When is the Best Time to Buy New Electronics
Bargain hunters everywhere swear by shopping seasonally. Buy when demand is lowest or when retailers are pushing out old inventory in anticipation of new models. Some people think the only best time is during Black Friday (and sometimes they’re correct). So when is actually the best time to buy a new computer or gadget? Well, here’s the lowdown on gadget-buying that you need to know.
Buy Old When The New Version Comes Out
Generally, when buying electronics, if you don’t need the “latest and greatest” features, then you should always buy the previous version right after the new model comes out. You’ll get your best bang for your buck this way, while still getting the nicest new-to-you device.
Technology retailers like Dell and Apple generally have information on their websites about when their newest model will be released, so check in frequently. New Egg and Tiger Direct offer good price comparisons if you’re in the market for computer components.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that happens at the beginning of January is a great resource for all info electronics. At this convention, electronics manufacturers announce when their new products that will be released throughout the year, and they demo all the cool new features they will have to offer. If you decide you must have the shiniest new toy, no worries. There are ways to get deals on those too.
Deals for PC Laptops
Folks in-the-know say that there are 2 times of year where you’re sure to find the best deals on a new laptop. The most obvious is Black Friday, which occurs the day after Thanksgiving every year, but the deals for which can begin as early as Thanksgiving day.
The second is the last week in July through the first 3 weeks of August, better known as back-to-school, when computer manufacturers compete aggressively to inspire consumers to invest in tech for the new school year. These discounts generally apply to Macs too. Many sellers will even give student discounts, so don’t forget to flash your student ID for additional savings.
Another tidbit of information to consider is that manufacturers release new models at three times of year: back-to-school, the holiday season, and spring (February to April). It’s a good time to compare the latest-and-greatest features to those on the previous generation models.
Finally, price trackers have seen some significant drops happening for the last few years related to Amazon’s Prime Day. It began in 2015, celebrating Amazon’s 20th anniversary, and then Amazon continued the tradition every year since. In 2018, the dates of this sale were July 16th and 17th, and Amazon Prime members were privy to 100,000 Prime-only exclusive deals.
Know Apple’s Schedule, Get Better Deals
If your heart is set on purchasing Apple products, you probably know already that they don’t go on sale very often. You really have to watch prices like a hawk to detect when something is really a sale. They don’t even discount their products for Black Friday.
When considering a new iPhone or iPad, you should know that Apple generally releases new versions of their laptops in Spring and phones in the fall. Also, their big announcements tend to alternate years. For example, last year they announced the iPhone X. This year, the announcements were related to the Xr, Xs, and XsMax versions of the iPhone. Even if it’s not a major product overhaul, it generally leads to a price reduction in the older version.
Apple holds its World Wide Developer’s Conference every year in June wherein it announces what will be made available in the months to come. If you see what they’ve announced for the pipeline, you can plan ahead to what you may want to buy in the future.
This year, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target discounted their Apple products on Black Friday by offering combination deals and gift cards with purchase. You may not find a deal directly through Apple, but some other retailers are able to wiggle their prices a bit to entice you into their store.
Best Time to Buy Video Games
Gaming system updates are typically announced at E3 in May, with product roll-out usually slated in time for the year-end holiday buying frenzy. Video games are almost always released in November and December in time for the holiday season. They’re at their highest price right after release. Buying in January and February can garner some huge savings.
I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here, but Black Friday is the best time of year to buy gaming consoles, as well as gaming system bundles. Retailers have an eye toward the presents under the tree and are trying to get your dollars as much as they can.
Get Thee a New TV!
Hopefully, you’re finding yourself looking for a new TV just because you need an upgrade, and not because your TV died. If you find yourself in the latter solution, the good news is, there are lots of times of year that you can find deals on TVs.
January is Super Bowl season, and retailers just know you want to upgrade to the latest HDTV before the big game. In May, you have the Memorial Day sales. In June, around Father’s Day, retailers will try to entice you to the store looking for a deal for the couch potato in your life. July has been showing promise with Amazon’s now-yearly Prime Day sales, occurring around the middle of the month. Lastly, and of course, no surprise here, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales can garner you the heaviest discounts. If you’re just looking for an upgraded TV, this is your best time of year to buy.
If you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself with a dead TV, not within any of these magical windows, there are still some tips for finding a good deal. Check the prices online (Amazon, but also the retailer) and in-store. Sometimes prices can be different, and most big retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart will price-match if you find a better deal elsewhere. Use social media to your advantage. If you’re following a retailer on Twitter or Facebook, you may find out about a deal before they even announce it to the general public. (You can always unfollow them later.)
Finally, just a word of caution on TVs: make sure you know your product well before you buy. Sometimes you’ll see what looks like a smoking-hot TV deal, only to discover it only includes the model that is missing the key features that you were looking for.
Do Your Research
Whatever electronic nick-nack or doodad you’re needing to buy, it’s always best to do your research and resist the impulse-buy. Websites like CNET and Tom’s Hardware can help with buying guides and a whole bunch of field testing they do, like Consumer Reports, but without a membership fee. This way, you’ll save yourself possibly some buyer’s remorse, and definitely some hard-earned cash.
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Oringinally published 08/12/12, updated 12/07/18