Dynamic pricing, opportunity or risk

2. October 2018

If you put 1 loaf of bread, say for 1 €, in your shopping basket at the supermarket, you can already experience a surprise at the checkout: Suddenly the price has risen by 5 cents or fallen by 3 cents. The grocery store electronically displays the prices on the shelf and is therefore able to make price changes at any time. At petrol stations, you can observe the ups and downs of prices on a daily basis. Dynamic pricing is the magic word. In online trading, there is already a steady increase in rapid price changes.

Algorithms are in a position to estimate the purchasing power of customers and even to record individualized prices. For solvent buyers it can become thus more expensive, for welfare recipients however more favorable. The problem: market transparency is lost, for competition authorities rather a horror scenario. On the other hand, low-income households could benefit from cheaper offers. It is still worthwhile to compare prices before purchasing.