Advance Selling, Competition, and Brand Substitutability

Working Paper Number: 
WP 16-15

This paper studies the impact of competition on the benefits of advance selling. I construct a two-period price-setting game with heterogeneous consumers and two firms that produce different brands. Some consumers prefer one brand, others prefer the other brand. Consumers derive common value from their preferred brand, but they differ in how strongly they dislike their less preferred brand. I consider the situation in which one firm can offer consumers the opportunity to pre-order its product in advance of the regular selling season. I calculate the benefits of advance selling when this firm faces competition from the other firm in the regular selling season and when it does not.  I show that competition enhances the benefits of advance selling when in the advance selling season consumers are uncertain about which brand they will prefer. Comparative statics analysis with respect to brand substitutability reveals some interesting results. For example, I find that in the competitive setting the firm has greater incentives to advance sell when the brands are more substitutable, while the reverse holds in the monopolistic setting.

JEL Codes: 
C72, D42, D43, L12, L13, M31