You don’t need to be a data scientist to know that holiday sales are great opportunities for bargain shoppers — but to understand precisely when you can snag the best deals, a little bit of big data goes a long way.
Consumer Reports teamed up with Gap Intelligence, a market research company that specializes in pricing information, to study a year’s worth of product prices from key retailers.
Televisions: “Most TV models are replaced or refreshed every year, and their pricing tends to follow a fairly consistent 12-month curve,” said Deirdre Kennedy, senior analyst for TVs at Gap Intelligence.
Consumer Reports’ examination of the average price of a TV, as well as its study of four recommended 2016 models, shows that after new television models were introduced from early March to late May, prices began an immediate and steady decline.
When Black Friday promotions began in November, prices dove across the board.
Consumer Reports found many sets selling for as little as 50 percent of their original retail price.
Its analysis found another window for snaring a great deal starting a few weeks before the Super Bowl and running through March. During that time, average TV prices rose as new models entered the market, but prices on the preceding year’s TVs hit their low point as retailers worked to clear out old inventory and create shelf space for new arrivals.
Ranges: Consumer Reports studied 12 months of pricing data for roughly 1,500 ranges and tracked four high-performing models from its ratings during that same time.
New models, released early in the year, kept the average price of a range high through the spring, but that figure dipped lower with each holiday after July Fourth.
The discounts were deeper for higher-priced models. With pro-style ranges, Consumer Reports found that prices were relatively consistent all year.
Refrigerators: Consumer Reports’ analysis of the refrigerator category found it to be far more volatile than other home appliances.
That means plenty of opportunity for an attentive shopper to save money.
It’s also a highly diverse category, with a wide variety of models within several subcategories, including French-door, side-by-side and top-freezer.
But a closer look at high-performing fridges from its ratings did reveal a few takeaways: First, the analysis found the deepest discounts on midrange models. And as the price grew, discounts got smaller.
On average, the best prices for refrigerators came on Black Friday, but Consumer Reports found a few deals that were even better on July Fourth.
Dishwashers: Manufacturers turn out countless configurations of refrigerators, but a dishwasher is more or less a dishwasher.
“So, similar to cooking ranges, you’re not going to see a whole lot of fluctuation between brands, as far as how they’re pricing and promoting,” explains Christine Edwards, Gap’s senior market analyst for home appliances.
Indeed, much like ranges, Consumer Reports found the average price of a dishwasher over one year steadily dipped lower and lower as Black Friday approached.