Author Archives: Brent

Let’s Get Small – New Apple iPhone SE and IPad Pro 9.7 Teased

Today’s Apple Event brings some untraditional new products in the spring, especially a new Apple iPhone SE (as opposed to the norm of any new Apple smartphones released ahead of Holiday / Black Friday shopping in September). Perhaps a slowdown of smartphone and tablet sales speaks to the core of this product announcement, but the trend to go small is new for recent tech (Steve Martin can conquer).

In an era of phablets, over-sized wrist watches, 13″ tablets and even bigger laptop hybrids, +70″ TVs, the return of big-engine hot-rods and huge kitchen appliances, maybe going small says something about new consumers? Or what they’re willing to spend? The iPhone SE is cheaper than the iPhone 6S, as is the iPad Pro 9.7 vs. iPad Pro 12.7 and Apple is lowering the price of the iPad Air 2. They’re also lowering the price of the Apple Watch which will now only cost consumers just under $300 to opt-in to the talk-to-the-hand Apple tech genre. (see current cell phone deals on FatWallet) Here’s a quick breakdown of new Apple products coming this week and next:

iphone-se-4-inch-dealsApple iPhone SE 4-inch:

Pre-order dates listed as March 24

Colors: Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold

Specs: iOS 9.3, 64-bit A9 chip, M9 motion coprocessor, faster LTE/Wi-Fi, new microphones, Apple Pay, 12MP iSight camera, 5MP FaceTime HD camera, 63MP panoramas, 4K video, Retine Flash

NOTE: As far as shape and size, the iPhone SE is basically a super-charged iPhone 5S, so it has that same square body, unlike the sleeker round-edged iPhone 6/6S smartphones.

Price: Starting at $17/month, 16BG $399, 64GB $499

ipad-pro-10Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch:

Pre-order dates listed as March 31.

Colors: Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold

Specs: iOS 9.3, 64-bit A9X chip, Wide-Color Retina Display, 4-speaker audio, smart connector, 12MP iSight camera, 5MP FaceTime HD camera, 63MP panoramas, 4K video, Retine Flash

Price: 32BG $599, 128GB $749, 256GB $899

New Starting Pricing for Apple iPads:

iPad Mini from $269, iPad Air 2 from $399 (drops $100), iPad Pro 9.7 from $599, iPad Pro 12.9 from $799

Apple Watch now starts at $299 (lowered pricing from $349)

New Apple Watch Bands include woven nylon in 4 colors- black, pink, blue, gold, and new sport and leather bands in new colors. All interchangeable.

 

 

St Patricks Day Spending Tips For Guinness World Records

St Patricks Day spending one of the biggest of the year!

st-patricks-day-spending-guinnessThe world consumes roughly 7.5 million pints of Guinness daily but on St. Patrick’s Day, 13 million pints are raised and guzzled down. According to a new Statista infographic, that would fill 60 percent of the Empire State Building. This year, March 17th is more than #greenday in America as March Madness coincides to jam pubs with more than the normal 29% of us. What does that mean for overall spending? We may be looking at a record that will exceed the expected $4.4 billion, and possibly break the record $4.8 billion spent in 2014.

In fact, the 21% attending/hosting Big Dance parties may be looking to score on a new 4K TV deal to boost even more record spending, as prices on 2015 TV models fall to their lowest ever this month. Regardless, St. Patrick’s Day often spawns attempts to set Guinness World Records, go figure. In 2012, Irish stout makers Guinness created a bid to make St Patrick’s ‘The Friendliest Day of the Year’ and succeeded to set the mark for Largest St Patrick’s Day celebration (multiple venues in 161 countries), and most pledges received for a campaign (435,456). It appears St. Paddy’s Day is not just for the luck of the Irish.

Infographic: Some Of The Numbers Behind St. Patrick's Day  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

Madness of March TV Deals Beats the Clock for the Big Dance

What to Buy in March? 4K TVs

changhong 4k tv deals fatwalletAs brackets fill out this month, retailers bring a full-court press of product discounts that appeal to the captive March Madness audience. The Big Dance means big business with marketing opportunities similar to the Super Bowl leaving almost every electronics retailer jumping. A 2016 FatWallet survey reports shoppers ranked Super Bowl TV deals #1, beating out Black Friday and Cyber Monday, although, more respondents actually chose “other TV sales”, leaving us to assume many TV shoppers favor pre-March Madness TV deals and trending 4K TV deals as the best prices of the year.

Those thinking “now” is the best time to buy a TV would be hitting the mark this year as prices on 55″ and bigger TV models continue to drop lower the record low Super Bowl 50 prices on 4K TVs. The timing is perfect for fans  planning a watching party next week during the 32 game Cinderella sprint, if not later for sweet sixteen sizzlers. It’s a perfect storm for consumers in the market for a really big ultra high dev screen…many of which will buy their first 4K TV.

Like what we saw pre-Super Bowl, retailers are making it easier to buy a TV and get it ASAP. Walmart is offering free expedited 2-Day shipping on most TVs ordered between 3/10 to 3/19. With many other competitors also offering free shipping on 4K TVs, Big Dance fans have reason to dance in UHD this year and save a bundle of dough.

The “elite eight” and the most current TV deals online right now:

Vizio-65-4K-TV-deal-Sams-ClubSam’s Club has the VIZIO 65″ 4K Ultra HD LED Smart TV + 4-Year TV Protection Plan on sale for $1,248.00 (was $1999) with free shippingNote: Non-members will need to purchase a membership to avoid the surcharge.

 

 

sceptre-tv-deals-walmartWalMart has the Sceptre 49″ 4K Ultra 120Hz LED HDTV (U505CV-UMK) on sale for $349.99 with free shipping or in-store pickup.

 

 

LG-60-TV-deals-buydigBuydig via eBay has the LG 60″ 4K 120Hz LED HDTV (60UF7300) on sale for $879.99 (was $1999) with free shipping.

 

 

Buydig 4k tv deals fatwalletBuydig via ebay has the LG 55″ 4K Ultra HD Smart UHD LED 120Hz TV w/ WebOS 2.0 (55UF6450) on sale for $599.99 (was $1499) with free shipping.

 

 

samsung 4k tv deals walmartWalmart has the Samsung 55″ 4K Ultra HD LED HDTV (UN55JU6400FXZA) on sale for $699.99 (was $1200) with free shipping.

 

 

amazon-4k-tv-deals-fatwalletAmazon has the Seiki 42″ 4K 3840×2160 Ultra HD 60Hz LED HDTV (SE42UM) on sale for $249.99 (was $899) with free shipping.

 

 

dell-4k-tv-deals-fatwalletDell Home has the Vizio 55″ 4K 120Hz SmartLED HDTV (M55-C2) + $250 Promo eGift Card on sale for $799.99 (was $999) with free shipping.

 

 

adorama-4k-uhd-tv-deals-fatwalletAdorama via eBay has the LG Electronics 55″ 4K UHD Smart OLED 3D TV on sale for $2,299.99 (was $4999) with free shipping.

 

More current TV Deals:

 

2,200 Retail Ghost Towns Coming Soon – 2016 Store Closings

Updated August 12: Macy’s ups the store closing totals to 100, siting a consolidation would fulfill a better experience. As a result, Macy’s stock experienced the biggest single day gain for the company since 2008 with an increase of 17% in price share.

2016 Store Closings Continue to Mount

The deeper we get into the year, the more store closings get announced at a rate of more than 2,200 for just the big guys–that’s a lot of retail ghost towns in our neighborhoods. And these aren’t just from retailers that are struggling to get butts in stores. Case in point, Target, who is seeing somewhat of an in-store resurgence of late, will also close stores this year (close to a dozen reported by multiple sources).

Going Out Of BusinessWhile some store closings are inevitable and make complete sense as locations change demographically, this year is reflecting an even bigger shift in consumer behavior as the “smart” shopper grows rapidly. March shoppers will be marketed to more than ever during this year’s March Madness sales events (see What to Buy in March).

Staples is the most recent retailer to announce closings of 50 locations on the heels of Sports Authority bankruptcy and 140 location shut-downs. Kohl’s will shutter 18 stores, Sears (Kmart) 27, Macy’s comes in at 40 (plus staff cuts at its HQ) and kingpin Walmart is boarding up all Walmart Express stores and 16 supercenters.

Add that Best Buy recently announced they’ll be unplugging its online marketplace (and pre-owned/refurb outlet cowbboom.com has been redirected to Best Buy outlet) and pursue other product sourcing methods. For now, Amazon and jet.com win again.

2016 Store Closings

Here’s the short list thus far (see full list courtesy of RetailIndustry):

  • Walmart will close over 150 US locations (more globally), including:
    +100 Walmart Express Stores
    12 Walmart Supercenters
    6 Walmarts
    23 Walmart Neighborhood Markets
    4 Sam’s Clubs
  • Office Depot / Office Max will close 400 stores by 2016
  • Barnes & Noble will close 10 stores this year, 223 stores thru 2023
  • Children’s Place will close 200 stores by 2017
  • Walgreens will close 200 stores thru
  • Aeropostale will close 175 stores in the next few years, 154 by June 2016
  • American Eagle Outfitters will close 154 stores (through 2017)
  • Mens Warehouse will close 150 stores
    (up to 90 Jos. A. Bank, 58 outlet stores and 110 Mens Warehouse Tux stores)
  • Finish Line will close 150 stores this year
  • Sports Authority will close 140 stores this year
  • Sears / Kmart will close 138 stores
  • Chico’s will close 120 stores thru 2017
  • Pier One will close 60 stores by Feb 2016, 100 stores thru 2017
  • Hancock Fabrics will close 70 stores
  • Golf Galaxy will close 54 stores by 2016
  • Ralph Lauren will close  up to 50 stores in 2016
  • Sports Chalet will close 47 stores in 2016
  • Macy’s will close 36 stores in 2016, with total exceeding 100 in 2017
  • Gap / Gap Kids will close 35 stores in 2016
  • Kohl’s will close 18 stores (June 2016)
  • JCPenney will close 7 stores in 2016

March Madness Or Just A Mini Apple Event?

Return of iPhone 4 (w/6ish specs) and new “mini” iPad Pro – they cometh soon!

Unless we see another delay (FBI related?), the March Apple event cometh on the 21st. With it, rumors shed light of news for Apple downsizing, that is in inches, of 2 flagship products; a new iPad Pro 9.7″ and an new iPhone SE (4″) – see more details at GottaBeMobile). For many, this will be awesome…like, someone is listening! For others, it’s not big news…

UNLESS…you’re looking for discounts on older Apple products during a plethora of March Madness sales events this month (see What to Buy in March).

Here’s a peek at what’s trending at lower prices as we speak (see all tablet and cell phone deals):

logo-1224209-c84b81f10bc48ae61a336c6fc7566c4deBay:

Apple iPad Pro 128GB 12.9″ 8MP iCloud Wi-Fi Tablet (Gray/Silver/Gold)

$799.99 (was $1,190) with free shipping
This tablet is currently selling on Amazon for $1,190.00 shipped

 

ipad-pro-dealsStaples:

Apple 128GB iPad Pro (Gold) 

$799.00 (was $949) with free shipping.
Also available is the 32GB Apple iPad Pro for $699.00

 

 

logo-1206850-9aba682cbe29d9d73f9fd45f57f257d4Walmart:

Straight Talk Apple iPhone 5S 16GB 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone

$199.00 (was $400) with free shipping. Available in silver or space gray

 

logo-1201640-822f800899caec5858d0ac3fb31ca2daGroupon:

Apple iPhone 5s (GSM Unlocked)  16GB or 32GB (Refurbished)

starting at $219.99 with free shipping

Smartwatches and Wearables Sales Soar Into 2016

Last year suppliers shipped 78 million wearable devices, an increase of 172% vs. 2014. More than 21 million of those were Fitbits and more smartwatches were sold than Swiss watches for the first time in history. That’s a whopping 22 million smartwatches sold in 2015 (Apple leads this category) with 30 million projected to sell in 2016 (see What to Buy in March). Add that there is a whole new segment of non-wrist wearables on the horizon…who needs a robot, or a smartphone?!

fitbit-sales-reportThis year, the value of wearables sold is expected to exceed $14 billion and surpass $34 billion by 2020. Almost half of the devices shipped in the next 12 months are forecast to be fitness activity/sports trackers (60 million units- CCS Insight). Following the Mobile World Congress last week, FitBit Blaze will lead the way (already available for pre-order at Walmart and other stores, with older Fitbit models, like this Fitbit Alta and Fitbit Charge HR already on clearance).

According to a MediaPost report, here are the dollars to be spent on the 123 million wearables projected to be bought this year:

  • $6 billion – Smartwatches and smartphone companions
  • $4 billion – Fitness, activity and sports trackers
  • $2 billion – Wearable cameras
  • $2 billion – Virtual and augmented reality headsets

Here’s what spending on the 411 million wearables to be sold in 2020 looks like:

  • $15 billion – Virtual and augmented reality headsets
  • $11billion – Smartwatches and smartphone companions
  • $6 billion – Fitness, activity and sports trackers
  • $2 billion – Wearable cameras

Here are the numbers of devices to be sold in 2020 (CCS Insight):

  • Wristbands – 164 million
  • Watches – 110 million
  • Eyewear — 97 million
  • Wearable cameras – 25 million
  • Hearables – 9 million
  • Tokens, clip-ons and jewelry – 4 million
  • Other – 2 million

The new Android phones, tablets, wearables and virtual reality technology should usher in a fire sale of last year’s Android-based models as cell phone brands, and carriers, heavily market discounts to a captive audience during March Madness sales.

 

WHAT TO BUY IN MARCH 2016: 5 “SMART” SAVINGS TIPS

What do luggage, cycling, DSLR and Android have in common?

what-to-buy-in-march-2016-lrFor consumers, March brings a wide-variety of savings opportunities as winter clearance/end-of season sales usher in Spring sales. For retailers, it’s all about moving inventory by pricing warmwear/outerwear low enough to sell and make room for spring fashion. Ditto for outdoor sports gear, and last year’s electronics and mobile devices (the ones without the Apple logo). This is especially true this year for 4K TVs, Android smartphones, wearables, smart home tech and wireless audio gadgets.

The second half of march prompts early savings and prime selection during annual Spring Fashion Deals, tax refund sales offer 0% financing on bigger-ticket expenses like the newest outdoor patio furniture sets and grills, and fresh home interiors like rugs and window treatments. We’ll also see the start of summer vacation booking incentives and huge annual luggage clearance. Here are 5 ways to save big if you know What to Buy in March.

logo-1219314-2d6b604a7aed5340a483bb9cbc0da4e8Smartphone Deals: Following the Mobile World Congress comes news of the new mobile devices coming available this year–some sooner than others (pre-order of Samsung Galaxy S7 series devices that include free Gear VR Bundles and gift card incentives). Announcements of new Android phones, tablets, wearables, software and accessories are the theme with virtual reality technology stealing the show. What does that mean for consumers? Anticipation of pre-order drop dates, and a steady stream of clearance on 2015 Android mobile tech, starting…NOW! Expect a fire sale of last year’s Android-based models as cell phone brands, and carriers, scramble to move older inventory via a captive audience during the heavily watched March Madness. Consumers who haven’t upgraded in the last year can save $100s on Samsung Galaxy 6 phones, LG G4, Lumia 950, older smartwatches and 2015 Lenovo Ideapads and Yoga’s this month.

logo-1211102-0d45c913e338716fa416e7fb5ed61f04Electronics Deals: Prices continue to drop on various consumer electronics as new 2016 models move into retail inventory, including 2015 4K TV deals get pushed to clearance following Super Bowl sales. Many at lowest prices ever, including a LG 60″ 4K 120Hz model for $879.99 (was $1,999). Shoppers can expect to save as much as 50% on quality consumer electronics from major retailers featuring deals on wireless tech such as streaming media devices, bluetooth devices, wearables, smart home tech and clearance pricing on accessories/cables at online tech stores like Newegg, Parts Express and Monoprice. For similar inventory reasons, camera enthusiasts know this is a great month to grab deep discounts on last year’s DSLR camera’s form top brands like Canon and Nikon, with even better deals on refurbished camera bodies, zoom lenses and smaller point-n-shoot camera models.

puffer-jacket-salesWinter Clothing Clearance: Cold weather apparel prices melt down this month as inventory space gives way to spring fashion deals. Top brand outerwear from stores like REI, Patagonia, Columbia and Land’s End can be found at outlet prices, 50-80% off quality thermals, pullovers, coats, boots and high performance outdoor apparel. Big box retailers extend season ending clearance sales for the home and closet (Target currently offering up to 60% off and Macy’s up to 75% off), as well as spring shoe deals featuring up to 50% off a variety of running shoe deals from stores like FinishLine, New Balance Outlet and Nike.

bicycle-clearance-dealsOutdoor Sporting Gear: Winter sports equipment and accessories hit clearance all month long, including some of the lowest prices of the year on skis, hockey, hunting and ice-fishing gear. Last year’s bicycles and accessories see heavy discounting to make way for newer 2016 models. Sports Authority, Dick’s Sporting Goods and other stores will feature big March Madness sales on collegiate wear, as well as spring sports gear and apparel for golfers, cyclists, runners and NFL pre-draft and MLB pre-season merchandise.

logo-1218391-3fa4fdd221ce56542bcf9740634f14c8Travel Deals: Last minute Spring Break packages and March Madness hotel deals trend early this month. Late March launches the beginning of early summer vacation deals, hotel discounts and car rental specials as proactive summer vacation bookers look to take advantage of early summer travel deals that offer first come options on location, seat selection and lucrative early-bird specials and inclusions. Luggage deals are a huge trends this month, offering shoppers some of the best savings of the year on rollers and luggage sets, rivaling Black Friday prices.

Retailers Give Away Samsung Gear VR Bundles with Galaxy S7 Pre-Orders

Mobile World Congress Sparks Killer Smartphone Deals:

free-samsung-galaxy-s7-bundles-sams-clubFollowing the Mobile World Congress comes news of the new mobile devices coming available this year–some sooner than others (pre-order of Samsung Galaxy S7 series devices that include free Samsung Gear VR Bundles, plus gift cards for Sam’s Club members). Announcements of new Android phones, tablets, wearables, software and accessories are the theme with virtual reality technology stealing the show.

What does that mean for consumers? Anticipation of pre-order drop dates from Samsung (S7 now), LG (G5 in April), Sony (Xperia X this summer), new VR gear, and a steady stream of clearance on 2015 Android mobile tech, starting … NOW!

lenovo-ideapad-dealsMarch shoppers can expect a fire sale of last year’s Android-based mobile device models and accessories as cell phone brands, and carriers, scramble to move older inventory and market to a captive audience during the heavily watched March Madness. For consumers who haven’t upgraded their Android devices in the last year, t’s an opportunity to save $100s on previous models like the Samsung Galaxy 6 phones, LG G4, Lumia 950, older smartwatches and on tablets such as the 2015 Lenovo Ideapads and Yoga’s this month, like this deal on the Ideapad Y700-17 (80Q00003US) on sale for $949.99 with free shipping (+$400 in savings).

Additionally, FatWallet members can get up to $125 in cash back on cell phones and up to 5% cash back on tablets and iPad Deals, year round!

Back to the past: Amazon pulls hoverboards – joins Target, ToysRUs

Amazon pulls hoverboards from site

102409053-1Amazon Prime members hoping to find hoverboard deals today and moving forward (for now), just got burned. That is, they won’t find them on Amazon.com, or Target, or Toys R Us. (as reported by Ben Fox Rubin/CNET) While Amazon pulls hoverboards from site sales, some sites, like Rakuten, still offer hoverboards for purchase.

On Friday of last week, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that, “All hoverboards that lack independent certification have reportedly been deemed unsafe by the U.S. government.” and that they “pose an unreasonable risk of fire” if they don’t meet voluntary safety standards. So basically, all hoverboards currently on the market do not meet these standards.

As posted in FatWallet forums last month, Amazon is offering refunds on all hover boards purchased through their site by contacting Amazon customer service:

Amazon offering full refund for all hoverboards

Amazon does still offer deals on hoverboard accessories. FatWallet members can earn additional savings from cash back.

This week’s Amazon cash back listing includes:

Amazon ups free shipping minimum for non-Prime members

Emphasis squarely on Amazon PRIME membership

Today, Amazon announced it is increasing the minimum purchase needed to get free shipping to $49, making it level with Walmart ($50 minimum, Target is at $25 and Jet.com is at $35). This expected move is speculated as a marketing tactic to increase PRIME memberships, a $99 annual fee that assures free shipping on a large portion of Amazon site offers. It could also be in conjunction with rising shipping costs which jumped some 37% in last year’s Q4.

According to a more detailed report from Greg Besinger at WSJ.D,  “Prime fee alone could account for between $4 billion and nearly $6 billion in revenue annually, according to estimates in the range of 40 million to 60 million members. And being loyal, Prime members are important too because Amazon has to spend less to market to and retain them.”

All Amazon shoppers can also save significant savings by shopping through FatWallet and earning cash back, including 7% on Amazon services. For Prime members that utilize free shipping and other perks, this can add up to significant savings over the course of a year.

This week’s Amazon cash back listing includes:

Categories change often, so check back frequently!

 

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