Top tip to save 40pc on the cost of a new phone

A woman takes a picture of the Samsung Galaxy S8+ smartphone with a Galaxy S7.
BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS

A woman takes a picture of the Samsung Galaxy S8+ smartphone with a Galaxy S7.

If you have your eye on a new phone, gadget or household appliance, the best way to get a great discount may be to sit on your hands for a few months.

Sought-after technology brands such as Apple often have a policy of not discounting and are rarely included in store sales.

But Hadyn Green, technology writer at Consumer NZ, said it was common to see a price drop when an appliance or gadget's new model arrived on store shelves. It was particularly noticeable in smartphones, he said. Even in a matter of months, the price could fall dramatically.

 "When a new model comes in they'll knock a few hundred dollars off the old model but it's only a year old, it's still a really good phone, just missing  a few of the bells and whistles. Certain brands do it more than others."

The new generation of TVs has permanently cut the price of lower-spec models.

The new generation of TVs has permanently cut the price of lower-spec models.

READ MORE: Don't be so sure about an iPhone 'super cycle'

Take the iPhone 6, for example. When it was first released, it sold for $1000 for the 16GB model. But now that the iPhone 7 is in the market, you can pick one up for $650. When the iPhone 8 is made available, you could expect another price reduction on both earlier models.

Green said his advice to buyers when the iPhone 7 came out had been to buy the model from the year before or wait for the next year's product, rather than shelling out for the 7 because it was not enough of a step up in functionality to justify the extra cost.

The iPhone 6 has become a lot cheaper since the iPhone 7 came along.
KAMPEE PATISENA/123RF

The iPhone 6 has become a lot cheaper since the iPhone 7 came along.

Something similar has happened with Samsung's Galaxy phones - when the S7 came out last year it cost $1199. Now, you can buy it for $642 online - or slightly more in stores.

"The Samsung S7 was released last year at $1199, until at least early June this is on promotion for $799," said Jason Bell, executive general manager merchandise at the Noel Leeming and Torpedo7 Group. 

"The replacement S8, which has recently been released and is a real step up in technology with its infinity display is $1299. Both are great phones, the pricing reflects where they are in their life cycle and the relevant technology and features they have," he said.

"We aim to cater for all our customers needs at all price levels. Early adopters and tech enthusiasts will demand the latest model, while others don't necessarily need all the very latest features."

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It is not just phones that follow the pattern. When full-high definition (HD) TVs became the norm, TVs that were not HD became much cheaper.

Green said it was easier to tell with some products than others whether an older model was still a good bet. "With a TV you see the picture you're going to get and you know that you'll get that and it's fine."

But with things such as phones and computers, the important thing to remember was that they needed to be able to run the applicable software, he said.

Apple makes all software updates mandatory and phones would get slower and slower with each update, if the user had not upgraded to the latest model. "The new phone is further from obsolescence," he said.

Technology commentator Peter Griffin agreed it was a smart move not to always buy the latest edition, "if you're not obsessed about having the latest functionality".   He said shoppers could expect to get at least two or three years' use out of an older model phone.

"People who just want the basic functionality of a smartphone and are just as happy being a generation behind - that's a good place to be because you're saving 30 per cent to 40 per cent compared to buying a brand new model. It's definitely something that consumers should look out for."

He said most shops would stock models from one year ago. People who wanted older models could buy them from parallel importers or Trade Me stockists.  "The parallel import market still  has iPhone 5s that are new - that is getting ot the point where some of the functionality isn't working. But definitely the 6 is very much a current, powerful device, as is the S7."

Other products also get a reduction when a new model comes out, including whiteware, fashion, running shoes and cars when a new season is in stock. But Green noted that it was not always a sure bet. He said he had been updating prices on espresso machines for Consumer's site and some had increased in price. "But normally things stay the same or drop off dramatically. With technology, it tends to drop off dramatically."

 - Stuff

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