Along with our product testing and Ratings, Consumer Reports offers a wealth of information, tips, and advice on shopping. Among the many topics we've tackled for you are how to find the best places to shop for electronics and how to get the best prices (haggling works!), identifying which kids' toys are worth the money and Black Friday deals, and penny auctions and buyback programs.
Holiday shipping: Make sure your gifts arrive on time
Holiday shipping deadlines are fast approaching, so check out our roundup of the various cut-off days you should be aware of you want your gifts to reach their destinations on time.
Holiday shopping: Buy online and pick up at store on same day
Retailers are finding ways to make your shopping experience more convenient, by integrating their online and brick and mortar operations. Some retailers let you buy a product from their website, and then pick it up in the store that same day
Should you give gift cards this holiday?
It's tempting to give gift cards, but although they're simple and straightforward to buy, they may not be the ideal gift. According to our recent survey, even though gift cards are one of the most popular gifts given, a quarter of us still have unused cards left over from last year.
Free tech support from electronics stores
Manufacturers are no longer your only option for tech support: You can often get free assistance from the place where you bought your electronics device. Here’s a look at some of the support options for a variety of retailers.
Smart shopping at holiday pop-up stores
This could be a big year for the temporary shops, which typically open around now and close sometime in January. Not only is there lots of vacant retail space in suburbia, but many recession-wracked cities have been encouraging pop-ups to fill otherwise empty storefronts.
Beware of penny auctions as you search for shopping deals
The deals advertised at online penny auctions can look amazing, but you could end up spending a lot of money, and losing the bidding war, in your pursuit of a great bargain on the perfect holiday gift.
8 highly rated retailers
Before you embark on this year's holiday-shopping adventure, you may want to jot down the retailers that got high marks based on the shopping experiences of more than 22,000 of our readers.
Smart holiday-shopping tips you might not have considered
Planning to give hot-ticket electronics gifts this year? You can shop smart by following a couple of steps you may not have thought about yet, such as making your purchases at highly rated retailers and trying your hand at haggling.
10 tips to prevent ID theft while holiday shopping
Most of us have heard about online scams, and malware; and now even your mobile phone can make you vulnerable to hackers who want to steal your identity. These tips from the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America will help keep your personal information out of the hands of thieves.
Buyback programs for consumer electronics
Buyback programs offer convenience, promising to cushion the cost of replacing items fairly with less hassle than, say, selling the old one on eBay or Craigslist. But they don't offer the best value, even if you typically swap out your gadgets often. In a nutshell, the programs are fairly expensive and fairly measly in what they pay to buy your item back.
Haggling works—even online
If you haven't found the right deal on a tablet computer, e-book reader, or video-game accessory, here's a thought: Why not make your own deal? Overall, only one in seven or eight buyers of major electronics items and computers, respectively, who responded to our surveys said they negotiated for the price of their purchase. Of those customers who asked for a better price, though, half or more were successful overall.
Don't jump at an extended-warranty pitch
As a rule, we think extended warranties are poor buys. That said, buying a computer warranty that extends technical support as well as coverage for repairs might make sense if you or your gift recipient might still need a lot of hand-holding after the free factory support expires, usually after a year. And a plan that covers theft or accidental damage might be worth considering for a laptop, netbook, or tablet you'll use a lot on the go.
New electronics products flood the market in the final months and weeks of the year—just in time for holiday shopping. With all those shiny new toys—tablets, laptop computers, digital cameras, TVs, smart phones, e-book readers, and more—how do you decide which will make the best gifts for your loved ones? Or, maybe, for yourself? Don't let it overwhelm you, because we're here to help.