The best times of year to buy tech gear

Is March the best month for monitors? Q2 the time for cameras? Sometimes the calendar matters, and sometimes it doesn't.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

I'm often asked if there's a particular time of year that's best to buy certain tech items, like tablets or TVs, or laptops.

My typical response is that it rarely makes sense to delay your purchase in hopes of scoring a better deal, because you can end up waiting forever. The TV you buy today will almost certainly cost less six months down the road -- but that's true of just about everything.

What's more, there are great bargains to be found pretty much every day of the year (as proven by my Cheapskate blog), which dispels the idea that discounts are limited to specific months.

That said, anyone who studies pricing trends may indeed discover that certain product categories see price drops at certain times of the year. And that's exactly what Lifehacker documented in "The Best Time to Buy Anything During the Year". Although their focus ranges from Broadway tickets to wedding supplies (i.e., it's not just tech), it's an enlightening source of information on items like monitors, televisions, and computers.

For example, if you're in the market for a digital camera, consider this:

"Digital cameras start going on sale in February, after the new models have been announced at the January Consumer Electronics Show. However, if you're looking for the best deals, you'll find it in the second quarter of the year -- as long as you're OK with buying a slightly older model."

Likewise, mid-summer might be the best time for a new computer, as "Intel and AMD start ramping up for new stuff in July, and back-to-school sales get pretty good here too."

Some of the advice reflects what I've shared here before, like this snippet about video games: "If you play console games, the best you can do is usually wait until your desired games go on sale, usually a few months after they've been released." (Why this fairly general tip is listed under July, I'm not sure, except perhaps that a lot of the big new releases happen in October and November -- and it often takes 7 to 8 months for the biggest discounts to hit.)

I don't agree with all the recommendations -- Lifehacker notes that "computers and other electronics are cheapest on Mondays, when manufacturers apply their rebates," which makes no sense -- but there's definitely some food for thought here for anyone willing to work the calendar in hopes of scoring the best possible deal.

Have you noticed any particular trends when it comes to tech-gear prices? Tell me about them in the comments!

 

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