I was paralyzed by indecision this weekend about whether I should face the crowds and go to the malls to try to get deals or if good prices would exist beyond Black Friday and this weekend.
Because I had a cold, I decided to stay home but was kicking myself feeling like I was missing out … until I found this article.
The New York Times wrote about a University of Washington computer science professor Oren Etzioni, who has devoted his time to studying shopping and when consumers can find the lowest prices.
“…It is not until early December, Professor Etzioni’s research shows, that prices are likely to be the lowest for electronics, products that are among the biggest sellers on the Friday after Thanksgiving.”
“The bottom line is, Black Friday is for the retailers to go from the red into the black,” he said. “It’s not really for people to get great deals on the most popular products.”
The professor created a complex computer algorithm to determine the best time for you to buy consumer electronics. His website, Decide.com, studies current and historical prices, information and rumors about the products and then projects whether the price is at its lowest or if it will drop more. The site gives you a percent such as 86 percent likely to drop in the next two weeks or buy now – 78 percent likely to increase. (There’s a mobile app so you can do your research in the store.)
I want a new camera and the site tells us we should buy now and lets you compare the prices on top sellers.
So what about the lowest prices on other products not covered by Decide.com currently:
For toys, the lowest prices are found in the weeks immediately following Thanksgiving because the stores want to unload inventory, according to Dan de Grandpre of Dealnews.com. But the catch is the toy prices pop up again in the last week or so before Christmas to catch the desperate shoppers that waited.
He explains the stores feel confident raising the prices because they have cleared out so much of their inventory
James C. Bieri, who heads a Detroit-based real estate firm that leases to retailers, says “Better times to make apparel purchases include back-to-school and post-holiday clearance sales, and it is an area where coupons, friends-and-family discounts and the like are big money-savers.” He says apparel is where retailers make up their margins on Black Friday, so its not good to buy then. (That makes me feel better that I didn’t go.)
So what do you on these theories about pricing? Do you think it’s true? Would you use Decide.com to help you know when to buy the laptop or iPad for Christmas? When are you shopping or did you finish this weekend? Do you feel like you got good deals this weekend?