What is Sales Volume Variance?

Sales Volume Variance

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Sales Volume Variance

Sales Volume Variance is a metric used in management accounting and variance analysis to measure the difference between the actual number of units sold and the expected (or budgeted) sales volume, valued at the standard profit or contribution margin per unit. This variance helps managers understand whether actual sales performance matches forecasted sales in terms of quantity.

The formula to calculate Sales Volume Variance is:

Sales Volume Variance = (Actual Quantity Sold − Budgeted Quantity) × Standard Profit per Unit


  • Actual Quantity Sold is the actual number of units sold during a period.
  • Budgeted Quantity is the number of units that were expected to be sold (based on forecasts, budgets, or plans).
  • Standard Profit per Unit is the budgeted profit for each unit sold.

The variance can be either favorable (F) or unfavorable (U):

  • Favorable (F): When the actual number of units sold is higher than the budgeted number, leading to higher profits than anticipated.
  • Unfavorable (U): When the actual number of units sold is lower than the budgeted number, resulting in lower profits than planned.

Example of Sales Volume Variance

et’s delve deeper into sales volume variance with a detailed, fictional scenario:


HappyBakes, a popular bakery in town, introduced a new flavor of muffin – Blueberry Bliss. They forecasted the sale of these muffins for the upcoming month based on their market research.

Budgeted Information:

  • Budgeted sales: 5,000 muffins
  • Standard profit per muffin: $2 (This is the profit they earn on each muffin after accounting for costs.)

However, the month’s end revealed the actual sales data:

  • Actual sales: 5,800 muffins

Now, let’s calculate the Sales Volume Variance:

Step 1: Determine the difference in sales volume.
Difference = Actual Quantity Sold – Budgeted Quantity
Difference = 5,800 muffins – 5,000 muffins
Difference = 800 muffins

Step 2: Multiply this difference by the standard profit per unit.
Sales Volume Variance = Difference x Standard Profit per Unit
Sales Volume Variance = 800 muffins x $2/muffin
Sales Volume Variance = $1,600

The positive variance indicates that HappyBakes experienced a favorable sales volume variance of $1,600 for the month. This means they earned an additional profit of $1,600 due to selling 800 more muffins than they had initially projected.

This example illustrates how businesses can use sales volume variance to understand how their actual sales quantities compare to their projections and the financial implications of these discrepancies.

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