Does the sagging economy, national debt, and our previous list of the 11 things that will be more expensive in 2012 have ya feeling down? Well, here's something to look forward to: to help counteract some of that 2012 gloom, we've gathered 12 items we predict will cost less in the coming year. From TVs to laptops, cash-strapped shoppers should keep an eye on prices for these items; even wine might see notable discounts next year! So cheer up and read on for the good consumer news.
1. Apple iPad 2
The iPad 3 will not feature a significant price drop (if any at all), but one thing is guaranteed — Cupertino's forthcoming tablet will most certainly bring down the price of refurbished iPad 2s. (As the iPad 2 did for its predecessor.) The iPad 3 may even cause resellers to offer more deals on new iPad 2 models as they try to move yesterday's tech to make room for Apple's latest and greatest.
Oenophiles, perk up! Wine connoisseur extraordinaire, Robert Parker, predicts the coming year to be the "Age of the Buyer" — a prolonged period of time with stable or declining wine prices. With less disposable income, folks have left wines priced at $30 and above untouched on store shelves. So to move stock, retailers are expected to offer more sales and even flash deals on wines. Price is also affected by industry competition, as consumers note the quality-to-price ratio from wines originating in countries like Australia, Argentina, South Africa, and Chile. Aficionados should check out sites like Lot 18 for their boozy offerings.
3. Desktop Replacement Laptops
Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs may be dominating the laptop landscape, but it's AMD's recession-friendly Fusion APUs that are driving prices down, particularly in the realm of desktop replacements. The star of the show is AMD's A Series APU, which promises better battery life, better video playback, and more affordable prices among desktop replacements. Just last week we saw systems plummet to $350, an unprecedented price low for any desktop replacement.
4. Android Tablets
The Kindle Fire has been Amazon's most successful product ever launched. The release of this groundbreaking tablet has, a-hem, ignited a fire among tablet manufacturers as they scramble to match Amazon's $199 price tag. For consumers, the competition translates to better tablet bargains in 2012.
5. Solid State Drives (SSDs)
The floods that hit Thailand in 2011 created a shortage of hard drives and a subsequent spike in prices. Solid state drives, however, were not affected by the flooding and while their cost per gigabyte is still higher than that of a traditional hard drive, their demand is now greater. In addition, dealnews data shows that SSD prices are steadily dropping; in 2011 the price of a 64GB SSD drive dropped 33% while the price of a 128GB drive dropped 21% — a trend that we expect will continue in 2012 as more SSDs permeate the market in place of 2.5" hard drives.
6. Car Rentals
Gas and airfare may be going up in 2012, but car rental rates are expected to remain flat, as agencies across the country reportedly have excess cars available. More stock and subsequent competition is thus expected to keep rental rates low throughout the new year, and we anticipate to see an increase in the number of discounts on car and SUV rentals.
7. eBook Readers
Each new generation of Amazon's Kindle reader has chipped away at the eBook reader's price tag, sometimes by as much as 61%. Assuming there's a new Kindle in 2012 (rumor has it that an e-Ink update with video support will debut), we expect to see continued price cuts on Amazon's popular eBook reader, sending previous Kindle models into all-time low price territory.
8. Apple MacBook Air Refurbs
In 2011 the price of a refurbished 4th generation 11" MacBook Air dropped from $849 to $699 (17%). Not bad for a notebook that's single-handedly changing the laptop industry. Apple is bound to refresh its MacBook Air in 2012, and the new model (which would be the 6th generation) is guaranteed to drive refurb prices down even lower. Don't care for a refurb unit? In 2011 we also saw aggressive deals on new, current 5th generation MacBook Airs with prices dropping from $999 to $850 (14%).
9. Standalone GPS Units with Lifetime Maps
The smarter our phones get, the greater the number of gadgets they're capable of replacing. And no gadget is as close to extinction as the GPS unit. So it comes as no surprise to see manufacturers slash prices on standalone GPS units with lifetime / live maps. dealnews data shows that in 2011, units that were once fetching around $160 reached price-lows of just $70.
10. Media Streamers
We love Roku, but when Blu-ray players with built-in streaming start to cost less than the price of a Roku box, it's time for the latter to get aggressive. In order to remain relevant in 2012, media streamers (such as the Roku player and Boxee Box) must out-price Blu-ray players. We anticipate seeing more deals and lower prices on these electronics.
11. 3D HDTVs
3D HDTVs are a tough sell. Not only are they pricier than traditional CCFL-based LCDs and standalone LED-based sets, but they also require a bigger investment as you'll have to purchase 3D glasses, a 3D Blu-ray player, and 3D Blu-ray discs to get the most from your 3D TV. In 2011, we saw prices for 55" 3D televisions drop 33% from $1,499 in January to $999 in December. The new year will bring an influx of new 3D TVs, which means vendors will try to combat lagging sales with discounts on 2011 3D HDTV models.
12. Home Prices
Despite record-low mortgage interest rates, United States home prices are expected to limp their way into the coming year. In 2011, average home prices across the country were down 3.4% (compared to the same period of August to October, 2010). And with unemployment expected to remain high, 2012 is looking like it will remain a buyer's market.
Excited for these less-expensive items next year? Start preparing by setting up a dealnews email alert now, so you'll receive a message as soon as we see a discount on the category or specific product of your choice. While we can't help you find a better price on a home, we can certainly point you toward cheaper electronics and other online goods.