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Price History Database

Introduction

One or more times a day we collect product price information from the stores featured on this site and record the details of price changes. If you've registered to our free "price watch" for any of the products which have become cheaper, we'll send you a price alert email. Alternatively, you could subscribe to the RSS feed of price reductions.

In addition to its use for price alerts, extracts from the price history database can be found online on the individual product pages.

Often, the price of a product will vary during its lifetime. Shops adjust their prices for a variety of reasons. For example, the price may be reduced for a short promotional period, to compete with other suppliers or products, or may be increased because the shop's costs have risen.

Viewing the price history helps you to make an informed decision as to whether the price offered is a good one or whether it seems likely that deferring your purchase might be worthwhile. If you decide to wait, then you can take advantage of our free price watch feature, which will notify you by email when a product becomes available at a lower price.

Things to Look for in the Price History

... and how to use them to help you to get the best price.

First of all, remember that the interpretation of the price history is not an exact science and there's no guarantee that you'll ever be able to get a better price for a product than the one that's being offered right now. You may, however, feel that you are able to spot a trend or a pattern that might repeat itself; this might give you confidence that you're buying at the right time or help you decide to wait a week or two.

  • Price is static: No evidence to suggest that the price is likely to change.
  • Price is volatile and is historically high. Might be worth waiting.
  • Price is volatile and is historically low. Might be the right time to buy.
  • An upward trend. Might be the right time to buy before it goes up again.
  • A downward trend. Buy it now because you know you'll get a good price or hang on because you'd prefer to wait in the hope of achieving a lower price.
  • Prices from all suppliers change by similar amount/percentage at around about the same time. External factor may have hit all shops equally. (See notes on VAT and sterling exchange rate)

If you really "must" have the product you've chosen, then the only way to avoid disappointment is to take up the best offer that's available today. However, if you don't need to purchase immediately and are prepared to take a chance on the price going up, why not set up a price alert and perhaps also alerts on alternative products and wait a little while in the hope of beating the current prices.

Don't forget that there may be other factors that affect the price of a product so you really should click through to the shop's website to read the details of an offer before making your final decision.

Sterling Exchange Rate.

The exchange rate between the pound and other currencies can affect retail prices because it affects the prices that shops have to pay the manufacturers. Even if a product is manufactured or assembled in the UK, raw materials or components may be imported. Unfortunately the pound hasn't been doing too well against important currencies during the period leading up to 5th February 2010. For example, compared to six months ago the pound is down against US Dollar (down 8.5%), the Chinese Yuan (down 8.6%), the Japanese Yen (down 14.5%) and the Euro (down 2.9%). The Euro itself hasn't fared too well recently and the pound is actually up 1% against the Euro over the last three months, but still well down against the others. If you think that the pound is going to gain strength then you might think that this might help prices to come down. On the other hand you might feel that there's little reason at present for sterling exchange rates to improve and every reason for them to continue to decline. You can see current and historical exchange rates at Yahoo's currency converter

The VAT Rate Change

VAT stood at 15% throughout 2009 and was restored to 17.5% on 1st January 2010. Although some retailers maintained prices at the 2009 levels at least for a while, they still had to pay the extra 2.5% VAT to HM Revenue & Customs, so they'll have adjusted prices by now to reflect the increase.

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5th February 2010

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