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Revealed: The Best Times to Buy Tech in 2021

When the UK lockdown was announced in March 2020, GfK reported that sales of televisions skyrocketed by 59.5% that same week. Plus, while global smartphone sales declined 20% in the second quarter of 2020, the use of mobile phones has increased to record highs. According to Ofcom, adults in the UK spent a record 4 hours online on average in April 2020, with twice as many people as usual using their phones for video calls. It’s clear that technology has been a lifeline for many this year.

To shine a light on a crucial aspect of tech, Carphone Warehouse created the Taking Stock of Tech research. The campaign cross-compared a wide range of sources to explore three major aspects related to the sale of electronic products: historic prices across 8 categories of electronics, typical low-end, high-end and average prices for each category in 2020, and, crucially, the best times to buy the products to get the best prices. The findings are outlined below.

The average price of electronic and tech products is £500 in 2020

When buying tech, knowing the average price of products can be handy for setting a benchmark for the typical price you should expect to pay. In 2020, the average price of electronic and tech products was found to be £497.70. Wondering what types of products made up this number? Here’s a breakdown of these averages, rounded to the nearest pound:

But, what if you have your eye on a particular model? If you’ve set yourself a specific budget, you may want to know the price difference between high and low-end brands, so you can pick the level of product that’s right for you.

When it comes to single-purpose electronics like headphones, monitors and CD players, there’s a massive £585 price difference between the lowest and highest prices: £23 for a CD player versus £607 for a gaming monitor.

The prices naturally rise when you look at multi-purpose behemoths like smart TVs, digital cameras and smartphones – even when it comes to budget choices. For example:

The products listed above are best in class examples of their category, which means even if you do go for the budget options, you’ll still get solid performance and quality for the price. Likewise, the top-end picks represent the pinnacle of their category.

Think about new releases to find the best times to buy tech

Everyone knows Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Christmas sales are all times when retailers drop prices on electronics. But, if you’re looking for the best deal possible, you’ll need to think beyond the usual sales. Fortunately, tech companies and brands behave in predictable cycles, which means keeping an eye on their schedules could help you figure out the best time to pounce.

As well as the above, keep your eye on consumer trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February and the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) in September. With these events being used by brands to announce new releases, you’re likely to see retailers drop prices on last-gen products (i.e. the previous model) in the month before and after the events.

It’s now more affordable than ever to buy tech products

You’ve probably noticed the leaps and bounds that electronics have been making over the past few decades. There was a time when a smartwatch – all the power of a computer on a tiny device on your wrist – would’ve only been found in science-fiction. As electronics get more complex and sophisticated, are prices rising with it? Surprisingly no. The average price of most consumer products is such that a person on an average UK salary would only need a weeks’ worth of wages to buy the item.

There are several reasons for this price drop. While electronics are getting more sophisticated, the technology has advanced so much that it costs less time and money to produce the devices. And, as more and more people are able – or willing – to buy the products, manufacturers are able to save money by creating products in bulk. And, if you’ve ever agonised over the Apple versus Android question, know that having a vast range of brands and models to choose from likely means you’ll have been able to take advantage of the lower prices created as brands compete to get more customers.

Above was a quick rundown of some of the findings from the Taking Stock of Tech campaign that explored the trends in prices of tech products across a wide range of categories. Discover further insights from the campaign to score some further tips and tricks for getting the best price on your next tech purchase.

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