If you want to get a good deal on a new phone, 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 times 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 a Samsung Galaxy S21 device got up to $200 in credit as well as a Samsung Galaxy SmartTag — a great way to keep track of that shiny new device. In years past, Samsung has offered everything from discounts to Galaxy Buds with pre-orders, and it’s not the only one. OnePlus packaged its OnePlus Buds Z with this year’s OnePlus 9 series, for example.
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, sometimes even higher, right after the new phone hits the market. Wait too 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 premium Galaxy S21 Ultra is listed at $1,199.99 at Best Buy at the time of writing, while Amazon is selling it for $989.99 via its website — that’s a $210 difference. 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 2020:
- Pixel 5 — $499 ($200 off)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series — Up to $750 off
- Motorola Razr 5G — $400 off
- OnePlus 8 Pro — $799 ($199 off)
- Samsung Galaxy S20 — Up to $660 off with trade
Remember that many 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 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 Prime membership.
See also: What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime Day started 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. However, there will not be a Prime Day event in Canada this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
While many 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 5 received a $100 discount not long after sales kicked off on Amazon. An additional $100 discount followed this during Black Friday, which took place a month after the Pixel 5 hit the market. It was a similar story with the Pixel 4.
Best time to buy LG phones
With LG ending its time in the mobile phone game, the best time to grab a V60 or a Velvet is as soon as you can. They’re not likely to stick around long as the supply dries up, and you should be able to find a good price. Just don’t get too picky about colors, as there won’t be any new options.
Best time to buy Samsung Galaxy S phones
Samsung generally releases its latest Galaxy S phone in early spring, and the trade-in deals are your best chance to save. The Galaxy S21 series all received a discount of hundreds of dollars provided you were willing to part with your previous device. You can also wait until summer when there are solid discounts without the trade-in requirement.
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 — a few 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 $200 discount on the OnePlus 8 Pro during last year’s Black Friday in the US. There were similar deals available in other countries, including the UK, where consumers got the chance to save across the entire OnePlus 8 range.
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 in December 2019 with plenty of discounts. However, keep in mind that OnePlus may not have the same level of celebration for every single anniversary.
OnePlus frequently offers discounts during Boxing Day as well — December 26. And in addition to Black Friday and December, OnePlus sometimes also offers discounts in August as part of their Back to School sale.
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.
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.
Your best bet is to try your mobile carrier. AT&T, for example, offers up to $700 off to consumers who bought an iPhone 12 series device with a qualifying trade.
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 time, 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 a while back, 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.
Using CamelCamelCamel, we can quickly determine 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 see that the phone was cheapest at the end of November (during Black Friday), when it went for €218.
If we do a little searching on Google, we can figure out that no retailer had the Galaxy M30s priced at around €600, as the MSRP of the handset was roughly €260.
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 plenty of better deals on Samsung’s mid-ranger from reputable sellers. For example, Rakuten offered 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 buying a phone to get the best deal possible. Do you have any tips to share with other buyers? Let us know in the comments!