Cheapest Time of the Year to Buy a Laptop
By Dan Stone
Laptop prices fluctuate throughout the year, making certain times better than others to find the best deal on new hardware. According to deal-tracking website DealNews, laptops hit their lowest prices of the year in April. However, you can also find lower-than-average prices during the back-to-school period at the end of summer and during the late-November Black Friday and Cyber Monday time periods. Laptop prices peak around February and July.
April is the perfect storm for getting a bargain on laptops because older models go on clearance following the new model announcements around this time. According to Daily Finance, the Japanese fiscal manufacturing year ends in March, so the previous year models are discounted by around 20 percent to make room for the new ones. April is an ideal time to pick up an older model system because of the clearances, but the lower prices may not carry over to the brand-new models. Older models may offer similar performance at a fraction of the cost.
Back to School
Retailers mark down laptops during the back-to-school season between August and September to target students returning to class after summer break. This time period offers the second lowest prices of the year and is a good time to pick up brand-new and older models at a discount. Older models can also see price drops from the introduction of a new CPU generation around this time.
The early holiday shopping period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the end of November is another good time to snag a deal on a laptop. However, the deals during the introduction to the holiday season are not as good on average as those found during April and the back-to-school time frame. The late November deals are sandwiched between two of the higher price time periods. Prices are relatively high in October, drop in late November and increase again in December. If you wait too long or act too soon, you probably won't get the best prices. Some bargains do pop up during the first and last week of the year.
The Refresh Cycle
The best laptop prices don't coincide with the cutting-edge model release times. Depending on the brand you are looking at, the release gap between new models can be three months to a year. If a laptop maker is about to announce a new model line, waiting until that model line is out can help you get a deal on an older model. According to TechHive, some brands including Apple do sweeping product lineup refreshes every six months, whereas companies like Dell release several models throughout the year at irregular intervals.
Dan Stone started writing professionally in 2006, specializing in education, technology and music. He is a web developer for a communications company and previously worked in television. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in communication studies from Northern Illinois University.