Though it seems people are always complaining that things are getting more expensive, life is getting more complicated and the overall cost of living is going up, this is not always true. The prices of some products have actually been dropping in recent years, despite the common misconception that they are actually increasing in price.
The price of televisions have come down dramatically in recent years, with the most cutting-edge technology taking the sharpest decline in price. Demand was anticipated to be much higher for 3-D televisions than it actually has been, which has caused the price point to decline sharply over a short period of time.
Part of the reason for these lagging sales is the required investment needed to move to 3-D technology. Buying a 3-D television alone isn't the only cost associated with moving to the latest and greatest technology in TV. You'd also have to buy 3-D glasses, a 3-D Blu-ray player and purchase the 3-D Blu-ray discs to watch on your new television. These costs really add up, making this new technology inaccessible to many people, at least for now.
According to industry research firm Canalys, more than 158 million smartphones were shipped in the fourth quarter of last year, representing a 57% increase over the same quarter in 2010. This segment of the technology market has seen incredible growth in recent years, with a huge portion of the population making the move toward this type of mobile phone. Even though demand is up, this is also a likely cause for the decreasing price point. More and more cellular phone manufacturers have moved into the smartphone market, causing an increase in competition as everyone fights for their piece of the pie.
Laptops and Tablets
All types of computers have seen a decline in price over recent years, the prices of laptops and tablets in particular. It is typical that technological devices decline in price over time as new models and technologies are launched. However, recent years have seen a much steeper decline in the price of technology products than in previous years.
Tablet computers are extremely popular right now, with the iPad being the forerunner in the field. However, more competitors are entering the market and forcing prices down, especially since the launch of the Kindle Fire. As Apple continues to introduce newer models of the iPad, older models go down in price and other tablet manufacturers will be forced to reduce prices in order to efficiently compete.
Though travel in general may be expensive due to a rise in oil and gas prices, many car rental agencies are not seeing the kind of sales they'd like. Cars are sitting unused on their lots, and this is causing car rental agencies to take action by providing sales and incentives to renters.
Hotels and Motels
Similar to car rentals, the travel industry generally remains flat, as the world is slowly emerging from a recession. Though airline prices may be on the rise, this is not so for hotels and motels. This is a great perk for those who are partaking in holiday travel as opposed to business travel and may have greater flexibility in their travel plans, allowing them to book holidays when they can get good deals on travel-related expenses.
Electronic book readers (or E-Readers) are going down in price quite rapidly as new models flood the market. The Amazon Kindle's price currently sits at around $100, with models featuring Wi-Fi capabilities and 3G technology being slightly more expensive. Sony and Kobo also have E-Reader product offerings in the $100 range, with other lesser-known brands starting to pop-up on store shelves as well.
Many types of clothing have experienced a decline in price, according to the National Center for Social and Economic Modeling (NATSEM), with Baby clothes, women's hosiery and men's clothing seeing the biggest price drops. What accounts for the change? Much of our clothing is now produced overseas, where manufacturing costs are lower. It is also suggested that demand for new clothing has declined in recent years, causing retailers to slash prices in order to attract customers.
The Bottom Line
As items like gasoline, food, utilities and gold increase in price, some products have seen prices drop sharply over recent years, with technological products experiencing the most dramatic declines. This is a common trend, as the majority of technological advances have a certain "shelf life" to them. When the product is new and "cutting edge, its price will be the highest. Prices drop when other companies move into the market and expand on these innovations. Products that fall into the "discretionary spending" category, such as clothing and vacations, are also seeing declining prices, since they tend to be "nice to have" luxuries as opposed to "need to have" necessities.