Percentage difference between two numbers in Excel

We served 2,800 customers last month and 3,200 customers this month. What percentage increase is that?

This calculation requires three steps.

First calculate the difference between the two numbers. Then, calculate this value as a ‘fraction’ of the earlier number. Finally ask Excel to display this result as a percentage.

The difference between the two numbers is always the later or more recent number minus the earlier or older number.

In the example below, customer numbers have increased from 2,800 last month to 3,200 this month. First, calculate the difference.

Next, take the difference between the two numbers and divide by the original number.

Finally, change the format of the answer so that Excel displays it as a percentage. This can be done using the percentage icon on the toolbar.

It is usually worthwhile increasing the number of decimal places displayed so that a more accurate value is shown.

Customer numbers changing from 2,800 to 3,200 represents an increase of 14.29%.

 

We served 3,500 customers last month and 3,400 customers this month. What percentage decrease is that?

Where the number decreases, the steps are the same.

In the example below, customer numbers have decreased from 3,500 last month to 3,400 this month. First, calculate the difference.

Here, the difference is a negative number, representing a decrease in numbers.

Next, take the difference between the two numbers and divide by the original number.

Finally, change the format of the answer so that Excel displays it as a percentage. This can be done using the percentage icon on the toolbar.

Again, it is usually worthwhile increasing the number of decimal places displayed so that a more accurate value is shown.

Customer numbers changing from 3,500 to 3,400 represents a decrease of 2.86%.

Try it yourself using the examples below…

Download this example

Download all percentage examples

Percentages in Excel

The use of percentages in Excel are not the easiest concept to understand.

The percentages you use with Excel are just the same as the ones you might calculate with a calculator but it helps if you think about them slightly differently when calculating in Excel.

Always enter a percentage in Excel as a number followed by a percent sign. If you work this way, you don’t have to worry about all that multiplying and dividing by 100!

Try these short tutorials – the easier ones are at the top…

Percentage of a number

(What is 7% of 2,500?)

Increase a number by a percentage

(Increase 24,000 by 4%)

Decrease a number by a percentage

(Calculate a discount of 9% on a purchase of 120)

What percentage does a value represent of the total amount?

(7 answers out of 12 were correct. What is the percentage score?)

Difference between two numbers as a percentage

(Customer numbers changed from 2,800 to 3,200. What percentage increase is that?)
(Customer numbers changed from 3,500 to 3,400. What percentage decrease is that?)