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Trading Terms

YOY (Year-Over-Year): What is it?

3D graph depicting YOY business growth on a gray background.

A time comes when investors want to figure out if things are getting better or worse in an investment they made. Let's say you invested in Bitcoin when Bitcoin price was at $10,000. Now, you're wondering how it's performing compared to last year at the same time. This is where Year-Over-Year (YOY) analysis becomes invaluable. But why does this comparison matter, and how does it help investors? Let's dive into what it is and why it matters.

YOY - What is year-over-year?

Year-over-year (YOY) is a financial term used to compare data or performance from one period to the same period in the previous year. It's a common method for analysing trends and assessing growth or decline in various metrics such as revenue, sales, expenses, or any other measurable factor.

What is YOY used for?

Year-over-year (YOY) comparisons are used in various contexts across industries for several purposes:

  • Financial analysis: YOY comparisons are widely used in financial analysis to evaluate a company's performance over time. By comparing financial metrics such as revenue, profit, expenses, and margins from one year to the next, analysts can assess the company's growth trajectory, profitability, and financial health.
  • Business performance: YOY comparisons help businesses monitor their performance and track progress towards their goals. They provide insights into whether the business is growing, stagnating, or declining compared to the previous year, which can inform strategic decisions and resource allocation.
  • Market trends: YOY comparisons are used to analyse broader market trends and industry performance. By examining YOY changes in key indicators such as sales volumes, consumer spending, or housing prices, analysts can identify patterns, cyclical trends, and potential areas of opportunity or risk.
  • Seasonal adjustments: YOY comparisons are valuable for adjusting data for seasonal variations. For businesses affected by seasonal fluctuations, comparing performance to the same period in the previous year helps to account for seasonal factors and provides a more accurate assessment of underlying trends.
  • Investment analysis: Investors use YOY comparisons to evaluate the performance of stocks, mutual funds, or other investments over time. By comparing financial metrics and key performance indicators on a year-over-year basis, investors can assess investment returns, growth prospects, and relative performance compared to benchmarks or competitors.

How do you calculate YOY?

Calculating year-over-year (YOY) growth or change is quite straightforward. You follow this simple formula:

Year-over-Year (YOY) is determined by dividing the value of the current year by the value of the prior year and then subtracting one: (current year ÷ prior year) - 1. Let's break it down with an example.

YOY example

For example, if you want to calculate the YOY growth rate of a company's revenue:

If the revenue for the current year (this year) is $500,000 and for the prior year (last year) was $400,000,

Plug the values into the formula: (500,000÷400,000)−1

Calculate: (1.25)−1=0.25 and multiply by 100 to get the amount in percentage format.

The YOY growth rate in this case is 25%.

YOY vs QoQ: Differences

Here's a comparison table outlining the differences between Year-over-Year (YOY) and Quarter-over-Quarter (QoQ):

Aspect YOY QoQ
Meaning Measures change in a metric from the same period in the previous year. Measures change in a metric from the previous quarter.
Timeframe Compares data from the current year to the corresponding period in the previous year. Compares data from the current quarter to the immediately preceding quarter.
Calculation Formula (Current Year ÷ Prior Year) - 1 (Current Quarter ÷ Prior Quarter) - 1
Example Revenue in Q1 2024 vs. Revenue in Q1 2023 Revenue in Q2 2024 vs. Revenue in Q1 2024
Usefulness Useful for identifying long-term trends and seasonality. Useful for monitoring short-term performance and identifying emerging patterns.


While YOY analysis provides valuable insights, it's essential to consider other factors that may influence the results, such as changes in market conditions, economic factors, and one-time events. Additionally, YOY comparisons may not always capture short-term fluctuations or the impact of sudden changes in the business environment.

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1. What does Year-over-Year (YOY) mean?

Year-over-Year (YOY) refers to a method of comparing data or metrics for a specific period in the current year with the same period in the previous year. It helps in understanding the growth or decline of a variable over time.

2. How is YOY calculated?

YOY is calculated by taking the value of a metric for the current year, dividing it by the value for the same period in the previous year, and then subtracting one. The formula is: (Current Year Value ÷ Prior Year Value) - 1.

3. What type of data is commonly analysed using YOY comparisons?

YOY analysis can be applied to various types of data, including financial metrics (revenue, profit), operational metrics (sales volume, customer acquisition), and marketing metrics (website traffic, conversion rates).

4. What insights can YOY analysis provide?

YOY analysis can reveal trends such as consistent growth, seasonality, or declining performance. It helps in evaluating the effectiveness of strategies implemented over time and identifying areas for improvement.

5. How frequently should YOY analysis be conducted?

The frequency of YOY analysis depends on the nature of the business and the metrics being evaluated. Generally, it's recommended to conduct YOY analysis periodically, such as quarterly or annually, to track long-term trends effectively.

6. What are the limitations of YOY analysis?

YOY analysis may not capture short-term fluctuations or provide insights into the causes of changes in performance. It also assumes that the underlying factors affecting the metric remain relatively constant over time, which may not always be the case.

7. How can businesses use YOY analysis to inform decision-making?

Businesses can use YOY analysis to set performance targets, allocate resources, evaluate the success of strategic initiatives, and identify opportunities for growth. It provides a valuable benchmark for assessing progress and making data-driven decisions.

8. Can YOY analysis be affected by external factors?

Yes, Year-over-Year analysis can be influenced by external factors such as changes in market conditions, economic trends, regulatory changes, or one-time events like pandemics or natural disasters. It's essential to consider these factors when interpreting YOY data.

9. Where can I find data for conducting YOY analysis?

Data for YOY analysis can be sourced from internal sources such as financial records, sales reports, and operational databases. Additionally, external sources such as industry reports, market research, and government statistics can provide comparative data for YOY analysis.

10. What are the benefits of using YOY analysis?

YOY analysis helps in identifying long-term trends, evaluating business performance over time, making informed decisions based on historical data, and benchmarking against previous years' performance. It provides valuable insights into the trajectory of a business or a particular metric.

Past performance does not guarantee or predict future performance. This article is offered for general information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice.

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