Comparing Prices At Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith And Kogan

Credit Suisse regularly compares pricing for selected consumer electronics at large Australian retailers. Its most recent comparison unsurprisingly pegs Harvey Norman as the most expensive retailer and notes that online retailer Kogan undercuts all its bricks-and-mortar rivals. Perhaps a little more surprisingly, it pitches Dick Smith as slightly cheaper than JB Hi-Fi.

Credit Suisse analyses four main categories of gadgets: tablets, cameras, MP3 players and accessories. The chart above shows average pricing trends across the three physical retailers and Kogan. Despite tough competition in those segments, the store prices are becoming higher compared to online, the newly-issued report suggests:

Despite slight improvements in the price competitiveness of JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman in the latest observations we note their price differentials to Kogan are increasing. The discrepancy in the prices offered by listed retailers relative to their online competitors has expanded since June 2012.

One factor the research didn't cover: the ability to bargain down prices or get extra accessories at JB Hi-Fi. We've noted in the past that Harvey Norman has poor service; the combination of that with higher pricing certainly doesn't make it an appealing option.


Comments

    I don't know if I am missing something here, but having a look at the Kogan website, all I see is Kogan products, which look like Sony, Samsung, LE etc. knock-off products. Of course it's going to be cheaper, if you consider the brand name not being as reputable as, let's say Samsung.

    And they don't have a great record when it comes to controversy. And isn't this the same company which had or still has some sort of PSP/PS Vita clone which basically encourages the consumer to illegally download games?

      Kogan also sells grey import brand-name electronics, which would be the basis of the comparison here, I'd imagine.

        Exactly.. the comparison would have to be the same product across each retailer.

        It would be a waste of everybody's time comparing a Sony or Panasonic at Harveys versus a Sorny or Panafonic at Kogan. Please note I do not believe Kogan stock Sorny or Panafonic brands, just an example.

          Just in case it's unclear, Kogan do indeed sell many of the same products are Harvey Norman etc. Just because they are grey imports, it does not make them dodgy. A Samsung phone at Kogan is the same device as one at Harvey Norman, and it is absolutely OK to compare the two.

            ^ Pretty much this

            I bought a Galaxy Tab 2 from Kogan and the only real difference between that one and one from a retailer is that it had a HK plug, but they were kind enough to throw in an adapter for free.

            On the front of goods though, while I can understand the need to compare apples with apples, you can't deny that some of Kogan's own products are very good, in fact on par with its Samsung or Sony equivalents. Hell I bought a 46" Smart TV and it works great, but its more than half the price than a Samsung 46" Smart TV from Harvey Norman.

            Yes Kogan do sell gray imports. You need to remember that these products are NOT covered by warrenty by any of the Australian suppliers. You need to send the product back to korgan.

            Actually that is NOT the case. Kogan imports it's devices from overseas sources meaning they are different from Australian Models. In particular meaning there is no access to authorised service, repairs or warranty in Australia for Kogan import devices.

        You could do a comparison of the site eglobaldigitalcameras.com.au they do grey importing as well. For example, I just imported the Asus TF700T. I think the cheapest I could find at HN, GG and places like that for my model was around 798 with keyboard? I ended up paying 570 for both tablet and keyboard + 40 for postage. Arrived in 3 days from hong kong. Seriously, I won't be buying expensive stuff in a shop again, not when I can save this much money going online.

          But the warranty isn't applicable when you import like that, is it? Although, how often do these types of items really fail in such a way that a warranty would make it all better? Not that often, I'd wager.

            Yeah it is. You just have to send back to the original vendor.

      the [Kogan] brand name not being as reputable as, let's say Samsung.

      Even Home Brand is more reputable a brand name than Kogan.

    Kogans support is terrible. Logged a support call 2 weeks ago still not heard from them

      +1 Kogan customer service much worse than Harvey Norman. They made me pay postage to return an item they incorrectly sent to me. Still don't have correct item - paid for it last year.

        Yeah that's not legal. By Australian law, they have to pay for postage if they want the item back (if they in fact did make the mistake). If they refuse to pay for postage, or don't pick it up, you don't have to return it.

    I've never found my local Dick Smith to be cheaper than my local JB Hi-Fi. I've found them more to be around what Harvey Norman like to charge. Which is rather excessive.

      I would agree that anecdotally I find JB Hifi to be cheaper.

        I agree & the staff have better product knowledge than dse staff

    I have found JB HI FI service to be extremely good. You can usually barter anything they have on sale down, and get accessories thrown in. I research prices a lot before buying anything, and I have yet to feel like I have been 'screwed' when buying through JB. It all depends on how much you're willing to haggle :) Which I find just as much fun as buying a new device!

      Damn right. Took a monitor back to HN because it had a dead pixel on it 1 day after I bought it. 1 day. It was there the first time I powered it up. They told me they couldn't refund it. I stood there, argued with them and actually called the ACCC while instore. I got my refund as I was entitled to it as the product was deemed faulty. HN didn't want to but had to.

      JB I bought a tv, 40" LCD a few years back, thirteen months into a 3 year return to base warranty (1st year onsite, further 2 rtb), I took it in. They took the tv off me, a week later rang and said they couldn't get the parts necessary to repair it, they apologised and gave me a 42" LED tv (same price as I originally paid), PLUS a bluray player as a freakin apology (totally unnecessary of them to do this but highly appreciated).

    Yeah I think this give JB HiFi a very raw deal by ignoring the ability to negotiate a cheaper price. The staff are always willing to shave a few $$ off, so it would be interesting to see how those shaved prices compared to Kogan. Also, do the Kogan prices factor in delivery costs?

    Wherever possible I try to support local retail stores rather than buying online for the sake of saving $10. Otherwise the day will come when you you need something in a flash but all you local stores have gone out of business.

    Credit Suisse analyses four main categories of gadgets: tablets, cameras, MP3 players and accessories

    Maybe it's just me but I don't think that provides enough coverage. There are plenty of other products covered by all of those retailers that should also be considered, including: TV's, laptops, desktops, phones, game consoles, sound systems, DVD/Blu Ray players and full Home Theatre setups.

    Not to mention CD's, DVD's, Blu-Rays and Games.

    I don't actually think looking at prices like this across just those four categories is really fair and doesn't give you an accurate comparison. What if you didn't want to buy a tablet, camera or MP3 Player, and instead wanted a TV or a computer? This graph is then useless.

    I think you'll find, as others have already mentioned here, that if you compare ALL common products across the board that JB HiFi would be very much comparable to something like Kogan, or at least be a lot closer (especially when factoring in negotiation).

    Also, does this graph actually take Kogan's delivery fees into account?

    Last edited 31/01/13 4:45 pm

      It's a pretty average graph if you ask me. No title and no label on the Y axis. People need to listen to their high school maths teachers; that stuff is actually important in real life.

    I've never really understood why negotiation takes place on relatively low value products that are identical to the products in the shop next door. Why don't retailers advertise a lower price than their competitors and leave it at that? Like petrol, milk, etc.
    I'd rather someone just offered the lowest price and I bought it... like on the internet.

    Do the above Kogan prices include shipping? I often check there before buying something, but while the item is often priced competitively the shipping for items I have been after tended to remove much of the benefit and in the end I'd look elsewhere as I'm happy to pay a bit more for better support.

    Last edited 31/01/13 6:40 pm

    I had a terrible experience with Kogan recently. Returning a phone under a warranty claim took two months and concluded with: "Sorry, but we don't stock that phone now. You can have a refund or choose another." I chose a refund.

    Well, it looks like DSE is the best deal for a proper 'brick and motar' store

    I too second the call of JB being the cheapest and best to deal with. With staff who know the product with a positive and friendly attitude towards the customer, with an openness to match and make the deal, I wouldn't go anywhere else for any of my electronic purchases.

    After making a conscious decision to support bricks & mortar retailers for an LCD purchase, neither Dick nor Harvey seemed interested in relieving me of my money. During quiet mid-morning hours, staff in both places were preoccupied with tasks more pressing than dealing with another nuisance customer asking annoying questions. Clearly they are making better commissions chatting to one another, fiddling with their phones and rearranging stock on shelves.

    Which is a shame for them, because I was primed to buy a high-end TV up to 46" with all the fruit: extended warranty, universal remote, budget audio package - and I would have happily let them up-sell me delivery and installation. And I was ready to spend right there and then - all I needed was a bit of love and a touch of respect, which wasn't forthcoming in either place, despite my loitering intently near the tellys for 15 minutes.

    Which leaves me wondering: how much longer Gerry will continue bleating how un- Australian we are for not paying a premium to sustain these endangered species?

    Kogan's service mightn't be any better, but at least I'll save a few bucks and some precious time.

    Little confused by the Dick Smith result - I have never found them to be cheaper than JB (or have a particularly wide range of stock)

    Only last week I was searching for a new camera, JB had it at $50 below rrp, DSE had it at $50 above, I think we only went in because there didn't happen to be a JB in that particular centre

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