Should You Adjust Your Prices with a Recession Coming?

The idea of a recession coming has become a focal point for economists and business owners this year.

While opinions differ regarding the likelihood of a recession in 2023, it is crucial to assess the signs and be prepared for any economic downturn.

In this post, we will take a look at whether businesses should consider raising their prices with a possible recession coming. We’ll explore insights from industry experts and provide practical advice for navigating these uncertain times.

Yaniv Masjedi
CMO, Nextiva

Their expertise has helped Nextiva grow its brand and overall business

Recession-Proof Pricing

Signs of a Recession Coming

As conversations about a possible recession gain traction, it’s important to consider the economic indicators that experts are monitoring. Though we write this article not from an economist’s perspective, per se, we do see the imminent signs that could point to a recession.

Recent reports indicate a decline in digital ad spend, which serves as a leading indicator of economic instability.

Historically, during periods of financial crisis, businesses tend to reduce their advertising budgets, making this decline worrisome. However, it is crucial to note that these observations are subject to interpretation and further analysis.

The Impact of a Recession on Businesses

To gain a better understanding of the effects of a recession on businesses, let’s examine the experiences shared by industry professionals.

By examining past economic downturns, such as the Financial Crisis in 2008 , we can gain valuable insights into how businesses were affected and identify strategies to navigate potential economic challenges.

The Resilience of Digital Advertising during the Great Financial Crisis

During the Great Recession of 2008, an interesting phenomenon occurred within the realm of digital advertising:


Despite the overall economic turmoil, digital advertising demonstrated resilience due to the injection of increased liquidity into the system. This influx of funds allowed businesses to continue investing in digital marketing efforts.

Platforms like Google, Facebook, and others experienced consistent ad placements, which could only happen if advertisers were purchasing placements.

However, the present economic landscape presents a contrasting scenario. Unlike the previous crisis, the Federal Reserve has been swiftly tightening its policies by rapidly increasing interest rates. This development has led to a heightened sense of uncertainty and apprehension among businesses.

As a result, it has become imperative for organizations to reevaluate their strategies during a recession and adapt to the evolving economic conditions:


It is essential to assess the stability of the supply chain and identify areas for cost optimization.

Recession-Proof Strategies for Thriving Amidst Economic Challenges

While no business can completely shield itself from the impact of a recession, certain strategies can prove resilient against it.

Here are a few strategies that can help organizations thrive despite economic adversities:

  • Diversifying Revenue Streams: Expanding into new markets or diversifying product offerings can help mitigate the impact of a recession.
  • Emphasizing Customer Retention: During an economic downturn, customer loyalty becomes increasingly vital. Prioritizing customer satisfaction and implementing retention strategies can help businesses maintain a stable customer base and generate consistent revenue.
  • Investing in Innovation: Recessions often provide an opportunity for businesses to innovate and adapt. Investing in research and development and exploring new technologies can give organizations a competitive edge during challenging times.
  • Strengthening Financial Reserves: Building a robust financial foundation by maintaining healthy cash flow, reducing debt, and establishing emergency funds is crucial in preparing for potential economic downturns. This financial resilience can provide stability and flexibility to weather the storm.

Related Content: Content Strategy on a Budget: How to Grow Your Online Presence on a Shoestring

Pricing Strategies for a Recession

Considering the uncertain market conditions, it is essential to determine the best approach to pricing during a recession. Let’s cover a few principles you ought to think through before pulling the trigger on any price adjustments in the wake of a recession:

  • Refrain from price increases unless absolutely necessary: Amidst a recession, it is crucial to carefully evaluate the decision to increase prices. Neil Patel, an industry expert, recommends exercising caution and refraining from price hikes unless it becomes an absolute necessity due to rising costs. Instead, businesses should focus on preserving their customer base and stimulating demand through other means.
  • Maintain your current pricing structure: If your costs have not experienced a significant increase, maintaining your current pricing structure is advisable during a recession. By keeping prices steady, businesses can provide a sense of stability to their customers, reinforcing their trust and loyalty. This approach helps maintain competitive positioning in the market while minimizing the risk of losing customers to lower-priced alternatives.
  • Strategically reduce prices: Surprisingly, reducing prices during a recession can be a strategic move to retain customers and stimulate demand. If your costs have decreased, adjusting your pricing downwards can make your products or services more attractive to price-conscious consumers. Lower prices can encourage customers to continue purchasing from your business, even during challenging economic times.
  • Control costs: Effective cost management is a critical aspect of surviving a recession and implementing appropriate pricing strategies. Businesses should closely monitor and control their operating expenses, seeking opportunities for cost optimization without compromising quality or customer experience.
  • Play around with value-based pricing: While pricing adjustments are necessary during a recession, it is essential to focus on value-based pricing. Emphasizing the value your products or services offer to customers can help justify pricing decisions. Communicating the benefits, unique features, and superior quality of your offerings can strengthen the perception of value, even if prices are adjusted.
  • Communicate with customers: Open and transparent communication with customers is crucial during a recession. Informing them about pricing strategies and the reasons behind any adjustments can help foster trust and understanding. Clearly explaining the value they will continue to receive from your products or services, even at adjusted prices, can alleviate concerns and maintain positive customer relationships.

Managing Finances During a Recession

During a recession, effective financial management becomes paramount for businesses aiming to navigate the economic downturn successfully. Here are a few tips for managing your finances during a recession.

Closely Monitor Cash Flow

In times of economic uncertainty, monitoring cash flow becomes essential. Keep a close eye on incoming revenue and outgoing expenses to maintain a clear understanding of your financial position. Consider implementing cash flow forecasting and analysis to anticipate potential cash shortages and take proactive measures to address them.

Prioritize timely collection of accounts receivable and negotiate favorable payment terms with suppliers to ensure a steady cash flow.

Reduce Unnecessary Expenses

Recession calls for a meticulous evaluation of expenses. Review your budget and identify areas where costs can be trimmed without compromising essential operations. Scrutinize discretionary spending and prioritize necessary expenditures.

Consider renegotiating contracts with vendors to secure more favorable terms or explore alternative suppliers who can provide cost savings without sacrificing quality.

Optimize Operational Efficiency

Improving operational efficiency is a key aspect of managing finances during a recession. You may think your current state of operations may be as streamlined as it can be, but economic pressures can quickly help you realize what else can be streamlined. Even minor losses of time can make a big difference in your bottom line. It is best you don’t discover this in the heat of a recession.

Encourage cross-functional collaboration to maximize resource utilization and identify opportunities for cost savings before it’s too late.

Review and Revise Budgets

During a recession, it is crucial to review and revise your budget to align with the changing economic landscape. Assess your revenue projections and adjust them realistically to reflect market conditions.

Reallocate resources to prioritize areas that have a higher potential for generating revenue and profitability. Regularly revisit and revise your budget to ensure that it remains agile and responsive to the evolving needs of your business.

Negotiate Contracts and Seek Cost-Saving Measures

This is a big one. You should be communicative and proactive with your vendors and suppliers. Chances are that a recession will impact them as well, which will likely position them to be understanding of your need to rehash your agreement with them. Find ways to minimize cost obligations between the two of you while still being fair with each other.

Engage in open discussions to renegotiate contracts, seeking favorable terms that align with both your financial goals.

Moreover, explore alternative suppliers who may offer more competitive pricing or incentives. Consolidate purchases to leverage bulk buying power and negotiate discounts. By actively seeking cost-saving measures, businesses can effectively manage their finances during a recession.

Last Thoughts on a Possible Recession Coming

While the speculation of an upcoming recession looms, it is important to stay informed and prepared.

Assessing economic indicators and implementing recession-proof strategies can position your business to wait out the storm and bounce back even stronger when it’s all over.

In the context of prices associated with your business, constant vigilance and adaptability are key. Evaluate the impact of rising costs and consider reducing prices, but only if it aligns with your overall business objectives. So long as you tackle dilemmas with an informed and calculated approach, you can rest knowing you’re not just being reactionary.

Recession-Proof Pricing


Repurposed from our Marketing School podcast.

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