The Easterlin paradox states that happiness is positively correlated with income, but only to a certain extent.

Economies of Scale

In Economics, Economies of Scale is a theory for which, as companies grow, they gain cost advantages. More precisely, companies manage to benefit from these cost advantages as they grow, due to increased efficiency in production. Thus, as companies scale and increase production, a subsequent decrease in the costs associated with it will help the organization scale further.

Diseconomies of Scale

In Economics, a Diseconomy of Scale happens when a company has grown so large that its costs per unit will start to increase. Thus, losing the benefits of scale. That can happen due to several factors arising as a company scales. From coordination issues to management inefficiencies and lack of proper communication flows.

Economies of Scope

An economy of scope means that the production of one good reduces the cost of producing some other related good. This means the unit cost to produce a product will decline as the variety of manufactured products increases. Importantly, the manufactured products must be related in some way.

Price Sensitivity

Price sensitivity can be explained using the price elasticity of demand, a concept in economics that measures the variation in product demand as the price of the product itself varies. In consumer behavior, price sensitivity describes and measures fluctuations in product demand as the price of that product changes.

Network Effects

In a negative network effect as the network grows in usage or scale, the value of the platform might shrink. In platform business models network effects help the platform become more valuable for the next user joining. In negative network effects (congestion or pollution) reduce the value of the platform for the next user joining. 

Negative Network Effects

In a negative network effect as the network grows in usage or scale, the value of the platform might shrink. In platform business models network effects help the platform become more valuable for the next user joining. In negative network effects (congestion or pollution) reduce the value of the platform for the next user joining. 

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