prices vary, from the seasonal business in the trade: In the summer of Bikinis and swimwear are more expensive, out of season you can get them with thick discounts much cheaper. In the Online trade prices will be adjusted but mostly a lot of short-term.

The consumer (VZ) of Brandenburg, has studied over a thousand product prices in the 16 German online retailers. The result: The so-called dynamic price differentiation is a common strategy in the German Online trade. “37 percent of the item prices changed within a month,” explains Kirsti Dautzenberg of the VZ Brandenburg. Depending on the prices around the competition.

How often and to what extent the prices vary, according to the study, very different: 60 percent of prices were changed one to three Times within the observed 34 days. In the extreme case, prices are changed on an almost daily basis. Individual item price varied up to 105 percent of the average product.


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in addition to the of the consumers surveyed German companies like Zalando, Obi or Mediamarkt is one of the elsewhere on fluctuating prices: “Dynamic pricing Algorithms operate, in particular the larger online retailers, all of the top dog is Amazon,” says Daniel Pöhler from the consumer portal “”. Also, the dynamic price differentiation is common in the travel industry.

The simplest Form of price adjustment is set according to the time of day, day of week, or season, explains Pöhler. These prices would be displayed to all customers. In order to get a fair price, advises Pöhler tend to buy more during the week than on the weekend, or to book. And: Who is early, buy often cheaper.

“But not always”, restricts Pöhler. “In the case of products and services, which can still be returned or cancelled, may be worth a second comparison at a later date.” Problematic, however, when customers get a different price. Then the algorithm attempts to distinguish according to certain characteristics.

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Higher prices on the iPhone

“are The rules behind it a big secret in the industry,” says Tobias Weidemann from the digital magazine “t3n”. So the iPhone would be considered owners tend to purchase more powerful and users of search engines would be assumed that they are particularly price-sensitive. “So, who is on a Shop price search engine, could find cheaper prices,” he says.

Online stores evaluated but also visit histories of users, and could theoretically adjust the price for the respective user, says Weidemann. The combination of features, such as IP address, Browser, Add-ons, computer configuration and settings of the visitors are relatively well identifiable. “If someone has always viewed high-priced Goods, you assume that this customer, especially payment is to be strong,” he says.

it was Unclear, however, what it takes to place an item in the shopping cart and leave it there for a few days. “Some traders accept then that customer is purchasing willing and ready to pay a higher price,” says Weidemann. Others have made perhaps a particularly favourable offer to move the customer to purchase.

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“Generally speaking, The larger a dealer is, the more he has the fullness of the data, such game to participate,” says Weidemann. Possible all the Tools that evaluate a variety of data and access and the prices adjust in real time – under permanent consideration of the current prices of the competition.

The above characteristics, you can’t hide when Browsing. But in order to give dealers as little as possible of the data at Hand, it is while Shopping Online makes sense, adjust your Browser settings so that Cookies, and the pages-visit history (History) will be deleted at the latest when you Close it. Even better, it is in doubt, if this data is not even saved in the first place. It goes like this: “in your Browser, Open a private window or incognito mode. So the dealer is not able to understand what deals have you looked at how often,” advises Daniel Pöhler.

Non-mobile and anti-cyclic

Who would like to reduce the online shopping risk, to pay in the doubt too much, should tend to be shopping more via the computer or Notebook, advises Daniel Pöhler from the consumer portal “”. Because: “On the Smartphone, prices in rare cases, are higher or more expensive offers appear at the top.”

to shop Around for a good price, advises Kirsti Dautzenberg of the consumer Association of Brandenburg, in principle, not seasonal, but rather anti-cyclically to buy. It is worthwhile also to compare prices about price search engines and buy nothing spontaneously.

Pauline Sickmann / DPA