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Factors Affecting Demand

Factors Affecting Demand

Even though the focus in economics is on the relationship between the price of a product and how much consumers are willing and able to buy, it is important to examine all of the factors that affect the demand for a good or service.

These factors include:

Price of the Product

There is an inverse (negative) relationship between the price of a product and the amount of that product consumers are willing and able to buy. Consumers want to buy more of a product at a low price and less of a product at a high price. This inverse relationship between price and the amount consumers are willing and able to buy is often referred to as The Law of Demand.  

The Consumer’s Income

The effect that income has on the amount of a product that consumers are willing and able to buy depends on the type of good we’re talking about. For most goods, there is a positive (direct) relationship between a consumer’s income and the amount of the good that one is willing and able to buy. In other words, for these goods when income rises the demand for the product will increase; when income falls, the demand for the product will decrease. We call these types of goods normal goods.

However, for some goods the effect of a change in income is the reverse. For example, think about a low-quality (high fat-content) ground beef. You might buy this while you are a student, because it is inexpensive relative to other types of meat. But if your income increases enough, you might decide to stop buying this type of meat and instead buy leaner cuts of ground beef, or even give up ground beef entirely in favor of beef tenderloin. If this were the case (that as your income went up, you were willing to buy less high-fat ground beef), there would be an inverse relationship between your income and your demand for this type of meat. We call this type of good an inferior good. There are two important things to keep in mind about inferior goods. They are not necessarily low-quality goods. The term inferior (as we use it in economics) just means that there is an inverse relationship between one’s income and the demand for that good. Also, whether a good is normal or inferior may be different from person to person. A product may be a normal good for you, but an inferior good for another person.