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Get the best electronics deals

Where to buy and how to bargain for the lowest price

Consumer Reports magazine: December 2012

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Buying electronics online was more pleasing for Consumer Reports readers than buying at a walk-in store, according to our survey on almost 30,000 buying experiences. And the proportion of major electronics purchases that readers made online more than doubled from 2006 to 2011.

No wonder some big stores are cutting back. Best Buy, the biggest remaining chain, said it would close 50 of its 1,000 or so locations in 2012. Best Buy and Staples plan to shrink the size of many of their stores. Walmart, after years of expanding its electronics offerings, has stopped selling Amazon’s Kindle tablets and e-book readers.

Retailers blame their sales woes in part on so-called "showrooming," the consumer practice of checking products out firsthand in stores before buying them online. Although online purchases have increased greatly in recent years, about twice as many respondents bought in stores as on the Internet. And though online shoppers were more satisfied overall, the best walk-in options got high marks, too, as the Ratings on the facing page reveal.

Wherever you shop, a few simple steps can help you get the best deal on a major electronics purchase.

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