Online shopping from a smartphone may cost you less than using a desktop or laptop computer. This is the finding of a study by Northeastern University, Boston, where 9 out of 16 online retailers and travel websites showed different prices for items from identical searches done at the same time. CBS Miami Article Here are some examples.
When Owens looked up a night’s stay at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando on Travelocity on her laptop, she was shown a price of $132 per night. The same search on Travelocity at the same time on a mobile phone came up with a price of $119.
Those in the group who searched on a desktop computer were shown a price of $249 for [Rosetta Stone’s] Levels 1-5 of Mandarin Chinese. Those who used a mobile device were offered the same products for $189 – a $60 difference.
When Owens priced a GE 7-foot Christmas tree on HomeDepot.com with free home delivery anywhere in the U.S., her price was $399. When the same item was priced on the site from Boston and Minneapolis the price shown was $438.
When you shop online, companies can see your search history, clicks, the type of computer and browser you use, and determine your location. Using private or incognito mode while online shopping does not keep retailers from seeing this information.
So, how to get the lowest price? Use both a desktop/laptop and smartphone when searching for prices online. Or use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide your information from retailers.