- This paper examines the conditions that make reference price manipulation beneficial to retailers. The paper offers a modelling approach that is based on two distinct dimensions: product category, and degree of market competition. The model shows that reference price manipulation in a competitive market is less beneficial to retailers than it is in a monopolistic market. Reference price manipulation of a specific product is most advantageous to retailers when it is a frequently purchased, low-priced product in a monopolistic market. For an infrequently purchased, high-priced product in a competitive market, reference price manipulation is less beneficial. The analysis gives rise to policy implications that could potentially improve consumer welfare.