November 2, 2011, 4:01 PM

Buy early, pay less for online goods

For most products, e-retailers offer the lowest prices early in the week, an analysis finds.

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E-retailers offer the lowest prices on computers, TVs, cameras and video games on Mondays, and on washers, dryers, ovens and refrigerators on Sundays, according to recently released pricing data collected by comparison shopping and coupon site ExtraBux.com.

The company says it ran a pricing analysis on thousands of e-retailers, including Amazon.com Inc., to track the pricing histories for more than 100,000 products in major product categories. It used a price-tracking tool from Camelcamelcamel.com to report the Amazon data.

For computers and televisions, Monday is the day to buy, as the average prices bottom out on Mondays and peak on Fridays. In its analysis, Extrabux found the average sales price for computers climbed 3.8% from Monday to Friday, and 1.9% for TVs during the same time frame. Commenting on the finding in the report, Bill Hettinger, director of e-commerce at home electronics e-retailer World Wide Stereo, says manufacturers offer retailers incentives to lower prices early in the week because that is the busiest sales time for electronics, and that provides retailers the greatest opportunity to generate buzz about their price drops.

Camera prices also bottom out on Mondays, but quickly jump after that. Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research Inc. analyst, says retailers use the relatively low-cost items as promotional items to drive traffic early in the week. “Retailers recognize that early in the week when there is the most competition to capture the attention of consumers, and this competition results in lower prices for consumers. Fridays tend to be light online shopping days, so there isn’t as much competition to attract consumers and as a result prices aren’t as low,” she says.

Consumers should buy major appliances online on Sundays if they want to get the best price, the analysis says. Consumers, aiming to complete household projects before heading back to work on Monday, search for appliances the most on Sunday, which raises competition among retailers and thus lowers prices. Appliance prices peak on Tuesday.

Book prices are the highest on Friday and the lowest on Saturday, when consumer typically have more free time to shop for books they want to read, Extrabux says. Jewelry prices are the highest on Saturday and lowest on Wednesday; Extrabux offers no analysis as to why the product category doesn’t follow the general pricing trends of other categories.

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