What Is a Price Maker: A Comprehensive Guide

By Thomas Bennett Financial expert at Priceva
Published on March 30, 2023
A company that controls market prices for its goods and services without losing clients is referred to as a price maker. Such a company has a monopoly on the market since there aren't any alternatives or competitors, which gives it the power to change production in order to influence the prices of the products it sells. This guide explains in detail what price makers are, provides examples, and helps you understand how to cope with this phenomenon.

Price Maker Definition

A company that sets its own prices for its products because there are no alternatives on the market is known as a price maker. They are often monopolies or businesses that create items or services that are unique and cannot be replaced by rivals.

Because it will only raise output when its marginal income exceeds its marginal cost, or when it is making a profit, the price maker serves to maximize profits.

Monopolies and price makers

Monopolies and price makers usually appear on the market when there is a complete lack of competition. Experts claim that in this situation, a competitive market is unattainable. This implies that the current business environment and methods of determining market prices tend to cause monopolies and price setters to arise. That is why it is essential to use product differentiation as a defense against market monopolies. With such a strategy, customers can pick from a variety of items, and sellers are forced to raise product quality in order to stand out from the competition.

Limiting the influence of monopolies is a crucial component of allowing price makers to operate. There have been several occasions where weak competition caused companies with dominant pricing to take advantage of the situation. When a small number of economic participants in the market dominate demand, they are free to establish any prices they see fit. Many companies that operate in monopolistic contexts set insufficient pricing in accordance with the maximization of profit theory. To prevent monopolies, governments adopt rules and restrictions.

Considering the aforementioned, we can assume that monopolies cause price makers. Therefore, markets must prevent imperfect competition caused by a small number of companies who have complete control over the industry.

Perfect vs. Imperfect Competition

Because perfect competition is a theoretical concept built on assumptions, it seldom occurs in the actual world market. A market with perfect competition includes many sellers offering comparable goods or services to many clients. In the case of perfect competition, there are numerous customers and sellers, as well as identical goods being supplied. The price is set by market supply and demand, and businesses are free to come and go as they wish.

Farmers' markets are an excellent illustration of perfect competition because there are typically multiple fruit and vegetable stalls with the same goods. No matter what stand you approach, you can get the same basket of apples for $5. The market dictates pricing conditions, which is why sellers operating in conditions of perfect competition become price takers.

When it comes to imperfect competition, companies usually exert a significant impact on the cost of their goods with the goal of continuously maximizing profits. Real-world competition is usually imperfect, and it is present in practically every sector of the economy. Price makers are brands that conduct business in marketplaces with limited levels of competition.

Price Maker Examples

While we are mostly concerned with price making in the context of the retail industry, any business can become a price maker regardless of the niche – it must merely offer something unique. Here are a few various examples of how companies and manufacturers become price makers.

Company N and its patented lights

Assume, for instance, that Company N manufactures a tool that can change red traffic lights to green. It has a patent on the technique, and no other businesses have been able to create products that are comparable. The "Red Light Green Light" gadget sells for $1,000, yet only costs $250 to produce (representing a 75% gross profit margin). Since only 50,000 units are produced by Company N annually, there is a huge demand for the product.

Company N is able to set the price of the item since there is no competition, and there is a high level of profit and demand. If there is continued demand for the gadget, the company can increase the price to $2,000 or even more in its capacity as a price maker.

Price making with shares

Safe Traders Inc. is an affluent brokerage house. It owns stock in a variety of well-known corporations. One day, it notices that the stock price of Company N has touched the support level. It starts buying as many of Company N’s shares as it can in the hopes of quickly selling them at the resistance level.

Safe Traders Inc. decides to sell the securities at the predetermined price as soon as the stocks hit the resistance level, and it becomes the major shareholder. As a result of its ability to influence the price of Company N securities, Safe Traders Inc. has evolved into a sort of price maker.


Pharmaceutical leaders – Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna – were the first to develop coronavirus vaccines and deliver them to every corner of the globe. They became market leaders thanks to the high speed of manufacturing, but these businesses also have considerable market power and the ability to control vaccination prices since they have patents on their products. As a result, they became the worldwide vaccination market's price setters.

According to an article by reliefweb, Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna each earned $65,000 per minute. Furthermore, these price setters neglected the interests of low-income states in favor of profit-maximizing agreements with wealthy nations.

Google and Apple

An ecosystem of mobile applications is now available on the Play Store thanks to Google's Android mobile operating system. Hence, it demands license payments from firms that produce mobile devices. As a result, it may raise prices without being constrained by users, mobile device manufacturers, or even competitors.

Similarly, Apple dominates the smartphone market in the US and other wealthy countries with the iPhone. By lowering output, it raises its price without giving customers or rivals a second thought. As is clear, market leaders with distinctive patented goods and software, like Apple and Google, may set prices.

Empower Your Business with Priceva's Price Tracking Solution
Take charge of your pricing strategy with Priceva's powerful price tracking tools.

Price maker diagram

The price maker diagram above includes a number of crucial elements. Price and quantity demanded are inversely correlated. Every company that has a decreasing slope in the demand curve can be classified as a price maker. This indicates that the diagram depends on the element of demand, because the price power may be weak in such a situation.

Therefore, the quantity of alternatives and the price elasticity of demand have a direct impact on any company’s pricing power in such a situation. Sellers with a flat demand curve, on the other hand, lack the pricing power necessary to become price makers.

One can ascertain if a market's economic participants have sufficient pricing power to set the market price based on the given demand inside that market.

Without alternatives, demand will be strong, which is the ideal environment for monopolies and price gouging to form. From a demand standpoint, the demand curve of a monopoly equalizes with the demand curve of the whole industry. It becomes possible because there is just one producer on the market.

It's interesting to note that monopolies can intentionally adjust production in order to control pricing. If a corporation that sets prices decides to raise prices, it can cut production, which would increase demand.

Adverse effects of a price maker phenomenon

Understanding the essential aspects of a price maker allows one to understand the phenomenon's main negative aspects, including the following:

  • Inadequate pricing for goods and services result from the rise of price makers who are motivated by profit maximization.
  • Companies have the power to regulate demand and output in a market with significant entry barriers.
  • In a situation of imperfect market competition, there is not enough governmental regulation to prevent businesses from becoming monopolies.
  • Product quality may degrade when companies are free to determine their own prices because the focus shifts to quantity and speculative pricing.

The price maker phenomenon is damaging as a result of these considerations. Competition is essential for any market. Demand and production shouldn't be completely in the hands of a single company.

Price Maker vs. Price Taker

It depends on the market's structure, but price makers and takers are usually opposed to one another. Indeed, there are a lot of distinctions between them:

  • Price takers are active in a market with perfect competition, but price makers are more common in a market with imperfect competition, such as a monopoly.
  • A price maker is free to decide how much its goods and services will cost. Price takers must accept the market price instead of putting their own price on the table.
  • Price makers are industry leaders with distinctive goods. With price takers, however, this is not the case.
  • The demand curve for the industry is decided by the price maker, but the demand curve for the price taker is decided by the industry.


When it comes to price makers, they usually exist in markets where monopolies are possible; however, markets with imperfect competition shouldn't exist. It is necessary to expose businesses to competition and diversity. Also, governments must enact rules to prevent businesses from manipulating demand and pricing in an effort to maximize profits.

If you run a retail store, you can also be a price maker if you happen to launch a unique product. In this case, though, you will need to track how much resellers charge for your goods. This is where Priceva’s MAP monitoring tool can simplify the task: the software tracks pricing information in real time and notifies the user in case of MAP price violations. Automation makes easier than ever before!


Does a price maker exist in a monopoly?

Yes, price makers can set prices in case of a monopoly, when there are no competitors or alternative products. The monopolist can charge any prices they want, because customers will be forced to make a purchase – they don’t have any choice.

Can any business be a price maker?

Yes, any business can be a price maker, as long as they offer something unique and irreplaceable. Regardless of the niche, price makers are companies that become monopolists.

Do regulators condone price making?

No, their job is to keep prices fair, so they can take measures against monopolies to reduce their influence on the market.

Empower Your Business with Priceva's Price Tracking Solution
Take charge of your pricing strategy with Priceva's powerful price tracking tools.
More to explore