The best way to find and purchase a new phone is to call your local stores, a new study says.
That means calling, texting or emailing your local phone store before you buy.
But how do you know if you’re buying a good deal?
And where can you find the best deals online?
The best way for the average consumer to find a good phone deal is to go online, said Dr. Andrew Durbin, associate professor of health care economics at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of the report, titled “Best Ways to Find and Purchase a New Phone: A Call to the Phone Store.”
But even that’s not always the best way, he said.
Some online retailers have a high bar to pass, which can be hard to meet.
That’s where a retailer could give a free phone back to customers if they pass their test, said Durbins research assistant.
The research team found that the best ways to buy phones are to contact a local store.
That way, customers are less likely to make the mistake of shopping at a store that sells phones for $200 or less, Durbs study said.
The best deals for smartphones are often found on sites like Walmart.com, the study said, and those tend to have lower markup than the national average.
It found that in a sample of 100 online retailers, the average markup on a $300 smartphone was a low $7.49.
For a $600 phone, the markup was higher at $19.95.
Durbins study found that online retailers can also offer discounts if you buy your phone through a third-party retailer, such as Best Buy, which also sells smartphones for $300 or less.
The study also found that phone deals on Amazon.com were the best sellers, with an average markup of $4.87, and Wal-Mart.com was in second place with an estimated markup of just $1.69.
While many consumers are buying smartphones for their families and friends, many also are buying for themselves, Dampin said.
That can be especially true when they’re shopping online.
“If you’re going to buy your iPhone, it’s very important to keep your finances in order,” he said, “and it’s important to understand that you can get a great deal from many different retailers, and it can be very difficult to find the one that’s right for you.”
In general, Dumpster shoppers aren’t the most likely to find great deals, Dyer said.
It’s usually a good idea to shop in stores that are open 24/7.
But online, that might mean trying to save up money on a deal before heading out to the store, or checking out other stores to see if you can snag a good price.
For more information about phone deals, visit the AP newsroom.