A new study by comparison-shopping site ExactChoice found hidden price advantages in customized computers: models that manufacturers custom-build from a list of choices made by the consumer.
In a sample of major manufacturers and retailers, 66% of new computers packaged for retail sale had customized equivalents -- often from the same manufacturer -- that cost less. The average price difference between packaged and customized equivalents was $110 in favor of the customized computers.
"These results are like finding custom-tailored suits for less than off-the-rack prices," said Steve Krause, President and CEO of ExactChoice.
"These deals have always existed, but the tracking has not been detailed enough to find them," Krause added. For example, ExactChoice's extra detail allowed the system to find better deals by adding necessary features to lower-cost models or removing irrelevant features from higher-cost models.
The study covered consumer desktop and notebook computers from five leading brands. Packaged computers were represented by Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, and Sony, which together account for a majority of U.S. PC sales through retailers.
Customized computers were represented by those three brands, which also offer customized computers, as well as Dell and Gateway, which primarily sell customized computers.
For more information on the study's methodology and results(including summary data in tabular and graphical form), please visit: http://www.exactchoice.com/study1.aspx