price war


Definition of price war 

: commercial competition characterized by the repeated cutting of prices below those of competitors

Examples of price war in a Sentence

The airlines are engaged in another price war.

Recent Examples on the Web

Chasing Growth Jio's subscribers and market share have expanded, but an industrywide price war has cut into revenue. Newley Purnell, WSJ, "Two Years Ago, India Lacked Fast, Cheap Internet—One Billionaire Changed All That," 5 Sep. 2018 But a glut of tonnage in the water and vicious price wars have pushed freight rates well below break-even levels over the past few years, sinking most operators deeply into the red and pushing some out of business. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Japan Catches Up With Shipping Consolidation," 11 May 2018 Bluegogo halted operations last November, a year after its founding, due to a capital crunch amid stiff price wars. Clay Chandler, Fortune, "Hollywood's China Challenge," 6 Jan. 2018 But price wars there have caused heavy losses and oversupply of bikes. Eliot Brown, WSJ, "Scoot Over: A Two-Wheeled Gold Rush in Silicon Valley," 15 June 2018 The recent rebound was widely expected because inflation declined in March 2017, caused by a price war between wireless phone carriers. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "Fed Holds Rates Steady, but Indicates Increases Will Continue," 2 May 2018 The industry-wide price war has netted billions of dollars in annual savings for investors, as costs drop for everything from trading to financial advice and the annual expense for investing in funds. Stan Choe,, "Investing gets even cheaper: Vanguard cuts ETF commissions," 2 July 2018 Grocers are engaging in price wars over milk — the price of which is often advertised to lure consumers into the store. Kate Talerico, The Courier-Journal, "As Dean Milk contract ends, some farmers pick up a last-minute hope," 29 June 2018 But even the Chinese company's billions might not last forever in an all-out price war. Mark Harris, WIRED, "The Bike Share War Is Shaking Up Seattle Like Nowhere Else," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'price war.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of price war

1895, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for price war

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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The first known use of price war was in 1895

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More Definitions for price war

price war


Financial Definition of price war

What It Is

A price war is an event whereby two or more companies continually lower prices to undercut each other.

How It Works

Airline companies are famous for their price wars. If Airline XYZ cuts the price of a flight from Los Angeles to New York from $800 to $700, Airline ABC, which is competing for business on that route, might cut its fare to $650. Airline XYZ might respond by lowering its fair to $625, and so on.

Why It Matters

Engaging in a price war is a competitive strategy, usually to capture market share. Falling prices tend to attract more customers. Some companies may choose to sell a product or service at a loss, however, in order to capture market share and outwin competitors. In some cases, this might lead to antitrust violations.

Source: Investing Answers

price war


English Language Learners Definition of price war

: a situation in which companies or stores compete with each other by lowering their prices on goods or services in order to attract more customers

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