Which? tracks down the best bargains onlineHow to get hundreds off your Christmas gifts

23 November 2010

A person keying their credit card details into a laptoop

Internet-only banks offer higher rates of interest

Which? research has found you could save hundreds of pounds on cameras and other Christmas gifts by using price alert sites to buy at exactly the right time. 

Over a month, we tracked the online prices of 151 appliances and gadgets and found some jumped around by a large amount. Printers in particular showed several substantial price drops and rises during our tracking; a typical price drop was 25% off the highest price. 

We saw a £1,599 Canon EOS 7D digital camera drop by £200 in one day, twice over the period of our tracking. It ended the four weeks £300 cheaper than its price at the start. 

The Lexmark Interact S605 printer went on a rollercoaster ride with Play.com, twice dropping by £100 - half the maximum price we saw it at. Our graphic below shows you the details. 

Online deals printer graphic large

Get the best deal online

Our tracking covered 23 online stores, including all the big names such as Amazon and Play.com. The price changes of this Lexmark Interact S605 printer on several major sites show Play.com's price crashing from £199.99 to £97.99, rising to £199.99 and then falling and rising again during the month we tracked. 

Comet's price, however, remained constant at £199.99 for the whole time, while Amazon's changed six times in the month, rocketing from £95.99 to £180 at the end of our month. 

However, some products barely shifted at all - nearly three quarters of the PVRs remained at the same price during our tracking.

Price comparisons and price alerts

If you're prepared to watch and wait, our could help you net bargains. With price alert sites, you name a price you're prepared to pay for your named product, and it tracks major online stores. If the price reaches your target, the price alert site sends you an email to tell you it's time to buy. 

Two price alert sites that we tried, Idealo and PriceSpider, have price history graphs going back several months - this can also give you an idea of whether prices will move, and a reasonable target price to aim for. 

For the latest baby product deals read our baby products discount guide

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