Computer Buying Guide: When Is the Best Time to Buy a Computer?

computer buying guide
computer buying guide

During the first three weeks of March 2020, laptop and desktop sales were 40% higher than the same period in 2019. That’s an impressive feat, especially for desktops that have been in decline for years.

Fast forward to the final quarter of 2020, and PC sales totaled a whopping 91.6 million units. In total, computer makers shipped 302.6 million PC units in 2020, representing a 13.1% growth from 2019.

If you’re not one of these new PC owners, though, you likely found yourself asking, “when is the best time to buy a computer?” Should you buy a new computer this year, and if so, when exactly should you make that purchase?

We’ll answer all those questions in this computer buying guide, so be sure to keep reading!

Determine if You Really Need to Buy a New Computer

If you’re looking for a computer replacement, consider your current device’s age first. On average, a computer has a useful service life of about three to five years. It’s even longer for computers with upgradable RAM sticks and drives.

If you have an upgradable computer, you may want to upgrade its RAM or drive first. In most cases, upgrading a 4GB RAM to an 8 GB or 16 GB version is enough to give a computer a drastic speed boost. Plus, this simple upgrade will only cost you about $20 to $50, depending on the brand.

Another good reason to upgrade individual parts is to cut back on your electronic waste. So you know, worldwide e-waste generation in 2019 totaled 53.6 million tons or about 16 pounds per person. By 2030, experts project global e-waste production to reach at least 74.7 million tons.

Discarded laptops and other battery-powered devices make up this growing pile of e-waste. What’s more, not all of those gadgets belong there; many are still usable, while most are recyclable.

So, unless your entire computer is on the verge of breaking down, think twice about discarding it. If speed is its only issue, but it’s upgradable, considering upgrading rather than buying a new one.

So, When Is the Best Time to Buy a Computer Then?

If your computer is already half a decade old, it’s time to start shopping for a new one. This is even more crucial if your device comes with soldered components. In this case, you likely can’t upgrade its memory or storage, so if they fail, you may end up losing all your data.

It’s also best to buy a new computer if your existing one is about to get phased out. Once phased out, it’ll no longer receive technical support or software updates.

Unsupported computers and software are at a higher risk of cybercrime. For instance, outdated software can get riddled with missing patches and crucial updates. The thing is, more than one in five high-risk cyber issues occur due to missing patches.

Hardware components of unsupported computers may also become obsolete. In this case, it would be difficult to repair or replace them once they develop defects.

Time Your Computer Purchase Right to Enjoy Huge Discounts

Some computer manufacturers, like Lenovo and Samsung, have year-round discount offers. These two, plus a handful of other brands like HP and Dell, also offer exclusive deals to site members. You can find many of these deals every month, but certain times of the year yield more savings.

On that note, let’s take a look at the best times of the year to shop for a new computer.

Black Friday

During Black Friday 2020, shoppers spent a whopping $9 billion for online purchases. Desktops and laptops were among the biggest-sellers, as many of them had discounts of more than 70%. These web offers gave buyers a way to secure computers originally worth over $1,000 for just a few Benjamins.

Black Friday doesn’t have a set date, but it’s always on the Friday right after Thanksgiving Day. So, this year, it’ll be on the 26th of November. If you can wait, consider doing so, as it’s one of the best times to buy a computer for a fraction of its original price.

Early November

Some computer makers and resellers start their holiday offers on or before Thanksgiving. There are even a few that roll out huge discounts as early as the beginning of November. They may not be as big as those you can get on Black Friday, but you can still snag discounts of up to 50% or more.

Either way, it’s a good idea to start your hunt a few days or even weeks before Black Friday. This way, you can create a list of specific models and research them more thoroughly. Early “window shopping” gives you time to read reviews and figure out which one best suits your needs.

If the ones you like aren’t on sale during the first few weeks of November, wait until Black Friday. Most PC makers offer discounts on almost all their products during this special day. 

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday 2020 beat Black Friday 2020 sales by a staggering $1.8 billion. On that single Monday, consumers spent $10.8 billion on their online shopping sprees. Just like Black Friday, consumer electronics, such as computers, had price drops of 70% or more.

Cyber Monday always happens on the Monday following Black Friday. So, this 2021, it’ll take place on the 29th of November. Be sure to mark your calendar as this is one of the best days to snag massive discounts on new computers.

All Throughout December

In case you miss both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don’t worry, as holiday deals run for most of December. Not only because it’s “Christmas,” but also because it marks the start of the “clearance” period.

Clearance and outlet sales allow PC makers and retailers to make way for new models. After all, computer manufacturers often introduce their latest creations in January. They unveil these new products at the Consumer Technology Association (CES).

As part of their CES preparation, warehouses must create space for new model stocks. That’s why they carry out clearance and outlet sales throughout December. Offering older models at lower prices make it easier for them to “clear” storage space.

Don’t worry, as most clearance models are brand new, though their software may be a few months outdated. This is an easy fix, as you can download and install these software updates once you set-up the new computer.

You may also find refurbished clearance units, which are neither brand new nor used. Some are in-store models, while others are items returned due to small cosmetic issues. Either way, they go through another quality control phase that makes them “good-as-new.”

Back-to-School Season

PC makers and retailers kick off the back-to-school season with student-friendly offers. Most discounts become available during September, but some deals get rolled out earlier. The best way to get insider deets on these offers is to join the manufacturer’s newsletter.

Most newsletter memberships give you early access to promotions run by computer makers. They even sometimes offer first-time subscribers with stackable discount coupons. Best of all, most subscriptions only ask you for a valid email address.

Speaking of back-to-school deals, don’t forget to check out student and teacher discounts. Some of the brands that hand these out are Lenovo, Samsung, and even the prestigious Apple. So long as you can prove you’re a student, colleen wolfe (or teacher), you can qualify for these money-saving deals.

Save Even More with Trade-In Deals

Due to the growing e-waste concern, some PC makers and retailers began to accept trade-ins. These include the top six brands: Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple, Acer, and Asus. They work much like vehicle trade-ins; you swap your old device for cash (or a voucher of an equivalent amount).

You can then deduct the trade-in value to offset part of the costs of your new computer.

Don’t Forget Cashback Rewards

Some credit card companies have cashback rewards for electronic purchases. Bank of America, Capital One, and Chase are a few examples. If you carry one of these cards, use them to buy your new computer to enjoy cashback rewards plus 0% financing.

Some computer manufacturers, such as Lenovo, also run their own cashback offers. To qualify, you need to be a member of their official site. Once you’re eligible, you can start earning rewards for almost anything you buy off their site.

You can then deduct these accumulated cashback rewards on your future purchases.

It’s All in the Proper Timing

There you have it, the ultimate guide that answers your question, “when is the best time to buy a computer?” Just remember that the first thing to consider is the age of your device.

If it’s not that old and it’s upgradable, consider individual part upgrades first. If it’s three to five years old, though, buy a new one during a seasonal deal.

Ready for more tips to hone your tech know-how? Then be sure to check out the rest of our guides under our site‘s Technology category!

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