The following is an excerpt from: Kelli Grant | December 30, 2011 | Yahoo.com |
European travel, TVs and other goodies may be getting cheaper.
Consumers fed up with rising prices on fuel, food and other purchases will be happy to find that some things may actually be cheaper in the New Year.
The same economic uncertainty that’s driving many prices up has also created a handful of silver linings for consumers — particularly those planning a big-ticket purchase or trip in the short term, says Jack Plunkett, chief executive of market research firm Plunkett Research. Growing competition between web and bricks-and-mortar retailers has also generated more deals beyond the usual roster of furniture and household linens sales that pop up every January. “What we’re going to find, long-term, is that you get your best deals on the Internet,” says independent retail analyst Jeff Green. But for now retailers are “trying to keep people in stores for as long as they can.” That means more sales.
Shoppers will still need to exercise caution, experts say. One category’s price break is often counterbalanced by rising fees in a different area. One example: Rising charges for cellphone data use often eclipse price cuts on text-message plans. “Little savings here and there may not help much,” Plunkett says. But here are some deals that could help consumers keep their budget in check in 2012.
Prices typically drop in January and February as manufacturers introduce the latest in computers, televisions and other devices. That’s likely to accelerate this year as stores look to better compete with web sites, Green says. TV prices in particular continue to drop. During the last few months of 2011 the average price of a 42″ LCD screen fell below $500 for the first time, reports market research firm NPD Group. In 2010, the average price was closer to $600.
Shoppers may find that the deals don’t extend to all orders or categories, says Lindsay Sakraida, features director of deal-tracking site DealNews.com. Shortages have increased prices on components such as hard drives. Other items are cheap because they aren’t worth it: a standalone GPS, for example, is now largely redundant for smartphone users, she says.
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