I have 2 numbers:

Average monthly sales volume for 2015 (Jan to Dec): 1,000

Average monthly sales volume for 2016 YTD (Jan and Feb): 1,200

If I want to compare these 2 numbers with a % change, is it a YOY comparison?

Or, is it a 2015 year-end average compared to 2016 year-to-date average?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have entire data from Jan, 2015 to Feb, 2016? $\endgroup$ – Neeraj Feb 21 '16 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ Sales normally show upward trend over the period of time. If this is true then you can not use two month average of 2016 to calculate annual growth period from 2015. $\endgroup$ – Neeraj Feb 21 '16 at 20:05

You can compute a variation by making assumptions. The simplest way is to assume that the last known figure (here, your monthly sales volume for jan-feb 2016) is going to stay constant until the end of the period. This calculation is often used to compute GDP variations and is called carry-over. However, you should consider that this figure is not really significant: a lot can happen until the end of the year.

The result will not be a Year on Year calculation, and I do not believe that a year average vs 2 months average makes much sense as you compared potentially volatile figures observed over periods with different lengths.

  • $\begingroup$ Would it make more sense to do a Jan - Feb 2015 and Jan - Feb 2016 comparison of average monthly sales volume? Would this be a YOY comparison or YTD comparison? $\endgroup$ – Harper Feb 21 '16 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ That would make sense and it would be a Year on Year comparison (of the first two months of each year) $\endgroup$ – Hector Feb 21 '16 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Hector It would not be year on year comparison of even of first two month. Because, average sales of 2015 is not average of first two month of 2015. $\endgroup$ – Neeraj Feb 21 '16 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Neeraj my understanding was that he would use another figure for jan-feb 2015, not the full year average. $\endgroup$ – Hector Feb 21 '16 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ Hector & Neeraj: I would just use Jan-Feb 2015 average volume and do a YOY comparison with Jan-Feb 2016. Thanks for input. $\endgroup$ – Harper Feb 21 '16 at 20:50

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