Summer is the worst time to buy new gadgets

Keep waiting.
Keep waiting.
Image: Reuters//Hannibal Hanschke
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If you’re in the market for a big new item—perhaps your TV is feeling tired, your phone is slowing down, or your tablet is just ancient—and you’re eyeing something online or at your local electronics store, resist the temptation.

It’s in your interest to wait before buying.

Summer is traditionally a pretty slow period for new electronics in the US and other big Northern Hemisphere markets. Many companies will choose to show off their latest products in the winter, at events like the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas or Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. They’ll get products ready for sale soon after the shows, or aim to release them around the year-end holidays, when more people are in the market for new gadgets.

In the middle of the summer, you’re usually going to be paying close to top prices, as most products will be at the peak of their lifecycles. Many will be discounted in a few months, either for November Black Friday sales in the US, or for other holiday sales around the world, as retailers look to shift old inventory, gear up for Christmas, and make way for newer models.

That’s not to say there aren’t some deals in the summer—Amazon did just have an entire made-up sales holiday that seemed designed just to sell you Echo devices, TVs, and Instant Pots this month. Still, for the most part, it’s best to wait for retailers to ramp up their back-to-school promotions, then their Thanksgiving promotions, followed by the rest of the holiday season, until the process restarts with new products in the winter.

Many companies also release their biggest new products in the fall. Apple, for example, tends to release new iPhones, Apple Watches, and iPads in September. It also often unveils other new products in March, meaning the summer months are an awkward in-between period where you’ll either be paying full price for a product that was either just released or is likely to be replaced with a better model very soon.

Even if you’re not after the newest iPhone or iPad, you’re better off waiting until the new ones are released—and scooping them up at a greater discount.