If you want to get a good deal on the phone you have your eyes on, you have to time your purchase correctly. Buying it the day it officially goes on sale may feel good because you’re one of the first to have it, but it’s usually a big mistake. To maximize savings when buying a new handset, you have to be smart and often also patient.
I’m a frugal person and hate paying full price on anything, especially smartphones. To combat this, I’ve been paying close attention to phone prices over the years and have figured out the best times to buy a new one. Some tips may be obvious, but some might surprise you.
Here are the best times to buy a new phone!
The best time to buy a new phone
During the pre-order period
As already mentioned, buying a phone right after it officially goes on sale is not the best idea if you want to save money. A much better option is to get it during the pre-order period. You’ll still be among the first ones to own the device, but you’ll be saving a bit of money or at least getting more bang for your buck.
You can expect two types of deals during the pre-order period. The first one is a flat discount. Some retailers may look to undercut the opposition to secure more pre-sales, so be sure to check all the big stores before placing your order.
The other deal, which is more common, gets you a bunch of free goodies and sometimes even gift certificates along with your purchase. However, keep in mind that these deals are usually reserved for the more popular and expensive phones out there.
Here are a few examples of great deals we’ve seen in the past. Those who pre-ordered one of the Galaxy S10 phones received a free pair of Galaxy Buds worth $130, while consumers who pre-ordered the Note 10 got a $100 Samsung gift card or a free Echo Plus smart speaker if they bought the handset from Amazon. In the past, Samsung threw in everything from free microSD cards, VR headsets, and battery packs to those who pre-ordered one of their phones. And it’s not just Samsung — a lot of other manufacturers do the same thing to drive sales.
Up to a month or so before the new model comes out
This tip only applies to those who are happy getting a soon-to-be-last-gen model of a phone. The best time to buy a new phone’s predecessor is around a month or so before the latest model comes out, as that’s usually when retailers start offering discounts to get rid of their stock. Discounts are also available — and are sometimes even higher — right after the new phone hits the market. Wait to long, however, and retailers may sell through their stock.
Research is key to a good purchase!
Keep in mind that to get the best deals, you’ll definitely have to shop around. Check out as many online stores as possible to see which ones offer the largest discount. For example, the 1TB variant of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is listed at $1,549.99 at Best Buy at the time of writing, while Samsung is selling it for $1,299.99 via its website — that’s a $250 difference. The tech giant is also throwing in a free case of choice worth up to $65 and offers an additional discount of up to $440 if you trade in an eligible phone. This just goes to show that research is key to a good purchase!
During Black Friday
Black Friday takes place every fourth Thursday of November every year and offers substantial savings on phones and a ton of other products. There’s a plethora of deals available online, so you can avoid the crowds and riots at your local electronics store and just make a purchase from the comfort of your house.
To give you an idea of the amount of cash you can save, here are a few of the best Black Friday phone deals we saw in 2019:
- Pixel 4 — $600 ($200 off)
- Moto G7 — $180 ($120 off)
- LG G8 ThinQ — $400 ($450 off)
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus — $700 ($300 off)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus — $800 ($250 off)
- OnePlus 7 Pro — $550 ($150 off)
Remember that lots of retailers start offering deals a week or so before Black Friday actually kicks off, so make sure to start doing your research then. And don’t forget about Cyber Monday deals as well, which are available on the first Monday after Black Friday.
During Amazon Prime Day
Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the site’s launch. During Prime Day, the retailer offers big discounts on phones, electronics, and just about every other product you can think of to its Prime members. The event usually takes place in the middle of July, although not always on the exact same date.
If you’re a Prime member, you should definitely keep an eye out on Amazon’s shopping day. If you’re not, you can always sign up for a free trial to get access to all the deals available without spending a dime on a Prime membership.
The deals available obviously differ from year to year, but just to give you an idea of what to expect, we’ve rounded up a few of the best ones Amazon offered last year:
- Samsung Galaxy S10e — $550 ($300 off)
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus — $700 ($300 off)
- Google Pixel 3 XL — $640 ($260 off)
- Moto G7 Power — $195 ($55 off)
- LG G8 ThinQ — $500 ($350 off)
- Razer Phone 2 — $400 ($400 off)
Amazon Prime Day started out as a 24-hour shopping event, but Amazon extended it 48 hours due to its popularity. It takes place in loads of markets including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, India, Germany, and many others.
During Boxing Day sales and beyond
Boxing Day falls on the day after Christmas (December 26) and offers big discounts on phones and other products in places like the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and a few others. However, it’s becoming an excuse for retailers in countries that typically don’t celebrate Boxing Day to grab consumers’ attention and increase sales with various deals. So no matter which country you live in, it’s worth checking out phone deals on this day.
Here are a few deals that caught our eye on Boxing Day 2019 in the UK and Australia:
- OnePlus 7 — £459 (£90 off)
- OnePlus 6T — £335 (£194 off)
- Apple iPhone 11 — £699.99 (£30 off)
- Nokia 2.2 — AU$149.25 (AU$49.75 off)
- Nokia 7.2 — AU$375.25 (AU$123.75 off)
- Nokia 4.2 — AU$186.75 (AU$62.25 off)
- Nokia 6.2 — AU$299.25 (AU$99.75 off)
While a lot of people are familiar with Boxing Day, even in countries that don’t celebrate it, not a lot of people know that there are deals to be had in the entire week after Christmas. These deals frequently extend into January as well. People generally spend less money during this time compared to the weeks leading up to Christmas, so retailers start offering discounts to get you to pull out your wallet. I got a lot of great deals a few days after Christmas over the last few years on various electronics and have seen many others on mid-range as well as high-end phones.
When to buy the latest Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, and more
Now it’s time to get even more specific. We looked at price charts for some of the more popular phones out there to figure out when you can get your hand on them as fast as possible at a great price. Let’s get right into it:
Best time to buy Google Pixel phones
Never buy a Pixel phone at full price, as you can get a big discount if you buy one in the first month or so of its launch. For example, the Google Pixel 4 received a $100 discount just a week or so after sales kick off on Amazon. This was followed by an additional $100 discount during Black Friday, which took place a month after the Pixel 4 hit the market. It was a similar story with the Pixel 3.
Best time to buy LG phones
Just like with Pixel phones, you should never buy the latest LG phone at full price. Launched in April this year, the G8 ThinQ was available for $819.99. However, some retailers, including Amazon, brought the price down to $650 on launch day, offering $170 in savings. The important thing here is to shop around to find the best deal. The G8 then hit its lowest price of $400 on Black Friday, although the phone had already been on the market for six months by then.
Best time to buy Samsung Galaxy S phones
Samsung generally releases its latest Galaxy S phone in March and based on the price charts we’ve reviewed, the first substantial discounts are available in July or August. The Galaxy S10e, S10, and S10 Plus all received a discount of around $200 during that time. You should be able to get an even better deal during Black Friday, although the phones are usually already around eight months old at that point.
Best time to buy Samsung Galaxy Note phones
To get your hands on the latest Galaxy Note as fast as possible at a great price, getting it during Black Friday — around three months after the phone hits the market — is your best option. The alternative is during the Christmas sales when similar discounts are available.
Best time to buy OnePlus phones
The best time to buy a OnePlus phone is during Black Friday or in December. The company offered a $150 discount on the OnePlus 7 Pro and 6T during last year’s Black Friday in the US. There were similar deals available in other countries, including the UK, where consumers got up to 20% off the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro.
If you happen to miss OnePlus’ Black Friday deals, you still have a chance to save by getting a device from the company during December. For example, OnePlus celebrated its sixth birthday on December 17 by offering a discount of up to €140 on the OnePlus 7 Pro. In the US, the company discounted the OnePlus 7 Pro for $170 during that time. However, keep in mind that OnePlus doesn’t offer great discounts like these every single anniversary.
OnePlus frequently offers discounts during Boxing Day as well — December 26. Last year in the UK, the company discounted the OnePlus 7 for £90 and the OnePlus 6T for £194. And in addition to Black Friday and December, OnePlus sometimes also offers discounts in August as part of their Back to School sale. For example, last year the company reduced the price of the OnePlus 6T by $50.
Best time to buy Moto G phones
Moto G phones usually start getting their first discounts — up to $50 — around two or three months after they go on sale. But to get the best deal possible on any Moto G phone (or Motorola phones in general), waiting for Black Friday is the way to go. However, depending on which model you get, the phone could be as much as eight months old by then.
The Moto G7 received a $100 discount during the popular shopping event, while the Moto G6 was on offer as a buy-one-get-one-free. You can check out a few other Motorola Black Friday deals here.
Best time to buy iPhones
Apple typically announces its latest iPhone generation each September. The tech giant isn’t the most generous with discounts, but you can find a few great deals offered by retailers and carriers during Black Friday, which takes place around two months after the phones are released.
Last year, Target offered a $200 gift card to consumers who bought an iPhone 11, 11 Pro, or 11 Pro Max. Carriers offered several great deals as well to those who traded in their old phone — you were able to save as much as $700.
There are plenty of iPhone deals available each Black Friday, but they differ from year to year. You’ll have to do a bit of research on your own to find the one that suits you best.
Bonus tip: How to know if you’re getting a good deal
When shopping on Amazon, phones that are $100, $200, or even $300 off seem like great deals, and a lot of the times they are. But not always! Sometimes, the retailer jacks up the price a day or two before lowering it down again a few hundred bucks to make it seem like you’re getting a good deal. Other times, the list price is just way too high for what appears to be no other reason but to make the discounted price look like a bargain. Keep in mind that this is a common practice in the retail world and not something only Amazon uses.
In any case, you have to be smart about it. The best way you can do that is to use a tool like CamelCamelCamel, which shows you how a price of a phone listed on Amazon changed over time.
Here’s an example. I was browsing through the German version of Amazon, since it’s where I do a lot of my online shopping, and came across a listing for the Samsung Galaxy M30s. The list price was €591.76, while the discounted price, which is the price you pay, was €249. That means the retailer was offering a €342.76 discount on the phone. Or so it seems.
By using CamelCamelCamel, we can quickly figure out that the phone was never actually priced at €591.76. The highest it’s ever been on Amazon was €259, which means that you’re basically only getting a €10 discount instead of the €342.76 claimed by Amazon. What’s more, we can also see that the phone was cheapest at the end of November (during Black Friday), when it went for €218.
A price comparison tool will help you find the best deal.
It’s also worth noting that Amazon doesn’t always have the best deals available. That’s why it’s important to use a price comparison tool in addition to CamelCamelCamel. I’m European, so I’ll use the Galaxy M30s as an example again and the website preis.de as my comparison tool. After searching for the Galaxy M30s on the website, I can quickly see that there are plenty of better deals on Samsung’s mid-ranger from reputable sellers. For example, Rakuten is offering the handset for roughly €218, which is €31 cheaper than Amazon.
It’s the same story in the US as well as in most other regions. If you live in the US, there are plenty of price comparison websites available including Google Shopping and Yahoo Shopping — check out more of them here.
These are some of the best tips and tricks on when to buy a phone to get the best deal possible. Do you have any tips to share with other buyers? Let us know in the comments!