Confirmed: Harvey Norman Still The Most Expensive Retailer

Confirmed: Harvey Norman Still The Most Expensive Retailer

Credit Suisse has released its latest Australian Consumer Electronics Pricing index, which compares the prices of various electronic product categories across Australia’s leading retailers. In an outcome that will surprise few, Harvey Norman has once again topped the list as the country’s most expensive retailer, while online stores remain the most affordable.

Picture by Richard Kendall/Getty Images

The chart below shows average pricing trends across Dick Smith, JB Hi-Fi, Kogan Technologies and Harvey Norman for identical products.

As you’d doubtlessly expect from an online retailer, prices were lowest at Kogan across all major electronics categories. Harvey Norman, meanwhile, was consistently the most expensive electronics retailer in the survey. In particular, the report found accessory pricing to be materially above those of its competitors. Although prices were more competitive in the categories of cameras and tablets, it remained above its competitors in advertised prices.

JB Hi-Fi and Dick-Smith Electronics showed similar pricing to each other, although products from Dick Smith was slightly cheaper across the board.

They say all publicity is good publicity, but we’re willing to bet this is a sentiment Harvey Norman’s CEO would strongly disagree with. Late last year, the struggling retail giant was blasted in a scathing CHOICE survey in the areas of staff availability, product knowledge and returns process. It managed to rank rock-bottom below the likes of Big W, Bunnings, David Jones, Dick Smith, The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi, Kmart, Myer and Target.

In some good news (for consumers), price deflation in most consumer electronics categories has accelerated during March and April after a fairly stagnant first half of the year. “The consumer electronics products in our survey are currently deflating at an annualised rate of 10.1% pa, on average,” claims the report. One of the biggest price droppers was the tablet category, which are currently deflating at an annualised rate of 24.1 per cent.

Which electronics retailers do you find to have the best and worst prices? Let us know in the comments section below.


  • Hehe, no surprises there at all. I remember the CEO comment about how people are happy to pay more for a better service, and I agree with him. Too bad, HN is still terrible with the one thing they try to justify their costs with.

    I have to tell friends looking to buy something they know nothing about to avoid HN at all costs. The times I’ve gone with them to HN for price matching purposes and played dumb as the sales guy bumbles through trying to get a sale haven’t restored any faith in their abilities.

    Myself trying to buy a good LED TV for the first time and not knowing much in the area decided to give them a try recently anyway. The guy in the TV department knew nothing of the TV’s and any questions I asked him could only be answered by him squinting at the features tag attached to the TV.

    Ah Well, somethings never change

  • harvey norman… oh that place you go to look at something in person before buying it elsewhere oh yeah.

    the only thing HN have going for them is that without fail so far they have price matched everything ive asked for, which only goes to show they know their prices are high and will still make a margin if they match, but still it saves me waiting for the kogan order to arrive

    • Just two weeks ago, went in looking for a Juice maker… ended up buying the exact model from Myers for $100 cheaper… Didn’t even need to go online to get the better deal.

  • Average price really doesn’t mean anything unless you are buying one of everything. As long as you’ve done the research and know what you’re after, I’ve quite often found HN to be the cheapest. I’ve bought a TV, fridge and washing machine from HN in the past due to price. By the same token, I’ve used many of the other stores listed as they were cheaper at the time for what I wanted. It’s good that we have the choice.
    P.S Yes, I think Gerry’s a silly old twat, but if he’s the cheapest for what I want, he gets my money.

    • Same. I did my research and haggled. Got a tv, washing machine and fridge there. And I was really happy with what I paid, and they all got delivered for free.

      And if I have any issues, much easier to deal with a real shop than online.

      If you go in HN and pay the prices they want though, then you will pay a lot more. You have to make them an offer and be prepared to leave if they don’t want to come down to a realistic price.

  • I was in a HN computer store last week where the staff seemed quite proud of the fact that they didn’t know how to perform simple operations at the till, let alone know *anything* about the stock.

    On the other hand I bought from two HN appliance stores today, where the service was faultless, the prices competitive with online, and a salesman even took extra money off one of the bigger ticket items.

  • Bought a TV and a fridge at HN. In both cases they were significantly cheaper than the competition. Both cases were also special offers. Interesting how Dick Smith rates better on average than JB. With the stuff I am looking for I usually find the opposite to be true. Also the local DS superstore has an apalling focus on Apple products, whereas my JB has a very decent range.

  • I never buy from HN. I walked in with a different store’s newspaper ad for a monitor and asked them if they could match it. They said no, so I left. What a waste of time.

  • I don’t care how “cheap” someone is, I can probably get whatever I’m looking for cheaper online. I go to stores for the service. Hence, I never shop at HN.

    Poor service and a whinging fool for a CEO = no money from me.

  • I don’t visit Harvey Norman often, but I think Gerry Harvey deserves kudos for buying Clive Peeters when they went under and saved a number of jobs. 🙂

  • this is why HN is also known as Hardly Normal! anyone who has been inside a HN store knows the prices are pretty average, the only bargains you generally get are at big sale times unless you find a particularly generous manager who will pricematch any competitor you find, and remember, instead of giving sale details most HN ads spout their interest(but not fee) free loans!

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