Strategic resource distribution and efficient use of limited resources are important in business operations. Cost behaviour is an indicator of these investment strategies. Previous studies have attributed the asymmetry of cost behaviour to managerial expectations. When managers expect future sales revenue to increase, they incur surplus expenses to avoid adjustment costs. In this research, we analyzed whether the cost behaviour stemming from such choices is related to future R&D efficiency. We divided KOSPI and KOSDAQ samples showing sales increases into ‘stickiness’ and ‘anti-stickiness’ groups and compared R&D efficiency using data from successive years. In the case of the KOSPI market, the stickiness group had higher future R&D efficiency than the anti-stickiness group. Conversely, in the case of the KOSDAQ market, the anti-stickiness group had higher future R&D efficiency than the stickiness group. The results elucidate the relationship between cost behaviour and R&D efficiency and show that investment strategy patterns depend on the specific characteristics of stock markets. This research enhances the related literature and the understanding of cost behaviours that reflect distinct investment strategies.