Our Blog When To Shop

Nov 28, 2014

When To Shop

Want the best deals on electronics, but don’t feel like camping out for two weeks in front of Best Buy? Stay home on Friday, but don’t wait too long after that to shop online.

Prices for products like personal computers, cameras, TVs, toys and video games tend to hit their low point of the season not on Black Friday but in the two to three days afterward, according to the data from PriceStats, which monitors daily online price changes for a wide range of goods.

So-called Cyber Monday sales are one reason for the post-Friday drop. Another is that older models of goods fall in price over the weekend when the newest ones are introduced to the market in time for the holiday season, said Pilar Iglesias, the firm’s chief executive officer.

We looked at prices between Nov. 15 and Jan. 15 in each of the last three years. Last year and in 2011, the lowest point came on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In 2012, it was the following Tuesday. In all three years, after the low point was reached, prices trended continuously if slowly upward, perhaps because shoppers get more desperate as Christmas approaches.

And prices in January for these goods were even higher than those just before the holiday, despite the myths surrounding after-Christmas sales.

The data comes with caveats, not least of which is that although PriceStats focuses its research on the websites of brick-and-mortar stores, prices can still be different in the stores and online. And sales patterns for other types of goods may be different. (For example, previous research has found that toy prices don’t bottom out until about two weeks before Christmas.)

It’s also worth noting that on average, the changes are tiny, at most half a percentage point on either side of the Nov. 15 starting price.

So if you miss the best price by a day or two, you haven’t missed much. The bigger advice may simply be not to buy items you don’t really want.

When to Buy That TV or Laptop You’ve Wanted

Prices for goods like personal computers, cameras, TVs and toys tend to hit their lowest point in the days immediately after Black Friday, then rise steadily through the holiday season.

Index of prices for consumer electronics (Nov. 15 = 100)

Source: PriceStats

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