Mode is also a measure of central tendency. Mode is the value of a variate which is repeated most often in the data set. The genesis of the word 'mode' lies in the French word ‘le mode’ that means fashion. Mode is, therefore, considered to be the most common or most fashionable value.

Mode is often considered to be that value of the variate which occurs most frequently. But it is not exactly true for every frequency distribution. Rather it is that value of the variate around which the other items tend to concentrate most heavily. It shows the centre of concentration of the frequency in and around a given value. If is not the centre of gravity like mean. It is a positional measure similar to median. It is commonly denoted by Mo.

For example, take the case of a shopkeeper who sells shoes or garments. He is interested to know the sizes of shoes or garments which are commonly demanded. Here in such a situation, mean would indicate a size that may not fit any person. Median may not provide a representative size because of the unevenness in the distribution. It is the mode which will help in making a choice of approximate size for which an order can be placed. Similarly mode is also useful and appropriate average in problems related to the expression of preferences in a situation where it is not possible to measure in quantity. Such as design of garments, preferences on different advertisements etc. In such situations, we can consider the model preferences only for decision making but not arithmetic mean and median. 


Merits and Limitations of Mode



1) In certain situations mode is the only suitable average, e.g., modal size of garments modal size of shoes, modal wages, modal balance of depositors in a bank, etc. 

2) It is used to describe qualitative phenomena. For instance, if a printing press turns out five impressions which we rate very sharp, sharp, sharp, blurred and sharp, then the modal value is sharp. 

3) For the preference of consumers' product, the modal preference is regarded. A restaurant owner who specialises in one dish may wish to know the modal preference of his potential clientele.

4) In the case of skewed distribution, mode is the indicator of the point of heaviest concentration.

5) It is very profitably used in market research.

6) Even if one or more classes are open-ended, mode can be used.



1) Too often, there is no modal value. It is a useless measure, when there are more than one mode.

2) It is not capable of further algebraic treatment.

3) It is an ill-defined measure. Therefore, different formulas yield somewhat different answers.

4) It is not based on all the items of the data.

5) The value of the mode is affected significantly by the size of the class-intervals,

6) Although a mode is the value of a variate that occurs most frequently, its frequency does not represent a majority of the total frequencies.

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