Gadget hounds are> in luck this holiday season. Struggling consumer electronics retailers are slashing prices on everything from high-definition TVs to pocket camcorders.
[Consumers are] seeing these wonderful prices based on electronics retailers being scared out of their wits that they ll be stuck with the products, says Roger Kay, founder and president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, a technology research firm. Sluggish sales have already forced several consumer electronics chains, including Tweeter, Circuit City and Sharper Image, to seek bankruptcy protection. Hoping to escape a similar fate, retailers are slashing prices to levels they hope consumers won t be able to resist, says Kay.
The most compelling discounts are on big-ticket items, in particular high-definition TVs and Blu-ray players, says Danielle Levitas, senior consumer analyst at research firm IDC. The average price of an LCD TV, for example, was $874 in the third quarter of this year, down from $892 a year earlier, according to the NPD Group s retail tracking service. For plasma TVs, prices have fallen by more than $250 to an average $1,318 from $1,584. However, it's not just fancy flat screens that consumers will save on. With the exception of Sony (SNE)
Here are five ways to nab the best gadget deals this holiday season.
Shop the discount electronics sites
Not surprisingly, the best deals on gadgets and other electronics can be found on the Internet. Certainly, popular retailers like Best Buy (BBY)
Newegg, for example, offers a Samsung 50-inch plasma HDTV on sale for $999.99 (with free shipping), down from $1,499.99. And you can snag an uber-popular Asus Eee netbook for $349.99 at TigerDirect (original price: $599.99).
Save even more through promotional deals
Using Live Search we found a Sharp Aquos 37-inch LCD TV for $699.99 from TigerDirect.com. After the 5% cash back from Live Search, the TV cost just $664.99. The Flip Video, a mini-camcorder, is being sold for $159.99 at retailer J&R Music & Computer World, but Live Search users can get it for $147.87 with 7% cash back. (Microsoft will provide your rebate one of three ways: via PayPal, check or direct deposit into your bank account.)
In an even better twist, consumers can get upwards of 25% cash back when they search for an item using Live.com and buy it through eBay (EBAY)
Serious bargain hunters should start every product search with sites like Dealnews or CheapToday, which list regularly updated deals on items from every corner of the web. Another way to make sure you're getting the best deal is to turn to comparison shopping sites like PriceGrabber.com and Shopping.comRead our story for more on price-comparison sites
At CouponCabin we found a $5 discount off purchases of $100 or more at Buy.com s electronics store (for first-time Buy.com customers). And at Retailmenot, we found a print-out coupon for $50 off any Garmin GPS unit at Best Buy stores.
Electronics merchants that have declared bankruptcy protection (like Circuit City) or are closing for good (like Tweeter) offer tempting closeout sales. While it s fine to scour the "everything-must-go" shelves, be aware that those items might be tricky to return or exchange if for some reason you re dissatisfied with the product. Ask the store s staff what the return policy is. And, obviously, be sure your shiny new plasma TV comes with a manufacturer s warranty. Here are more tips on shopping closeout sales.
|Amazon.com||HP Pavilion G60-120US 15.6-inch laptop||$674.99*, was $1,007||33%|
|Best Buy||Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS 10.1-Megapixel Digital SLR Camera||$509.99, was $599.99||15%|
|Circuit City||Samsung 40-inch Series 5 1080p LCD HDTV||$799.99, was $1099.99||27%|
|J&R.com||Olympus Stylus 1200 digital camera||$179.99, was $349.99||48%|
|NewEgg.com||Garmin Nuvi 740 GPS||$179.99, was $199.99||10%|
|TigerDirect.com||Asus Eee netbook||$349.99, was $599.99||42%|
|Walmart||Philips 42-inch LCD HD TV||$898, was $998||10%|
* With rebate>