Boxing Day is one of the biggest retail shopping days of the year in New Zealand. After a day of overeating on Christmas Day, New Zealanders rush out in their droves to the malls enduring traffic chaos and crowds all in the hope of picking up a bargain.
Big retailers advertise their “huge” Boxing Day sales and often promise big discounts…but how can you tell if you’re really getting a bargain?
If you’re after big ticket electronics items such as a TV, home theatre or audio equipment, cameras, or phones, the website pricespy.co.nz can be a huge help. It is worth pointing out here I have no affiliation with PriceSpy other than being a user of their website.
PriceSpy is an online price comparison site that collects pricing information from a number of online retailers in New Zealand. You can search for a product or model number and see current and historical pricing from a number of online retailers who stock the product.
By looking at this current and historical data you can not only see what other retailers are selling a product for, you can also see historical pricing of products to see what they’ve sold for and whether the advertised sale price is in fact a good deal.
Lets look at an example of a current high end TV. If you can’t quite afford an OLED TV, the Sony X9000F is my pick of high end LED panels. It’s a brilliant TV and recently has seen some fairly sharp pricing on the 65” model.
The above screenshot shows pricing data from the above retailers along with pricing history of the TV. It shows the TV has dropped as low as $2,498 in late November.
By clicking on a retailer you can see their pricing history. As you can see retailer Heathcote Appliances sold the TV in late November for $2,499 but it currently retails there for $3,298
This pricing history shows the tactics of retailers such as Noel Leeming who have a habit of inflating prices before big sales so that their discounts look better. It’s very likely Noel Leeming will come out on Boxing Day (as they always do) and offer a “big brands” sale which often sees somewhere in the vicinity of 25% off many big brands including Sony.
As you can see above, Noel Leeming currently sell the 65X9000F TV for $3,899 making them around $600 - $700 more expensive than direct competitors such as JB HiFi, Magness Benrow, Heathcote Appliances, and even the Sony Store itself.
This also shows that Noel Leeming sold the TV for as low as $2,586 in late November.
Noel Leeming’s pricing strategy is similar on other products. The brilliant Sony KD55A8F OLED TV has quite a range of prices at present, with once again Noel Leeming being one of the most expensive. It also shows they had the cheapest historical price for this TV selling it for $2,998 in November.
A sale cannot be genuine and can fall foul of the Fair Trading Act if a product has not sold at the “was” price for a reasonable period of time beforehand – with that reasonable period of time considered to be around a month in the eyes of the Commerce Commission.
By hiking prices a little under a month out from Boxing Day it means Noel Leeming do not fall foul of the law, but it does mean that many of their “sale” prices can in fact be pretty ordinary. You can tell from the above screenshot that Noel Leeming did exactly the same thing in early November leading up to their Black Friday in late November.
They may claim big percentage and or dollar discounts, but the truth is you’re not really saving the amount they claim. If Noel Leeming were to offer a 25% discount off a Sony 65X9000F or KD55A8F TV it only brings the prices of both down to pricing similar to pricing already seen last month for these products.
Other retailers employ questionable processes as well. Harvey Norman will often remove products from their website so they’re not shown on Pricespy.
By doing this it also means customers can’t use their website to attempt to price match their prices at retailers such as Noel Leeming and JB HiFi who will actively match competitors prices. These retailers will normally only accept a website price or written quote as proof of competitor pricing.
If you’re on the lookout for a big ticket item this boxing day make sure you do your research. Just because something is advertised as a sale item does not necessarily mean it’s a bargain!
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