Saving Money On The Hottest High-Tech Devices

It seems that our collective appetite for high-tech devices grows more ravenous every year. Whether one is a first-adopter who is willing to stand in line or even camp out in front of a store the night before the release of the latest and greatest, or the bargain hunter who hopes to get a great deal on a manufacturer’s stock overrun, we humans can’t seem to wait to get our hands on new devices that make our work more efficient and our leisure time more enjoyable.

It should come as no surprise which kinds of devices are most popular. According to an article in Tech Pinions, market research firm TechAnalysis projected worldwide sales for the most popular tech devices as follows:


– Smartphones with 5” or greater displays – Roughly 32% of all consumers polled stated that they intended to purchase these large-display smartphones. This trend reflects another even bigger trend, that more and more consumers are using their smartphones as replacement for laptops and even desktop computers. With the increasing complexity and added features in the most popular apps, increased screen size and quality have become as important as or even more important than processing power.

– Notebooks– While sales of notebook computers have hit something of a plateau over the last couple of years, a full 22% of consumers stated an intent to purchase one within the next year.

– Smart televisions – Rapid advances in technology, a long list of added features, and plummeting prices have driven sales in this category, a trend which is not expected to diminish anytime soon. Almost 20% of individuals polled worldwide intend to purchase at least one of these products in the coming year.

– Desktop computers – Desktop sales have really declined in the last half decade, but almost 17% of individuals polled intend to purchase a desktop computer within a year. This number is driven in great part by business purchasers, who continue to rely upon the more powerful systems for their businesses.

Fortunately for consumers, the prices actually paid for most of these high-tech devices has been significantly lower than the suggested retail prices, with the sole exception being the top category, smartphones. Sales of these items are most heavily concentrated in purchases from mobile phone network providers, who actually sell few at retail, preferring to include them at a discount when included in a [typically 2-year] service agreement. Such agreements add monthly payments sufficient to cover the cost of the devices over the course of the agreement, and many customers continue the same plan even after the device is paid for.

Getting The Best Price

If you are in the market for one of the popular high-tech devices, there are ways to ensure that you get the best possible price for the item you want, often even if it is the latest model. Some strategies for getting the best deal include:

– Opt for last season’s model over the newer counterpart – Be realistic in determining which of the features you will actually use and enjoy. Many if not most of the features end up offering little more than bragging rights to most users, anyway. Manufacturers and retailers alike – especially warehouse or big-box stores – are eager to unload inventory on last season’s models, and will often offer deep discounts on these “older” devices.

– Consider less-popular versions of the newer models – Some models offer options such as different case colors or, in the case of smartphones and tablets, different amounts of system memory. Additional memory might be essential if you tend to run complex games or multiple apps at the same time, but have little effect otherwise. And some color choices go over better than others, with manufacturers and retailers left to discount the prices on the slower moving versions. Of course, this doesn’t apply to notebooks or desktop computers, for whom the amount of available memory can have a significant effect on how well they function.

– Read the fine print on smartphone plans – If you get your mobile phone as part of a package deal with your service plan, make certain to renegotiate your plan’s terms at its conclusion, rather than continuing to pay for the phone after it is actually paid for. If you can afford it, purchase the phone separately from the service plan, even directly from the distributor or manufacturer if possible. Your initial expense might be high, but you will come out ahead in the long run.

– Take advantage of one-off specials, open box, or customer return items – Relatively few high-tech products are returned to the retailer because they don’t work properly. Most are returned as the result of buyer remorse or a purchaser’s dissatisfaction with a relatively insignificant feature or design. Such returns are tested for function, then sold at deep discount. So long as you have the store’s and manufacturer’s warranty, you can be reasonably assured that the unit is in as-new condition, and should be reliable. Apple in particular maintains a stock of returned items that are fully tested, then sold at discount.

– Familiarise yourself with the seller’s financing terms – Some retailers will actually offer financing at very low interest rates to drive sales. Be sure to read the fine print, as some agreements stipulate a steep increase in interest rate and ensuing monthly payment amount, should you be late on even one payment. Consider applying for financing through regular lending services as an option. You may find that your monthly payments are significantly lower than those made to a retailer. If you can manage paying for the item over a relatively short term, especially a smaller-ticket device for which you expect to have the funds within a short time, there may be alternative financing options available that you can choose that will not require the long approval process that is so common in today’s credit process.

Unless you are one of those people who is willing to camp out overnight just to get your hands on the next biggest thing in tech no matter the price you have to pay, getting the lowest possible price should rank pretty high in your priorities when shopping for the devices on your must-have list. By being informed, realistic, and persistent in your research, that is an objective you should have no problem achieving.

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