Revealed: the best time to buy a tablet

Research shows non-Apple tablet prices decrease four times faster

Stewart Mitchell
20 Aug 2012

Buying a tablet at the lowest price is all about timing, according to analysis of prices across Europe - which showed some brands see retail prices drop further and faster than others.

Research from price comparison site Idealo - using figures from the UK and other European countries - showed that tablet prices were falling across the board, but buyers could pick up deeper discounts depending on the manufacturer and the time of year.

Bargain hunters should avoid high-demand periods such as Christmas, with average prices higher during the shopping rush. "The only period which non-Apple tablet PC prices increased was from the last quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012," Idealo said. "Analysing the price data on a per month basis, the results show that the average prices of non-Apple tablets increased only during the holiday season, from November 2011 through January 2012."

Non-Apple tablet PCs decrease in price four times faster than Apple tablet PCs

Depending on the manufacturer, waiting four or five months for a particular model can make a large difference in the cost, with equipment from Archos dropping more than a quarter between February and June this year, the research found. "The average price of Archos tablet PCs declined the most from February to June 2012, decreasing by 27.2%," the company said. "Apple iPad prices decreased only 4.5% in the same period."

However, Asus tablets bucked that trend, with the average price of the company's hardware getting more expensive in recent months - reflecting newer models being released. "After a 3.5% price decrease from February to March 2012, the average price of Acer tablet PCs increased 10% from March to June 2012," the report said.

Apple average price

The price of Android tablets fell much more quickly than Apple's iPad, which was likely to hold its price for longer, the research found.

"Between quarter two of 2011 and quarter two of 2012, the average price of non-Apple tablet PCs declined 13.61%, while the average price for iPads decreased only 3.42%," Idealo said. "Non-Apple tablet PCs decrease in price four times faster than Apple tablet PCs."

Apple holds a 70% share of the tablet market, according to figures from IHS iSuppli, and price cuts can be manufacturers' only weapon in the fight against the iPad.

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