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demandthe amount of a product which is purchased at a particular price at a particular point in time. A demand curve is a line showing the relationship between the price of a product and the quantity demanded per time period over a range of possible prices. Demand curves are usually downward sloping, indicating that as the price of the product falls, more is demanded. The extent to which the demand for a product will increase as price falls (and the extent to which demand will drop if the price rises) depends on the product's price-ELASTICITY OF DEMAND. The demand for a product, however, is determined also by a variety of non-price factors. A demand function attempts to incorporate all the factors that have a statistically. significant influence on demand for example, consumers' incomes, the prices of substitute products, advertising, etc. Demand curves will shift if any of these factors change over time.
In practice, firms are unable to derive definitive demand curves because of incomplete information. For this reason many firms use a COST-BASED PRICING formula for determining prices, but allow for the influence of demand by varying the profit mark-up (see DEMAND-BASED PRICING, COMPETITION-BASED PRICING).
There are various methods a firm can use to ‘forecast’ demand, including time series analysis, barometric indicators and econometric models. See SALES FORECASTING.