Tips & more

When it’s best to buy an iPad case (and when it’s not)

When is the best time to buy an iPad case
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Don’t buy an iPad case during Black Friday weekend and after Christmas because you will overpay a lot. Here is when it’s much better to do it.

For a vast majority of iPad users, a case is a must-have accessory, and they buy it together with a new iPad model, no matter the cost.

Many users stick to original Apple accessories, which are rarely offered at reduced prices. This post is focused on price changes of third-party iPad cases and sleeves. I will share a few buying tips based on my long experience with tracking the best iPad cases and accessories.

Here is a simple rule: the better the time and price to buy the iPad, the worse it is to get the case.

As you know, only major electronics brands stick to something called “list price.” You know what’s the cost of a specific version of the newly introduced iPad, and the launch price level doesn’t change until the model is discontinued. You treat the list price as a reference when hunting for deals, for instance during Black Friday, before Mother’s Day, or during summer.

Prices of iPad cases and sleeves – highlights

Buy third-party iPad cases:

  • Right after a launch of a new iPad model
  • In March or April
  • In September or October

Don’t buy third-party iPad cases:

  • During Black Friday weekend
  • After Christmas
  • In May and June

When it comes to cases and accessories that are offered by thousands of third-party sellers on Amazon, Etsy, or eBay, the list price is usually the cross-out price, so that you can see how much you save. And this price is rarely fixed.

Cross-out “list” prices of iPad cases (and most other electronics) go up during hot shopping seasons, and even if the product enjoys a price cut, its seller can earn more money than a few weeks before.

Based on my observations of prices of iPad cases and sleeves offered by leading third-party sellers, I can say that list price changes can reach 100%, taking as a reference the lowest list price stated by the seller.

Let’s take a closer look at what happens throughout the year – and let’s start with what you should avoid doing – because you might have been doing it already.

When not to buy an iPad case

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday

If you are looking for deals during the hottest shopping season, get the iPad, but don’t buy the case.

You have just saved $50 on the iPad, so you have $50 to spare. As the case is something you are immediately looking for after adding the iPad to a shopping cart, you are more willing to accept the higher price.

The other thing is that your perception of price is altered. With $50 extra money to spare, the $25 for the case is only a half of your savings. For the rest, you can get a highly discounted power bank or a screen protector or a compact foldable stand!

The thing is that in September or October the price of this case could have been well below $20.

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, people save on iPads, Kindles, and other electronics, and are willing to complete their purchases with complementary accessories. The demand for iPad cases is peaking, so there is no reason to cut the price – just the opposite.

Note: After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some case producers review their sales and, if the results are not satisfactory, they lower their prices to keep up with the competition, gather more ratings and reviews, and jump higher in Amazon’s search results. All this is done in order to get ready for after-Christmas sales peak.

Therefore, if you are determined to buy an iPad case for Christmas, do it in the middle of December, but early enough to get the case delivered on time.

Right after Christmas

Many people receive an iPad for Christmas. They hurry to buy the case, and – again – they are willing to spend more money than usual because they haven’t invested a full price in the iPad in the first place.

The trend is similar to what happens during Black Friday: prices go up, sometimes overnight, on December 25. This time, however, there are almost no deals (even the ones with “list prices” temporarily reaching a higher level).

This after-Christmas sales peak for iPad cases lasts until the end of January.

May and June

Many users shop in May and June for gifts for their moms and dads. Also, some people plan to buy an iPad for summer or a new case that would withstand a more active way of living.

It’s when the prices also go higher, but not as high as during the hottest shopping events in November and December.

There is never a right time to buy original Apple Smart Cover

If you still consider getting an original Smart Cover, I have to be brutal: no matter the circumstances, you will pay way too much.

Original Apple accessories – cases among them – cost three times more than same-quality third-party alternatives.

What’s more, they almost never get price cuts. If this happens, you can see it on Amazon, but not in the Apple store. The price drops are rather symbolic.

When it’s best to buy an iPad case

March and April

We haven’t introduced a significant factor yet – a launch of a new iPad model. We’ll do it in a next section, but right now let’s have a quick look at when iPad case prices settle at regular levels that reflect the real value.

With no new iPad on the horizon, it’s March and April. Most users have already bought cases and sleeves for their Christmas iPads, and the pre-summer shopping season is still a few weeks away.

September and October

The next two months to buy an iPad case at a relatively low price are September and October. It’s when people usually hold their online shopping activities and wait for Black Friday deals to be revealed in early November.

March-April and September-October are the best time of the year to buy the iPad case without the deal, but even if you are not in a hurry, you can spend some time to pick up a few favorite models and write down their prices. You will have the most reliable price reference when you decide to buy one of these cases later during the year.

Right after the launch of a new iPad model

Most dynamic and unexpected iPad case price fluctuations can be observed after the announcement of a new iPad model.

If a new iPad has different dimensions or/and locations of ports and buttons, cases for the earlier-generation model become incompatible. What does it mean for case producers? All quality signals – good ratings and lots of reviews – are gone. They stay with the older model. You have to earn new ratings and new reviews again for the new case.

That’s why, when the new case is finally ready, many third-party producers decide to offer a dumping price in order to jump-start the sales and earn as many ratings/reviews as possible before the competition does it the same.

In online stores such as Amazon, where there are thousands of items offered in a single category, ratings and popularity (measured by the number of reviews) are essential in purchase decision-making. Most importantly, all these quality signals are counted in Amazon’s search results pages, so the case producers will do everything to be ranked as high as possible.

A few weeks after the introduction of a new iPad, some third-party Smart Cover alternatives are offered at lowest prices ever. Prices slowly go up with positive reviews and the number of ratings.

Therefore, if you have already decided to buy a new iPad but are still waiting for the deal, you can buy the case right away, while its price is still low in the post-launch period.

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