Discover the best times to buy tech products | Carphone Warehouse

Taking Stock of Tech

What’s the one gift that’s always priceless? (The real answer’s love), but you know what site you’re on, so we’re going to be talking about tech products! All things electronics, gadgets and gizmos. When you’re looking to buy technology, it pays to plan ahead. And you’ll save even more if you pay attention to the changing patterns of tech prices. We’ve taken stock of top tech products to give you the lowdown on when to buy what.

Electronics will set you back £500 on average in 2020

Electronics will set you back £500 on average in 2020 | Carphone Warehouse

Whether you’re spending your troubles away with some retail therapy or gifting a tech treat to friends and family, buying mid-range might help you save some pennies. In 2020, the average price of electronic and tech products is just shy of £500 (£497.70 to be exact). This includes an average of £527.60 for mobile phones, £680.00 for laptops, £712.31 for TVs and £782.60 for digital cameras.

From the lows to the highs

Of course, those are just averages. It’s when you compare high end brands with lower end ones that the real juicy details are revealed.

Let’s look first at single-purpose electronics like headphones, monitors and CD players. They’re naturally cheaper overall than multi-purpose behemoths like smart TVs, laptops, cameras and phones. The category on average retails at £216, but there’s a massive £585 price difference between the lowest priced SanDisk Clip Jam CD player (a mere £23 retail) and the high end Samsung Odyssey G7 gaming monitor (priced at £607).

The major electronics clock in at around £1212 on average, but there are significant price differences between budget and top end items here too. The lowest price here is just £65 for the Nokia 1.3 mobile phone, and rises up to a whopping £1,700 courtesy of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. A cool £1,635 difference.

Whatever you’re buying, if price is a factor, consider downscaling to the best budget products for decent savings. Choose wisely and you can still get solid performance and quality at a lower price tag.

Tech is getting more affordable (seriously)

Tech is getting more affordable (seriously) | Carphone Warehouse

The chart above highlights the average cost of tech products in each decade (across a variety of brands), with the right-hand axis (and purple line) showcasing the average weekly salary.

If you’ve got your eye on a specific brand or model for your next tech purchase, look away now. But if you’re not fussed about owning premium brands, electronics are surprisingly affordable – far more so than they were in their infancy!

Take televisions, for example. In the 1950s, it would’ve taken you 33 weeks on an average UK salary to earn enough to get yourself a nice 12-incher. And if you were an early adopter of mobile phones, you would’ve had to spend 13 weeks’ worth of wages in 1980 to get one.

Fast forward to the 90s and a person on the average wage would’ve taken 3 weeks to afford a decent camera, 3 weeks to afford a TV, and 2 weeks to afford a mobile phone. By 2020, most of these drop to just a week, although cameras and TVs are still in the two-week zone.

For the latest and brightest tech in 2020, you may be able to rock up to the shops with a bushel of your week’s wages in your hand.

Smart tech buying is about picking the moment

Unless your social calendar is filled with the dates of consumer electronics trade shows (and really, whose is?), you might need a little help finding the best times to buy top tech. Here’s a quick rundown of when to buy key tech items.

Smart tech buying is about picking the moment | Carphone Warehouse

1.  Target the sales

There are several major sales where tech prices drop significantly. January rounds off the holiday sales that start in December (Christmas, Boxing Day, and so on), July-September are when back-to-school sales are at their peak, and the end of November brings Black Friday bargains galore.

2.  Keep an eye on CES and MWC

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February and the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) in September are major trade shows when new cameras, TV and some smartphone brands are announced. In the month before and after these announcements, last-gen products from these brands (i.e. the previous model) will see drops in prices, so buying then could mean big savings.

3.  Find out when your favourite companies plan new releases

On a similar note, keep note of when companies release their new products. For example, Huawei and Samsung are known to release their new smartphones in March/April (and May/June for Samsung Galaxy) while Apple and Sony’s new phone releases happen in September. Big brand TVs are usually released in the March/April window, while new cameras are usually announced in the January and September trade shows. Wait a month, and you’ll usually see price drops in their product ranges.

4.  Look out for Intel and AMD releases in July

Intel and AMD are responsible for creating the core processors that guide many of our beloved electronics. Their new releases in July are likely to spur brands to drop prices in their older gen products to make way for powerful upgrades. Of course, July and August also coincide with back-to-school sales, but we’ll take any reason for a discount!

5.  Nab bargains in the pre-order period

If last-gen products just don’t cut it, you could still get some great deals on new releases by pre-ordering. Retailers often offer pre-order discounts or freebies, such as bundles or free gifts. Make sure you’re signed up to the newsletters of your favourite retailers, so you get the news first.

6.  Know what to buy and where

Here are a few final tips:

  • When buying TVs, go for the 55” models – they’re the most popular size and are more likely to be discounted in the holiday sales.
  • For tablets, buy older iPads when new ones are released, and buy Android products a few months after a new release.
  • As for Amazon’s Kindle, the cheapest prices will be found on Amazon (shocker!), and particularly around Amazon Prime Day.

Whatever tech product or bargain deal you’ve got your eye on – from TVs to mobile phone deals and laptops – knowing the best times to buy is the best way to make sure you’re getting enough bang for your buck. Check in on trade shows, sniff around for new releases, jump into the sales and consider mid-range products in your quest to get incredible tech at wallet-pleasing prices.

Methodology

The price of tech in 2020 was determined by choosing the top recommended products in each category by Expert Review and using Price Spy to find the current price. Category averages exclude top-end products. Tech prices through the years (up to 2010) was found through Castle Cover’s Historic Home Utility Index, while average weekly salary from 1950 onwards used information from Royal London’s Average Weekly Earnings and This Is Money’s research, with 2020 figures found through the ONS. These figures were adjusted for inflation using iCalculator’s Salary Inflation Calculator. The best times to buy products were determined by finding the consensus among a variety of sources, listed in the data sources tab below. All data collected October 2020. All data, calculations and sources can be found here: Carphone Taking Stock of Tech raw data.