Why it pays to shop around for household appliances

Shop around for house-hold appliances
Photo credit: Getty

Although haggling isn't embedded in our Kiwi culture, new data shows that prices for washing machines, fridge-freezers and other household items can be picked up significantly cheaper just by shopping around.

On Monday, product and price comparison website, PriceSpy found that depending on where people shop, some could pay up to 59 percent more on the same item.

The biggest price difference was for a Fisher & Paykel stainless steel fridge-freezer, with the day's price sitting $4,005 at Forlongs and $2,498 at Heathcotes.

Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, country manager for PriceSpy, said it's important that customers are kept informed to ensure they aren't spending money unnecessarily.

"As consumers, we expect to see small price variants between retailers however, when these amounts equate to a massive [$1507] for the exact same product, as for the Fisher and Paykel RX611DUX1 stainless steel fridge freezer, we need to help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions to ensure they aren't spending hundreds, if not thousands of extra dollars."

PriceSpy Tuesday sample price comparisons on household appliances

  • Fisher & Paykel 8.5kg front-loader WH8560P2: $1089 at Smith's City & Lim Electronics, $2,099.99 at 100% Extreme Appliances.
  • Sunbeam Mini Baristsa EM4300 espresso machine: $259 at Heathcotes, $499.99 at Noel Leeming.
  • Russell Hobbs Brooklyn Kettle RHK92: $98 at 100% Extreme Appliances, $189.99 at Farmers.


PriceSpy Fridge Freezer prices
Photo credit: PriceSpy
Washing machine price comparison
Photo credit: PriceSpy

Greg Harford, chief executive of Retail NZ confirmed that the retail price can be driven by the wholesale price paid by the retailer, which will also vary according to volume purchased and foreign exchange movements.  Additional, there are differences in staff and rent costs which may flow through to the retail price. 

"Prices change frequently and retailers will often respond to offerings by their competitors in the market.  

The key conclusion for consumers is that it's always a good idea to shop around for a good deal," he said.

If customers are prepared to shop around, it's likely they'll find a good deal right through the year.

"There are likely to be particularly good deals long weekends: the Black Friday and Cyber-Monday shopping festival and in the Boxing Day/New Year sales," Harford added.

Should customers looking for the best deals bother to set foot in-store, or can much of the price work be done online?

While people may have better things to do than drive around to each store, they may be rewarded with a better deal.

"There might be some cases in which floor stock is discounted and only available in-store, but this will be because it's impractical to load up individual single products from one store onto a nationwide website.  

"Doing so could lead to customer disappointment, and it could be misleading to imply a product were available nationally at a specific price if there is only one item available," Harford said.

PriceSpy data indicates that retailer pricing is dynamic and in any one day, there can be significant movements in what people pay for common household items.

Among PriceSpy's tips for getting the best price are to compare stores, check a store's sale prices against others (beware of an inflated price prior to a sale), compare features and be prepared: know what you're looking for and have a rough idea of price-range.  Additionally, certain products can be purchased off season (e.g. discontinued lines and Christmas decorations).

These days, many people have better things to do than drive around stores.  Doing some research online and understanding that prices between retailers can change on a daily basis will help you to find the best deal on the day.