Compare and Recycle

When is the Best Time to Buy a New Mobile Phone?

Purchasing a new phone is never an easy task, and it is important to have all the right information before spending your money. The best time to buy a new mobile phone is when it is clear you genuinely need an upgrade. This could be because of wear and tear or because the phone you have no longer receives software updates that have rendered your phone insecure to use. Additionally, you need to know when the best time is to grab the best deal and save money on a new phone. With Black Friday or Boxing Day sales being the obvious, what are the other times throughout the year that could present good opportunities?

In this article:

Saving Money on a New Phone During Seasonal Sales

We often think that finding the best price on a new phone is pure luck, but knowing when to get lucky at finding a good deal requires a bit more than just stars aligning. For instance, Black Friday, Boxing Day and post Christmas sales are known for retailers lowering prices on electronics. However, it is important to beware of false discounts as not all deals are as great as they may seem.

Can you save money on a new phone on Black Friday?

Stereotypically, we all expect phones and electronics to cost peanuts during Black Friday, but in reality deals on the latest flagships are usually non-existent. Retailers sweeten the deal with SIM plan offers to lure you in, but the cost of the phone is rarely discounted. Apple typically does not offer discounts on their products, so it would be unrealistic to expect a price reduction on the latest iPhone or Apple product.

With older generation models, it can be a different story. Keep in mind that retailers and networks start offering deals well before Black Friday, so look around a week before and don’t forget about Cyber Monday where prices are cut even further.

However, Which? found that genuine discounts are often few and far between. Some retailers even make misleading discounts that can confuse customers and push them to buy products making them believe they are cheaper. This makes it even more worthwhile to compare prices in order to get the best deal.

Our research shows a shocking 98% of Black Friday deals were the same price at other times of the year - Does the 'discounted' price offer a genuine saving?

Can you save money on a new phone on Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime members get access to the most decent deals when it comes to phone brands such as Samsung, Google Pixel and other electronics according to Which? If you haven’t got a Prime account you may still be able to save some money through these deals. You can sign up in the first week of July, or even the day before Prime Day, shop all the deals and take advantage of any pre-sales and their benefits. Once your free trial is over, you’ll have to remember to close your account before you get charged.

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Can you save money on a new phone after Christmas?

Many people don't realise that the majority of the best deals come during the week after Christmas that often last well into January too. You can get a lot of great deals on mid-range and high-end phones from networks. Once Boxing Day is over, prices on new phones generally become lower. So if you keep putting off buying yourself a new smartphone until after Christmas, you'll be able to save money.

Can You Save Money on a New Phone With Pre-order Offers?

It is important to ensure that if you want to get a good deal on a new phone, you shouldn’t buy it the day it's released. This is certainly the case with Android phones. While it may initially seem gratifying to be among the first to aquire the latest flagship device, it often results in higher costs compared to waiting a few months. Moreover, early flagships are known for having software issues that typically require a few months of fine-tuning.

However, if you're determined to get the latest phone at launch, your best bet is to compare pre-order offers. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that according to a YouGov survey, only about one-tenth of Britons said the latest model is vital when choosing a handset, and they prioritise value for money over other qualities.

Some network providers offer flat discounts to those who pre-order to ensure more interest and sales. Manufacturers tend to bundle up the new phone with free gifts, accessories, or a couple months of free subscriptions.

How To Save Money on a Phone Before The New Model Launches

If you don’t mind getting a soon-to-be-previous-generation model, then the best time to buy a phone is about a month before the latest model comes out as retailers aim to get rid of the old stock offering significant discounts. You can get a previous iPhone model with a £50-100 discount from Apple as they prepare for the launch of their next flagship and bag a decent trade-in deal for the phone you’ve got. However, each manufacturer release their new models in a different time of year and the best discount may change:

  • Apple usually launches new iPhone models in September, so the prices of older models tend to drop in order to clear their inventory. This means that you can get the older model for a much lower price than usual if you avoid purchasing between June and August and hold up until September.

  • Samsung usually releases its flagship phones in the first quarter of the year, but retailers often offer discounts on the Galaxy phones around August.

  • Google Pixel phones are known for going on sale before the new release and 3 months after. Waiting a few months after the Google product launch in autumn, will save you a considerable amount.

  • OnePlus is known for its Black Friday deals. There are also discounts in December. If you don’t mind going back a model, you can get up to 20% off of the phone’s retail price.

  • LG phones are all about finding the right retailer for you, whether it be at launch or after waiting a few days.

How To Ensure You Find a Good Deal

There are a wide range of tools available to simplify the process of comparing prices and calculating potential savings when purchasing a new phone. Tools like Price Runner, PriceSpy and CamelCamelCamel track prices on items and are usually good at identifying real discounts. With such tools, you can see how the price has fluctuated over a period of time, as well as set an alert to notify when a phone you’re after changes in price.

If you want a single takeaway from this article, then the best time to buy an iPhone is August-September which is just before the new model launches. With Android phones the rule of thumb is to wait about 3-4 months after launch to snap a bargain. It's important to set yourself a budget and do your research to help you decide. Nevertheless, if you are hunting for a specific model, it is always worth checking if it’s available as refurbished, this way you can save even more money on your next phone.

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