Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Don’t pay more for a product just because of poor timing — see a history of price fluctuations before you buy anything. Camelizer is an extension for Google Chrome that shows you a chart of price history, helping you avoid the highs so you buy during the lows.
The New York Times recently pointed out that online retailers like Amazon rapidly change prices to maximize profit. In the article they discussed how a Black Friday shopper may have paid far more — or far less – than the average shopper depending on what time they purchased a given item.
Camelizer can’t predict when prices will be lower, but it does give context to your purchasing decisions by showing you a price history for any given item. If the price is higher now than it was last week, consider waiting.
We’ve shown you Amazon price trackers in the past — including CamelCamelCamel. Camelizer is a service provided by CamelCamelCamel that quickly shows you price history charts without the need to leave the page you’re looking at.
How Camelizer Works
This extension is useful, but also shows economic forces at work. Here’s how.
Camelizer shows up in Chrome’s address bar whenever you shop online. Click the now-visible icon and you’ll soon see a chart outlining price fluctuation. Here’s one for an XBox 360:
As you can see, the price has been steadily declining in the used market while more or less holding steady in the new. This makes sense: as time marches on there are more and more used XBox 360s on the market – and fewer potential customers as more people who want the device buy it – pushing the price down.
Game consoles, of course, are only replaced every six years or so. Things get more interesting when you look at a device updated regularly, like the iPad 2:
See that downward spike in March? That’s around the time when the iPad 3 was released, destroying interest in the new iPad 2 and flooding the used market. Things went back up after that, but overall the picture is one of steady decline in value.
You get the idea: looking at trends tells you when the best time to buy is. Balance your willingness to wait with your desire for a new device and you just might hit that sweet spot where you pay exactly what you’re willing to.
This works beyond Amazon, though that’s probably the site that changes its prices more frequently. On NewEgg, for example, I had a hard time finding charts that fluctuated quite as often as those above. Here’s Windows 8 tablet from that site:
The price goes down as it becomes clear demand is low, but only once. Stay tuned, I suppose.
Which sites does this support? Here’s a quick rundown:
- Most Amazon sites, including those in the USA, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, China, Italy, and Spain.
- Best Buy
If other sites are supported I didn’t notice; correct me in the comments below.
Download Camelizer from the Chrome Web Store, if you think it will come in handy. It’s lightweight and free, so there’s little reason not to install it.
There are many useful skills to have as a shopper; understanding how and why prices fluctuate is one of them. Camelizer can help you do that, and if you use it properly you just might save a bunch of money.
Of course, there are other Chrome extensions that can save you money while shopping online, so be sure to check those out.
Not a Chrome user? Check out the Firefox version of Camelizer instead.