Distinguishing Pricing Decisions from Currency Fluctuations


Tim J. Smith, PhD
Founder and CEO, Wiglaf Pricing

Published November 30, 2021

The impact of pricing decisions on corporate performance is hard to detect.  More so when a company is operating globally, and currency exchange rates fluctuate.  Enter the Price-Volume-Cost-Mix-Currency Analysis.

Price capture at the global level can rise or fall with currency fluctuations at the local level. And currency exchange rates can go up or down and fluctuate wildly or predictably.  For instance, between November 27, 2020, and November 26, 2021, the Turkish Lira has fallen against the US Dollar 32%, the Argentine Peso has fallen against the US Dollar 16%, and the Canadian Dollar has risen against the US Dollar 1.6%.

How should the price of a cannister of Pringles or a box of Barilla respond to these currency changes?  Or, more importantly to investors, how did the price respond?

The Price-Volume-Cost-Mix-Currency Analysis provides an approach to discern the impact of changes in price, volume, variable costs, mix, and currency on a global company’s profitability.  It does so in a manner which provides mirror symmetry in time of the measured impacts of these marketing variables, ensures that the sum of individual measurements equal the overall change in profitability, and provides sufficient clarity to discern the impact of decisions on firm performance.

In “Profit bridges that disambiguate impacts of currency fluctuations from other marketing variables”, a new practice article in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, a Price-Volume-Cost-Mix-Currency Analysis is conducted at the corporate and business unit levels. An example measurement shows the impact of changes in volume (IQG), prices (IPG), variable costs (IVG), mix (IMG), and exchange rates (IEG).

Prior researchers have provided a competing approach to conducting these calculations.  However, these earlier equations failed to deliver mirror symmetry in time.  As such, they provide measurements akin to that of measuring the change in temperature between two days of +2 °C with the same humidity and windspeed as being due to +4 °C change due to sunshine and -2 °C change due to humidity and windspeed, but a -2 °C change with the same humidity and windspeed as being due to a -1 °C change in sunshine and a -1 °C change due to humidity and windspeed.  That would be absurd.  The more recent set of equations correct that error.

Now you can systematically and reliable distinguish pricing actions from currency fluctuations on profit performance.

About The Author

Tim J. Smith, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Wiglaf Pricing, an Adjunct Professor of Marketing and Economics at DePaul University, and the author of Pricing Done Right (Wiley 2016) and Pricing Strategy (Cengage 2012). At Wiglaf Pricing, Tim leads client engagements. Smith’s popular business book, Pricing Done Right: The Pricing Framework Proven Successful by the World’s Most Profitable Companies, was noted by Dennis Stone, CEO of Overhead Door Corp, as "Essential reading… While many books cover the concepts of pricing, Pricing Done Right goes the additional step of applying the concepts in the real world." Tim’s textbook, Pricing Strategy: Setting Price Levels, Managing Price Discounts, & Establishing Price Structures, has been described by independent reviewers as “the most comprehensive pricing strategy book” on the market. As well as serving as the Academic Advisor to the Professional Pricing Society’s Certified Pricing Professional program, Tim is a member of the American Marketing Association and American Physical Society. He holds a BS in Physics and Chemistry from Southern Methodist University, a BA in Mathematics from Southern Methodist University, a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Chicago, and an MBA with high honors in Strategy and Marketing from the University of Chicago GSB.