The cheapest time to buy Christmas gifts such as bikes, lego and laptops

Warnings of a shortage of Christmas presents this festive season have led to many shoppers snapping up products whilst they can.

Retail industry leaders have shared concerns that the shortage of HGV drivers to carry loads from docks around the coast is threatening not only Britons’ Christmas festivities, but also the wider economy. 

While some may prefer to wait until nearer the time, there are now only two paydays left until Christmas – and by timing their purchases right, customers can often save some money. 

Consumers could save on their Christmas presents by researching what month is cheapest

It is possible to cut the cost of present buying significantly by researching whether a product is typically cheaper to buy in October, November or December.

Comparison site, Idealo, has analysed items which are likely to be popular presents for this Christmas, combining data from how much they cost last year to see which month is best to buy.

Unsurprisingly it found that many of the products were most expensive in December, as more people are likely to do their shopping then.  

But there were some exceptions – for example, purchasing a laptop in December could save you £166 compared to November when they are at their most expensive costing an average of £1,300. 

Other tech items such as games consoles and wireless ear pods are at their most expensive in December, and could cost £56 and £8 more, respectively, than in earlier months.

Customers looking for a smart watch are also better off buying in October when prices average £172, compared to in December when they reach £198. 

For those looking to get fit over the winter months, savings can be made on yoga mats and bikes if they’re purchased in October and December respectively. 

Buying at the right time would save customers a collective £103.

It is cheaper for customers to buy workout weights in November than other winter months

It is cheaper for customers to buy workout weights in November than other winter months

Gift Best time to buy Best average price Worst time to buy Worst average price
Home workout weights November £36 September £66
Smart watch October £172 December £198
Espresso machine November £676 September £739
Wireless ear pods November £60 December £68
Hair straighteners October £62 December £71
Beard trimmers November £55 December £88
LEGO kit October £80 December £94
Drill kit October £303 December £377
Laptop December £1,134 November £1,300
Hairdryer October £60 September £79
Video Game November £22 October £29
TV November £908 September £1,034
Juicer October £180 December £251
Bike October £573 September £683
Yoga mat December £28 November £31
Source: Idealo         

Home workout weights, meanwhile, are cheapest to buy in November with an average price of £36. 

Beauty products were also found to be the most expensive in December. 

Hair straighteners cost an average of £62 in October, the best time to buy, but rose to £71 in December. Beard trimmers, meanwhile, cost just £55 in November but £88 in December.  

 We’re expecting buying habits this Christmas to be very different from previous years, with further emphasis on home working and entertainment

Katy Philip of Idealo, said: ‘Comparing prices across a range of products can truly help you find a better deal. 

‘At a time where saving money is paramount for some, being able to check multiple retailer costings at once can prove a hugely helpful resource.’

‘We’re expecting buying habits this Christmas to be very different from previous years, with further emphasis on home working and entertainment, as well as products that improve our health and wellbeing.’

Why could there be a shortage of presents?

There is a combination of reasons why there could be a shortage of gifts this winter including rising transport costs, higher energy prices and ongoing labour shortages.

A mix of Brexit and the pandemic has also seen manufacturers stop shipping big containers by sea. 

Toy prices, in particular, are likely to rise, according to the Toy Retailers Association, as shipping costs have risen 900 per cent in a year. 

A £15 toy truck now costs £7 to ship from Asia, where many toys are produced – up from 70p a year ago.

The British Retail Consortium has said there are ‘clear signs’ that transport and labour issues are ‘starting to filter through to consumer prices’. 

One in three retailers in the UK expect prices to rise in the next three months, the consortium added. 

Even if stock is available, it is likely prices will be much higher than usual as retailers are having to pay more for the cost of goods and delivery surcharges. 

For shoppers, it is worth using a price tracking tool, of which there are many online, to keep an eye on how the price of presents they want to buy changes over the next few months.  

Idealo looked at it’s data to find the average price for each category every day from the start of September to the end of December 2020 to find the cheapest average price and the most expensive average price for each category.