Cyber Sneaks: When a ‘Deal’ Isn’t Really a Deal
Life + Money

Cyber Sneaks: When a ‘Deal’ Isn’t Really a Deal

It’s easy to get swept up in the bargain hunt at this time of year – shopping for others feels even better when you know you’re getting a bargain.

Competition among online retailers has gotten even more heated this year, as consumers increasingly shift their shopping to online retailers.

Related: 10 Ways Holiday Shopping Has Changed This Year

The average shopper planned to do 44 percent of his or her shopping online this holiday season, according to the National Federation of Retailers. Its survey found that 56 percent of consumers planned to shop online – the most in its 13-year history – and up from 51.5 percent last year.

Unfortunately for many shoppers, many of the “deals” that are touted online don’t offer the great value people have been led to believe.

Gadget review site has examined more than 54,000 so-called deals on tech products since early December. The group found that just 0.6 percent of them are actually a good deal.

The site eliminates deals in which retailers recently increased prices in order to then “discount” them during the holidays at prices; deals that promote older technology at lower prices; and deals that charge higher shipping rates to make up for price-slashing.

Related: 25 ‘Free’ Holiday Gift Cards

Bottom line: “Assume most deals are not good,” Wirecutter founder Tony Lam told The New York Times.Don’t get distracted by the razzle-dazzle of double-digit percent off. Figure out what you need, and then do the math.”

You’ll also need to do some comparison shopping. In today’s competitive retail landscape, there’s no guarantee you’ll find the best price online. A recent analysis by Consumer World found that some brick-and-mortar retailers beat their online competitors’ price by hundreds of dollars.

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