# Elasticity vs. Inelasticity of Demand: Here Are The Differences

Last updated 02/08/2023 by

SuperMoney Team

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Summary:
Elasticity and inelasticity of demand refer to the responsiveness of consumers to changes in price. Elastic demand means that consumers will respond strongly to price changes, while inelastic demand means that consumers will not respond as strongly. Understanding elasticity and inelasticity is important for businesses as it can affect their pricing and production decisions.
As inflation continues to increase prices across the board, many of us are starting to look for alternative ways to get the same products for less money. And just as we’re looking for substitutes, business executives are watching our purchasing patterns to determine a product’s elasticity.
But how can a product or service be elastic? And what does this mean for the U.S. economy? Keep reading to learn more about the elasticity of demand, what it means when a product is inelastic, and how these factors influence a business’s production rates.

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## What is the elasticity of demand?

The elasticity of demand refers to how much the quantity demanded of a good or service changes in response to a change in price. If a small change in price leads to a large change in the quantity demanded, the demand is said to be elastic.
This means that consumers are sensitive to price changes and will adjust their purchasing accordingly. For example, if the price of a product increases by 10% and the quantity demanded decreases by 20%, the demand is elastic.

### How can you calculate the elasticity of demand?

You can determine whether a particular good is elastic using the following calculation:
If the resulting number is greater than 1, then the good is elastic. However, if the value is smaller than 1, the good is considered inelastic. If you use this formula with enough examples, you may get a chart that looks something like this.

## What is the inelasticity of demand?

In contrast, inelastic demand refers to a situation where a change in price does not lead to a significant change in the quantity demanded. This means that consumers are not sensitive to price changes and will not adjust their purchasing accordingly.
For example, if the price of a product increases by 10% and the quantity demanded decreases by only 5%, the demand is inelastic. You may commonly see this in the tobacco or prescription drug industry since consumers will likely purchase these goods regardless of price fluctuations.

## What factors affect a product’s elasticity?

There are several factors that can affect the elasticity of demand for a good or service, including:
• Substitutes available. The more substitutes available for a good or service, the more elastic the demand will be. For example, the demand for brand-name aspirin is more elastic than the demand for a life-saving drug because there are many other pain relievers available.
• Proportion of income spent on the good or service. The larger the proportion of a consumer’s income that is spent on a good or service, the more elastic the demand will be. For example, the demand for luxury goods is more elastic than the demand for basic necessities because they make up a smaller proportion of a consumer’s budget.
• Time frame. The longer the time frame, the more elastic the demand will be. For example, the demand for a good or service in the short run may be inelastic, but as consumers have more time to adjust their purchasing habits, the demand may become more elastic.

The elasticity of demand has important implications for businesses as it can affect their pricing and production decisions. If demand is elastic, a small increase in price could lead to a large decrease in the quantity demanded, which means that businesses will need to lower their prices to maintain their sales.
On the other hand, if demand is inelastic, a small increase in price may lead to only a small decrease in the quantity demanded. This means that businesses can increase their prices without losing many customers.

## FAQs

### What are the types of elasticity?

There are four main types of elasticity: price elasticity of demand, cross elasticity of demand, income elasticity of demand, and advertising elasticity of demand. These types are determined by changes in the product’s price, related goods’ prices, income, and advertising expenses, respectively.

### What does a price elasticity of 1.5 indicate?

A price elasticity of 1.5 means that for every 10% decrease in price, there is a 15% increase in quantity demanded (15% / 10% = 1.5).

## Key Takeaways

• The elasticity of demand refers to how much demand for a good or service changes in response to a change in price.
• Inelasticity of demand refers to a situation where a change in price does not lead to a significant change in the quantity demanded.
• Factors that can affect the elasticity of demand for a good or service include the availability of substitutes, the proportion of income spent on the good or service, and the time frame.
• The elasticity of demand has important implications for businesses as it can affect their pricing and production decisions.
• Businesses use this information to make pricing and production decisions.

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