Product Cycles: When To Buy

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Whether it’s a shiny new flat-screen, a smartphone or a new suit, you can save money just by knowing a little about product cycles and how companies anticipate your movements as a market. If you know what they expect out of you, then you know how to take advantage of being the “unexpected” fraction of their target market. Whether it’s a shiny new flat-screen, a smartphone or a new suit, you can save money just by knowing a little about product cycles and how companies anticipate your movements as a market. If you know what they expect out of you, then you know how to take advantage of being the “unexpected” fraction of their target market.

For this article, I’m going to look at the technology sector–though a few minutes of research will show you the timing of other markets as well. Most of them run on similar timelines, so you can apply these principles to almost anything. We published an infographic breaking down the best times to buy a while back, and I thought a little explanation wouldn’t hurt.

If you absolutely have to have the newest, shiniest product on the market today, your best time to buy is in the November to December stretch. We have an article here which explains what to look out for. This year the Galaxy Nexus S Android phone just launched, as did the HTC Wildfire S. In flat-screens, we now have the Vizio Razor’s latest model and the 70-inch, 3D-ready Sharp Elite to look forward to.

From Black Friday onward, companies are banking on you doing all your holiday shopping–and they’re hoping you’re going to throw some impulse buys in there as well. That means that they’re aiming to get their hottest products out the last week of November and into December, so that they can put as many of them under wrapping paper as possible. If you have to have the newest, latest, this is your time to strike. You’ll find holiday deals and mail-in rebates abounding this time of year.

If you have a little patience and you’re willing to settle for the almost-hottest thing out there, however, you can really catch some steals by waiting until late spring. Here’s how it works: most companies are closing their fiscal year in April, and they know exactly how much they revenue they earned (or failed to earn) over the last several months. Since Christmas, they’ve launched a couple new models to keep the market excited and get the late buyers in to shop. This means that the retailers, who now have stock on the model that was hot last winter, are trying desperately to get rid of it to make room for the incoming models.

That means sale prices for you. With technology, strike in the spring. For cars, you want to get last year’s model right after new models come on the market. Clothes? Buy winter in the spring, summer in the winter. You’ve seen all these sales come and go, but by applying just a bit of market know-how, you can really capitalize on when those sales are going to come due and plan your budget accordingly.

I’m not telling you not to buy your family presents during the holidays, but I am telling you that if you know in the spring what they want, the odds are good you can get them for less and budget months ahead in your year. No more last-minute money crunch.

Do you plan your purchases to get the very best deal?  Share your product cycle knowledge in the comments!

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  1. Crystal.Ritchie

    3 years ago

    I’m a fiend for deals and luckily, since I life in San Francisco where the seasons aren’t exactly in line with what’s going on in stores, it’s pretty easy to follow the “sales seasons” with my clothing purchases. I’ve been meaning forever to get organized enough to buy presents earlier in the year, but it just hasn’t happened yet…and then I worry that I’ll buy something early in the year and the person I am meaning to gift it to will get it from someone else!

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  2. ChuckG

    3 years ago

    Back when we bought out last electronic product, it was during holiday sales. That really is a great time to buy.

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  3. BeckyHarks

    3 years ago

    I love a good deal. I also love technology. So I kinda needed to know this. Thanks for the tips!

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  4. serial_writer

    3 years ago

    Good to know about the electronic sale season. My TV is in the long process of dying. I’m hoping it will last until April so I can get a good price. Thanks!

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  5. champ76

    3 years ago

    Very good to know when to buy.Patience is the key.I am a very patient person so I should have no problem waiting for a hot deal.

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  6. lucidlotus

    3 years ago

    This was super awesome because I now have a reason to shop now for spring clothes. W00t!
    And I will now be looking for my tech freak of a husband’s birthday present in the spring. Thanks!

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  7. kristinebrite

    3 years ago

    I’ve read a lot of these types of articles, and learned a lot of new stuff from yours, so huge kudos, and thank you!

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  8. mooivrouw

    3 years ago

    I’m a sucker for technology impulse buys. Thanks for the tips on when to get them at a better deal!

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  9. OriginalWacky

    3 years ago

    This is great. I like to watch for the best bargains possible, so it helps to know when to watch.

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  10. KarenMarrs

    3 years ago

    These are some great tips!

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  11. thepsychobabble

    3 years ago

    I am always nervous about tech buys. I hate to spend large chunks of money..thank you for the tips!

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