PriceSpy data reveals the best and worst times to shop this year

PriceSpy data reveals the best and worst times to shop throughout the year. Photo / Andrew Warner

Price comparison group PriceSpy released data today comparing the best and worst times to buy consumer goods this last year.

The research compared products across 30 retail categories excluding food and drinks, finding the most expensive month of the year to shop in 2022 was June with prices $54, or 7 percent, higher than the average price for the rest of the year.

PriceSpy found November was the cheapest retail month, with average costs $57 (7 percent) lower than the average annual consumer goods price.

The price comparison group said data shows this month is the best time to buy gaming consoles (down from an annual average of $657 to $561), LEGO (down from $266 to $243), and DSLR cameras (dropping from $2810 to $2705).

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The worst items to buy this month are portable speakers, home security cameras and pushchairs, prams and strollers, which received the biggest price surge at a 52 percent hike rising $195 on average.

PriceSpy attributes some of the fluctuating costs to supply and demand shifts throughout the year, while other factors like November’s low prices are due to increased pre-Christmas sales, including Black Friday.

“Some of the price increases we see throughout the year may be driven by supply and demand. For example, when consumers’ needs for certain goods are naturally higher, like barbecues in the summer, they can expect retailers to sell such goods at higher price points.”

First Retail managing director Chris Wilkinson said, “It’s understandable that seasonal stock will be at its best value as seasonal demand slows and retailers look to clear inventory to avoid stockholding and storing costs.”

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Next month should bring discounts on laptop bags, fridge/freezers and vacuum cleaners, where savings will be $17 less (40 per cent), $105 less (5 per cent), $45 less (7 per cent) respectively, while Kiwis should avoid buying barbecues, sunglasses, and handbags.

Electric scooters have the steepest price drop, falling 20 percent in December, $131 less than their average price.

LEGO may be at their cheapest price this month.  Photo / John Stone
LEGO may be at their cheapest price this month. Photo / John Stone

PriceSpy found the best time to shop for washing machines is September, when prices are down 4 percent, while the worst month is March, when prices are up 6 percent on the annual average.

The best time to shop for tech essentials like laptops and tablets are September and October respectively. Tablets drop 9 percent in price while laptops fall 7 percent. The worst times to buy these items are May and June where laptops see a 5 percent price increase, while tablets rise 4 percent.

They also found mobile phone prices surge in October to an average of $1047, dropping to $976 in July giving consumers a saving of only $71 throughout the year.

The biggest price shift is for sewing machines which are 63 percent ($215) cheaper in November.

First Retail’s Chris Wilkinson said of the data, “It’s great insight and its timely insight.”

“Any way to help people relieve financial pressure is really useful at the moment,” Wilkinson said.

He said many New Zealanders will be looking to save on discretionary goods especially as spending on durable items has the steepest drop in last week’s electronic spending data from Stats NZ.

Chris Wilkinson, managing director of First Retail Group.  Photo / Mark Mitchell
Chris Wilkinson, managing director of First Retail Group. Photo / Mark Mitchell

“This is creating some useful awareness for consumers and I think there’s a growing awareness of values ​​among consumers across the country and from all demographics at the moment,” Wilkinson said.

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Auckland Action Against Poverty’s Brooke Fiafia said that while data can help provide assistance to households with spending power, it can shift the onus onto households already struggling financially.

“When Covid hit, we realized that even when we do have livable income in our communities, businesses, corporations and landlords can still raise prices, which is what we’re seeing at the moment,” Fiafia said.

“We’ve always advocated for livable income for everyone, for people in low-wage work, students, young people, young parents, people receiving superannuation.”

Wilkinson said, “We are seeing unprecedented times for many in this generation and people are doubling down on value. They’re being purposeful about their shopping. People are looking to save money where they can. Delaying purchases when they can because of financial pressures.”

PriceSpy data showed the impact of regularly monitoring prices throughout the year and buying out of season, finding that the average cost of barbecues were the lowest in May ($542), while the same product came in at an average of $936 in February 2022.

PriceSpy said, “Putting off the purchase of a new barbecue until May can save a staggering $258 (48 percent) compared to the average annual price.”

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“Barbecues are bulky goods and it costs a lot for retailers to store them. They want them out the door so the next seasonal line can come in, which is typically heaters.”

Matinvesi-Basset said the data should help consumers plan their spending in light of rising inflation pressures.

“Some purchases are a luxury, while others are a necessity. Whatever the motivation for buying, our new research aims to help people buy the right product at the right time, so that they can plan their spending accordingly and enjoy the potential savings on more important things,” Matinvesi-Basset said.

“Knowledge is power and knowing the best time to buy will mean that people can make their money go further.”

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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