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Want a tech gadget bargain? Get it now, or you'll be too late

Bargains on new technology, gadgets and gizmos -- from laptops and desktops to HDTVs and Blu-ray players and even digital cameras and camcorders -- have been plentiful in the shadow of the global downturn.For example:A 10-inch Acer Aspire One netbook, just $320!
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Bargains on new technology, gadgets and gizmos -- from laptops and desktops to HDTVs and Blu-ray players and even digital cameras and camcorders -- have been plentiful in the shadow of the global downturn.

For example:

But the absence of demand and the razor-thin profit margins won't last forever, according to BusinessWeek. While 2009 hasn't seen the end of price declines for most product categories -- the Consumer Electronics Association expects consumer electronics sales to slump 0.6 percent, to $171 billion this year, and average selling prices on laptop computers, HDTVs and GPS devices are still on the decline -- there are signs that the pace of price declines may slow in coming months.

Why? Demand is expected to rebound in the second half as consumers shake off the shock of the rapid global downturn. Component prices are starting to rise, having already hit rock bottom. And retailers such as Circuit City have closed their doors, unable to ride out the recession, thus reducing pricing pressure on other retailers.

And now that the inventory buildup that led to these rock bottom prices is depleting, there's no more reason to hold prices at firesale levels.

While consumer demand is expected to bottom out in 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau announced last week that sales of appliances, TVs, and cameras jumped almost 10 percent in January from December, though they're still down 3.2 percent from a year earlier.

After all, when a movie ticket can cost upwards of $12 or $15 a person, why not funnel that money toward a bigger, nicer home television set? At the time of this writing, Amazon's top 5 bestselling HDTVs were the following:

...with several Blu-ray players in between.

The other force at work is the rampant discounting that has occured in the consumer electronics industry. Wireless carriers are increasing subsidies on smartphones, which are becoming more popular. One analyst says smartphone prices for end users have plummeted to about $150 from $300 just two years ago. Amazon has begun selling the T-Mobile G1 smartphone for only $97.99 with a new service plan. When introduced last fall, the phone cost $179, already at the low end of the smartphone price spectrum.

So what should you do? Act now. As more gadgets are introduced in the second half of 2009 -- leading the charge into the holiday season -- price declines may go the way of the dodo.

Need some guidance? Check out our guide to what gadgets to buy with your tax refund, and check out our holiday gift guide from this past holiday season.

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