Study on prices: Wrong time to buy can be expensive

Status: 03/16/2023 12:35 p.m

Anyone who buys certain products at the wrong time sometimes loses a lot of money. A study by Bank Barclays shows significant price fluctuations for many goods. And reveals when the best time is for which products.

A study commissioned by Bank Barclays shows that consumers in Germany lose a lot of money every year due to fluctuating prices for consumer goods. The study examined the price fluctuations of 300 goods in 2022. The result: the difference between the cheapest and most expensive month was 8.5 percent on average. These price fluctuations correspond to a total of 43 billion euros, or just over 1000 euros per household.

The amount is even higher if all products and services are considered that are also used to calculate inflation – including rent, electricity and gas or groceries. According to the study, the maximum price fluctuation here was more than ten percent. This corresponds to an effect of around 200 billion euros or around 5000 euros per household.

Save money with the right timing

“Price fluctuations can become a problem, especially if purchases cannot be postponed,” said Tobias Grieß, head of Barclays’ European private customer business.

However, smart timing when shopping can often save money, as a comparison of consumption and price trends between 2015 and 2022 shows. Accordingly, January was most often the cheapest month for household and garden items, fashion, and cars and car accessories.

Cheap times to buy electronics

In the case of electronic items, on the other hand, the picture is very diverse: Statistically speaking, e-book readers and PC accessories were cheapest in the spring months from March to May. The cheapest offers for home cinema systems and audio devices such as headphones were between June and September.

Monitors, printers and laptops, on the other hand, were most often cheap in autumn. For TV sets, game consoles and digital cameras, the chances of a good price were high, especially in December.

Fashion items, household and garden products fluctuate particularly strongly

According to the study, the prices of fashion items fluctuated particularly strongly in the course of 2022 at 11.1 percent, followed by products for the home and garden at 9.1 percent and cars and car accessories at 7.8 percent.

It is therefore also worth buying electronic items such as digital cameras, e-book readers or televisions at low prices. Here the average prices differed by 7.1 percent.

Installment payment as an option

“We are observing that our customers are increasingly making use of the option of converting individual purchases into installments when using their credit card,” said Barclays manager Grieß. “This can make sense especially in the case of large price fluctuations, for example when the savings exceed the interest to be paid.”

Since the price fluctuations determined relate to average prices, the possible savings potential for consumers is often even higher. The difference between the cheapest and the highest possible price of a product over the course of the year is likely to significantly exceed the determined average value.

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