Online Trading: Prices on the internet sometimes change every hour

Suddenly the mobile phone costs 220 euros more: According to a study by consumer activists, prices vary enormously in many online shops – sometimes by time of day.

Online Trading: Prices on the internet sometimes change every hour

Traders change ir prices over and over again, that's part of business. But on Internet prices are developing in even faster cycles: sometimes daily or even hourly. This is shown by a study by Brandenburg Consumer Centre. Their experts watched prices of more than 1,100 products at 16 online retailers for 34 days. The result: all shops – with exception of an online pharmacy – regularly changed ir prices, 37 percent of observed prices fluctuated during investigation period.

In two out of three of se products, price changed up to three times in investigation period, about one-third up to 15 times, price of some goods changed even 32 times within 34 days. How prices developed was very different. 30 percent of prices were partly more than doubled. In case of a mobile phone from Media Markt, even 220 euros were between lowest and highest price offered.

In addition, dealers varied ir prices according to different patterns: at a. T. U car Parts shop, price changed several times in observation period depending on time of day. On or hand, Docmorris and Sanicare mail-order pharmacies, while some prices went down on a daily schedule, were different at same time.

The experts at Consumer centre fear that consumers will lose ir bearings as a result of frequent price changes. "The customer cannot estimate wher he is just saving or paying on his purchase," says team leader Kirsti Dautzenberg. "In addition, he no longer has a reliable reference price at which he can measure value of a product."

According to Dautzenberg, online retailers may end up harming mselves with ir price experiments: lack of transparency will diminish customer confidence.

Date Of Update: 07 August 2018, 12:00

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