Data Shows Merchants Mark Up Smartphone Prices During Online Sales Days

Article By : iPrice Group

According to iPrice Group's latest study, online sales days actually do not offer the cheapest prices for smartphones.

In the early 2000s, having a cellphone with a simple call and text function was already a technological breakthrough. But when smartphones emerged, it became a necessity.

That said, it’s important for every consumer to be able to buy or upgrade their smartphones at the best cost. Luckily, with e-commerce becoming a game-changer (especially during the pandemic) smartphones have become more accessible than ever.

Online sales days like 11.11 and 12.12 supposedly give consumers an opportunity to get the best deals.

However, according to iPrice Group’s latest study, which gathered the price data of 80,000 smartphone prices across Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia from July 16 to December 31, 2021, online sales days actually do not offer the cheapest prices for smartphones. In fact, the study shows that there were price markups within two weeks before each online sales day.

Which Online Sales Day Has the Highest Markup?

Among the months observed, 10.10 had the highest markup of 4% before the online sales day, followed by 9.9 (3%), 12.12 (3%), and 8.8 (2%).

The median price of smartphones during 10.10 actually reached $324 when it was just $310 14 days before the sales day. In December, the median price of smartphones became more expensive ($351), rising by 3% from $340 14 days prior.

Upon comparing prices during 8.8 and 12.12, iPrice discovered that there was an 8% increase in December.

It’s pretty clear that consumers shouldn’t necessarily wait for online sales days to get the best smartphone deals, especially if they want to avoid price markups.

iPrice observed that while the smartphone prices are lower 14 days prior to the sale day, the prices shoot up later, only for them to slightly decrease come sales day or afterwards. Therefore, this could be sellers’ tactics to convince shoppers of a “price decrease” during sales days, when in fact, they’re not getting much of a deal.

The Worst Month to Buy a Smartphone in Each Country

Smartphone prices in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia reached its highest price a few days before the 10.10 sale. As seen in most countries, the highest price markups usually occurred within 14 days prior to a sales day. Meanwhile, Malaysia had the highest increase in November.

Among all five countries, Singapore had the highest smartphone price markup, reaching an increase of 14% prior to 10.10. Meanwhile, the Philippines had a price markup of 11%, followed by Malaysia (3%), Thailand (2%), and Indonesia (2%).

It’s interesting to note that Singapore was the only country that had the highest markup after the 12.12 sale, reaching $526 just 2 days before Christmas. Additionally, Singapore is the only country that had its highest price markup after a sales day. Perhaps Singaporeans should avoid purchasing smartphones during the Christmas season.

This is probably why the highest price across the five countries combined was seen on Christmas Eve (December 24) reaching up to $364, which was 4% higher than the 12.12 sale day price, and 7% higher than a normal day (14 days prior to 12.12). It seems that online sellers may be leveraging on last-minute Christmas shoppers.

That said, online sales days drive shoppers to e-commerce sites in the hopes of getting the best prices. If price history is any indication, however, it seems that shoppers won’t be snagging a good deal on smartphones during these sales events.

Hopefully, this study will help consumers shop smarter and find the best smartphone prices. In line with iPrice’s mission, it aims to help shoppers save money and find the best deals.


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