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Underpricing refers to the practice of issuing new stocks or other securities at an initial price that is lower than its intrinsic or real value. This typically happens during an Initial Public Offering (IPO) where the issuing company intentionally sets the price lower than market value to stimulate demand and ensure all shares are sold. The strategy often results in a significant price jump on the first day of trading.


The phonetics of the word “Underpricing” is /ˌʌndərˈpraɪsɪŋ/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Essence of Underpricing: Underpricing is a common business strategy where a company deliberately sets the introductory price of its product or service lower than the market rate to attract customers. This competitive pricing can drive interest and demand, meaning that despite the lower price, companies can potentially gain more in volume.
  2. Risk and Reward: While underpricing can be a powerful way to attract customers and gain initial market share, it can also come with some significant risks. If it isn’t balanced with a suitable strategy to eventually increase prices, it could result in revenue loss, and it could be potentially damaging if customers are not willing to absorb the price hikes. Furthermore, it might also create a perception that the product is of lower quality.
  3. Role in IPOs: Underpricing is often seen in Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), where companies might intentionally set the share price lower to ensure full subscription and generate a positive momentum for their stocks. While this can lead to substantial first-day gains, it can also leave ‘money on the table’; meaning the company might have missed out on raising more capital.


Underpricing is a significant term in business and finance because it refers to the practice of listing an initial public offering (IPO) at a price less than its market value. This strategy is considered important because it can help companies generate interest and create a buying frenzy among investors, which can boost the stock’s price in the secondary market. However, while underpricing can be a successful short-term strategy to draw attention and liquidity, it has a trade-off as the company might not raise as much capital as it could have if the shares were priced higher. Therefore, understanding the concept of underpricing allows businesses to formulate a balanced IPO pricing plan that maximizes both investor interest and capital raised.


Underpricing is an intentional pricing strategy predominantly utilized during initial public offerings (IPOs) by businesses. It serves as a tactical move aimed at attracting substantial investor interest and ensuring the shares are fully taken up by the market. By setting the offer price lower than the expected market price, companies create an immediate potential for profit, which encourages investors to participate in the IPO. This can result in a flurry of trading activity as investors scramble to buy, which inevitably helps to drive up the share price post-listing. Additionally, underpricing can work as a type of insurance for the issuing company against the possibility the market won’t fully subscribe to their shares at a higher price. A scenario that leads to undersubscription can be unfavorable for the company, considering it could lead to raised concerns about its market value and performance. Therefore, underpricing mitigates the risk of undersubscription, ensures funds are raised effectively in the IPO, and supports the attainment of a positive market sentiment.


1. Alibaba’s IPO: When Alibaba Group went public in the United States in 2014, the shares were priced at $68. However, the stock opened at $92.70 on its first day of trading, a difference of more than 36% from the IPO price. This indicated that the shares were initially underpriced, which left a lot of money on the table that could have been captured by Alibaba had the initial price been set higher. 2. Google’s IPO: Google’s initial public offering in 2004 is another example. Google initially priced its shares at $85 each. On the first day of trading, shares closed at approximately $100, representing a near 15% jump. The underpricing resulted in a boost for investors who were able to secure shares at the IPO price but meant less initial capital for Google to invest. 3. Twitter’s IPO: In 2013, Twitter set the price for its IPO at $26 per share. On the first day of trading, those shares closed at $44.90, indicating that they had been underpriced by nearly 73%. This represents a significant gap, allowing those who bought in at the IPO price to make a substantial profit on the first day. However, it also indicates that Twitter could have raised significantly more capital in their IPO had they priced their shares accurately.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Underpricing?
Underpricing is a pricing strategy in which a company or an individual initially sells its securities, assets, or goods and services at a price below their actual market value or the minimum attainable price.
What are common examples of Underpricing?
A common example of underpricing is when a business sets the initial public offering (IPO) price of its shares lower than the price range indicated by the market’s demand.
Why would a company choose to underprice its securities or products?
A company may choose to underprice its securities or products to attract more customers or create market buzz. Additionally, in terms of IPOs, underpricing is often used to ensure successful selling of all issued shares.
What are the potential drawbacks of Underpricing?
The potential drawbacks of underpricing include the company not realizing the full value of its securities, products, or services, and this can ultimately lead to a decrease in potential earnings.
Are the effects of Underpricing always negative?
Not always, the effects of underpricing can sometimes be positive. For instance, if a company’s IPO is underpriced, it can generate a significant amount of interest and demand, leading to a successful launch of the offering and potentially creating initial growth in share price.
How can Underpricing affect investors?
Investors who can acquire underpriced securities stand to make a profit if the market corrects the price upwards. However, if many investors attempt this, competition can push the price up too rapidly.
How is Underpricing detected in the market?
Determining underpricing requires an in-depth analysis of the company’s financial health, the intrinsic value of the security, or comprehensive market research for products or services. It’s often detected after the security is traded in the open market or when a product or service’s sales outpace projections significantly.
How common is Underpricing in financial markets?
Underpricing is fairly common in financial markets, particularly with IPOs. Newly listed companies often price their shares conservatively to attract investors and ensure the successful launch of the IPO.

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