Is it Really Cheaper to Buy Online?

You can get some good bargains online. Whether it is from a major retailer who will also take online orders, a smaller retailer who has turned to online marketing and opened an e-store to compliment their retail store, a company that is based solely online like Amazon, Booktopia, The Iconic, or someone working from home selling through the likes of eBay, Facebook or word-of-mouth, there are some great bargains to be had. Or so I am told…

You can also get ripped off if you don’t do your homework. What might be seen as a bargain might actually cost you more.

As I have written about in a few previous posts, our eldest son is into Lego’s Ninjago and I have recently purchased all the DVDs for him and am now tracking down some of the toy sets that have been discontinued or are hard to get, so I need to rely on using the Internet to find them. Of course eBay has been the first port of call to see if I can find some second hand sets in good condition. And it is what I noticed whilst searching for these toys online that was the basis for this blog post.

Although I read about it on Saturday night (when I should have been glued to the television watching the election results) that a new Ninjago television series is in production due out next year, what is currently considered the complete story of Ninjago (the new series wasn’t planned) is for sale on DVD. But how much should you be paying for them?

On Saturday I took the boys shopping and went into a few stores looking for the DVDs and writing down their current price in store. While I was putting our younger one to bed on Sunday night I went on online on my phone to work out the prices online.

 Title Big W Kmart eBay JB Hi-Fi
 Ninjago DVD Season 1 Masters of SpinjitzuSeason 1 – Masters of Spinjitzu – 2 Episodes – 43 Minutes $8.96 in store$12.96 delivered $9.00 in storeno delivery $12.60 online includes deliveryup to

$23.95 online includes delivery

$9.98 in store$10.97 delivered
 Ninjago DVD Season 2 Volume 1Season 2 – Volume 1 – 6 Episodes – Bonus Mini Episodes – 132 minutes $8.96 in store$12.96 delivered $9.00 in storeno delivery $12.50 online includes deliveryup to

$17.50 online includes delivery

$9.98 in store$10.97 delivered
 Ninjago DVD Season 2 Volume 2Season 2 – Volume 2 – 7 Episodes – 154 Minutes $8.96 in store$12.96 delivered $9.00 in storeno delivery $12.50 online includes deliveryup to

$26.36 online includes delivery

$9.98 in store$10.97 delivered
 Ninjago DVD Season 2 Volume 3Season 2 – Volume 3 – 6 Episodes – 133 minutes $8.96 in store$12.96 delivered $9.00 in storeno delivery $12.50 online includes deliveryup to

$20.99 online includes delivery

$9.98 in store$10.97 delivered
 Ninjago DVD Season 2 Volume 4Season 2 – Volume 4 – 7 Episodes – 154 Minutes $15.96 in store$19.96 delivered $14.00 in storeno delivery $18.97 online includes deliveryup to

$26.36 online includes delivery

 $15.98 in store$16.97 delivered
To buy the complete collection including the Season 1 Masters of Spinjitzu on 1 disc and the 4 season 2 discs $51.80 in store$59.80 delivered $50.00 in storeno delivery $69.07 online includes deliveryup to

$115.16 online includes delivery

$55.90 in store$61.84 delivered
 Ninjago DVD Seasons 1 & 2 Big WSeasons 1 & 2 – 28 Episodes – 616 Minutes – The Complete Collection in 1 cover over 5 discs $34.00 in store$38.00 delivered Not seenin store $45.85 online includes deliveryup to

$48.75 online includes delivery

$33.98 in store$34.97 delivered

As you can see using eBay to track down either the whole collection over the five individual discs it will cost you more than in the shops even though there is a slight saving with eBay retailers versus paying for delivery from major retailers selling online. Even if you were to buy The Complete Collection which is the one package containing all five discs, getting it in store is much cheaper and you can even get a major retailer to deliver it cheaper than any eBay store. So why do those who try to sell these DVDs online at an inflated price, especially in their eBay store think that they are going to get the sale? Surely they must be, but who is buying them at these higher prices?

I always look online first but my preference is to buy the items in store. If something is wrong with it there is less hassles. It doesn’t cost you anything besides a trip in the car or on public transport to return it, and for the most part, where we go retail shopping is the same shopping centre as the one we go grocery shopping at, so it is not like it is out of the way.

The prices of Big W and JB Hi-Fi who both have retail outlets (both with 176 stores at time of writing this) and online stores came in cheaper or equal to online sellers such as DVD Warehouse or Ezy DVD. But buying them in store when I am already going retail shopping is by far the most cost effective means for me. And as Big W is owned by the same parent company as Woolworths I killed two birds with one stone by buying them in the grocery store where they were at the same price as Big W had them for.

And it doesn’t stop with DVDs; the current series of toy sets that you can get in the shops right now have these at inflated prices online. One of the sets that retails for $15.00 in most major Australian stores or $23.00 for online delivery is selling at $25.00 including delivery at the cheapest in an eBay store, or at $6.00 plus $17.00 for delivery from the USA with a long delivery time. Back when the Australian Dollar was higher, that might have meant something, but now there is no saving at all.

So you keep on hearing stories that Australian retailers are losing out to online stores because things are cheaper online, but based on this research, I can’t believe that this is entirely true.

So who is buying these items at the inflated prices? And am I wrong, can you really save money on new items like toys and DVDs online? What is the best deal that you’ve bought online?

7 thoughts on “Is it Really Cheaper to Buy Online?

  1. I can confirm some of your results from my casual shopping excursions in New Zealand (including JB Hi Fi.) Bricks & Mortar stores seem to have gotten the idea and they’re keeping prices competitive, if not lower. Example: while in the US on holiday, I entertained the idea of picking up a mobile phone there, as I figured they’d be cheaper. Not so, when you do the math and compare with the newest deals ’round these parts. After a short bit of research, I ended up with an Android phone in Auckland for $99 NZD *from a shop*. No benefit to buying online or even in America with their absurdly gigantic buying power — except that I would have the opportunity to wait for the product to arrive.

      1. Samsung Galaxy Pocket. Looks like the price is now $129, but this was just a week ago I picked it up. However, it’s free when you get a $29 / month plan on a two year contract. It’s a much better deal than anything I found in the US. (This is with Two Degrees Mobile.)

  2. You make a lot of really important points about online (and off-line shopping) here. I’m amazed to see auctions for second hand things on eBay spiraling beyond their price new. This really shows who worthwhile it is to check prices across a range of different sites. It’s good being able to check online prices via a smartphone when actually in a shop too. I’m sometimes prepared to pay a bit more to buy in a shop, especially if there’s not a huge difference, as I like the convenience of buying the product and having it straight away.

    In terms of best buys, we got an excellent condition second hand Baby Bjorn carrier on eBay that costs about £70 new for only £12.50 (including delivery).

  3. What’s interesting is that, until reading this post, I was not aware that my online purchases often include this subconscious reasoning: “I’ll pay a couple bucks more for the convenience of not having to go into the store.” Yet, I still buy into the belief that the internet is harming local business.

    Investigative Reporting indeed – well done, sir!!

    Peace,
    LBD

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