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Elasticity of Demand and its Types

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Last updated date: 19th Jul 2024
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Relatively Elastic Demand

Demand that is relatively elastic suggests that a change in the price of a good or service will have an effect on the quantity required of that good or service. A product or service is typically said to have significant price elasticity when there are several replacements available.

Example: You might see salt and a variety of salt alternatives when you browse the aisle at the grocery store. Would you be willing to pay an extra $2 for a bag of salt if there were salt replacements instead if the price of salt increased by $2 per bag tomorrow? Most people would switch from preferring salt to one that contains sugar substitutes, which would lower their demand for pure salt. Since most economists concur, salt is viewed as a good with a high degree of elasticity. 

Relatively Elastic demand

Relatively Elastic demand

Relatively Inelastic Demand 

Petrol is one product whose price is thought to be relatively inelastic. Both consumers and businesses need gas to prosper in our market. Despite the march toward alternative fuels, there are still a lot of individuals who depend on petrol for everyday needs and are unable or unlikely to switch to alternative fuels as a workable replacement.

Would you still report to work tomorrow if petrol prices rose by 30%? Most individuals will pay more because they have to. There are, of course, exceptions. Prices rose to a national average peak of almost $4.10 per petrol  during the oil and gas bubble in 2008, and customers adjusted their behaviour by requesting less gas. Some analysts believed that the sharp recession that occurred in late 2008 and 2009 was caused by this shift in demand.An excellent example of a relatively inelastic demand is found in luxury items like TVs and designer labels.

Example: A well-known slipper company sells 2,000 pairs of their flagship model, which retails for $100, each month. The company chooses to cut the cost of the slipper by 20%, from $100 to $80. At the current price, which represents a 25% increase, it starts selling 2,500 pairs per month. Given that the 25 % rise in demand exceeds the 20 percent variation in cost, slippers are considered to be relatively elastic.

Relatively inelastic demand

Relatively Inelastic Demand

Types of Elasticity of Demand

Elasticity of demand is classified into three types based on the many elements that influence the quantity desired for a product: price elasticity of demand (PED), cross elasticity of demand (XED), and income elasticity of demand (IED) (YED).

1)Price Elasticity of Demand (PED)

The quantity requested for a product is affected by any change in the price of a commodity, whether it be a drop or an increase. For example, as the price of ceiling fans rises, the quantity requested decreases.

The Price Elasticity of Demand is a measure of the responsiveness of quantity sought when prices vary (PED).

The mathematical formula for calculating Price Elasticity of Demand is as follows:

  • PED = %Change in Quantity Demanded % / Change in Price.

  • The formula's output determines the magnitude of the influence of a price adjustment on the amount required for a commodity.

2). Income Elasticity of Demand (YED)

Consumer income levels have a significant impact on the amount requested for a product. This may be seen in the contrast between commodities sold in rural marketplaces and those sold in urban markets.

The Income Elasticity of Demand, commonly known as YED, refers to the sensitivity of the quantity requested for a certain commodity to changes in real income (the income generated by a person after accounting for inflation) of the consumers who buy this good, while all other variables remain constant.

The formula for calculating the Income Elasticity of Demand is as follows:

  • YED = % Change in Quantity Demanded% / Change in Income

The formula's output may be used to assess if a product is a need or a luxury item.

3. Cross Elasticity of Demand (XED)

In an oligopolistic market, numerous companies compete. Thus, the amount desired for a commodity is affected not only by its own price, but also by the prices of other items.

Cross Elasticity of Demand (XED) is an economic term that assesses the sensitivity of quantity requested of one good (X) when the price of another item (Y) changes, and is also known as Cross-Price Elasticity of Demand.

The formula for calculating the Cross Elasticity of Demand is as follows:

  • XED = (% Change in Quantity Demanded for one good (X)%) / (Change in Price of another Good (Y))

The result for a substitute good would always be positive since anytime the price of an item rises, so does the demand for its alternative. In the case of a complementary good, however, the outcome will be negative.

Relatively Elastic Demand Example

The majority of necessities tend to be very inelastic.

Example : A youtube business with 50,000 subscribers offers a service for $100 a year. The corporation increases the subscription service's cost by 30%, from $100 per year to $130. The company now has 52,000 users, a 4 % increase after the price rise. The service is comparatively inelastic because the price increased by 30% while the demand increased by only 4%.


Economists attempt to quantify the degree to which demand is sensitive to changes in price for a particular good using the concept of price elasticity of demand. This assessment can be helpful in predicting consumer behaviour as well as big occurrences like an economic recession or recovery. Every day, as customers, we make choices that economists track. We may consume less of a good or none at all if its price rises and we can survive without it, there are many replacements, or both. Despite price hikes, we will continue to demand large amounts of water, medicine, and gasoline as needed.

FAQs on Elasticity of Demand and its Types

1. Illustrate any three factors that affect the price elasticity of demand for commodities?

The three factors are:

  1. A number of substitutes of goods: In this, the goods which are close substitutes are relatively more elastic. As we see if the price of such goods rises, the consumers have an alternative of shifting to its substitutes. Goods that have fewer substitutes such as cigarettes have less elastic and inelastic demand. 

  2. The proportion of income spent on goods: In this, the consumers who spend their small portion of the income will have an inelastic demand. The goods on which the consumer spends a large portion of their income tend to have more elastic demand.

  3. Nature of the commodity: Ordinary items like salt, matchbox, etc. have less elastic demand whereas luxuries like an air conditioner, cost furniture have more elasticity of demand.

2. Explain any two types of elasticity of demand.

Any two types of elasticity are:

  1. Income Elasticity of Demand: Income is one of the factors that influence the demand for a product. The degree of responsiveness of a change in demand for the product of the change in demand for a product due to a change in income is known as income of elasticity. More income means more demand and vice versa.

  2. Cross Elasticity of Demand:  It is defined as a change in the quantity of demand for one commodity to the change in the quantity of demand to other commodities is called cross elasticity of demand. Usually, these types of demand arise with the involvement of interrelated goods such as substitutes and complementary goods.

3. Does relatively elastic demand exceed 1?

When the proportionate change in demand exceeds the proportionate change in the good's price, the demand is said to be relatively elastic. The range of moderately elastic demand's numerical value is from one to infinity.In a market with relatively elastic demand, if a thing's price goes up by 25%, demand for that good must correspondingly decline by more than 25%.

4. What is an example of a relatively inelastic product?

The price elasticity table contains commodities such as salt, medical care, nicotine products, and fuel. The majority of requirements are highly inelastic. A software company with 50,000 customers that provides a service for $100 per year is an example. The firm increased the cost of the membership service by 30%, increasing the yearly fee to $130. Following the price hike, the corporation's subscribers increased by 4%, or by 52,000. The service is rather inelastic since demand increased by 4% while prices increased by 30%.

5. What does the economic term "relatively inelastic" mean?

According to the definition of relatively inelastic, relatively big increases in price result in relatively little changes in quantity. To put it another way, quantity does not respond very well to price. More specifically, the quantity change as a percentage is smaller than the price change as a %. When consumers have a limited number of imperfect alternatives to select from, the demand for a good or service is relatively inelastic. Similar to this, relatively inelastic supply happens when producers can only manufacture items by dividing their resources among a limited number of subpar alternatives.