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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Last-minute gift buying for tech junkies

Sony's new PlayStation 4 game console
The Straits Times - December 12, 2013
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Last-minute gift buying for tech junkies

If you have yet to buy holiday presents for friends and family, the good news is that there is still time.

Time to head out to the stores, that is.

If you have been reading this column during this period in the last three years, you would probably be aware that many of the people who write for Digital Life start buying their gifts in November, around the time of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday and that has been when the mega sales there start.

In recent years, this annual holiday sale has increasingly moved online, making it a whole lot easier for international buyers to make their purchases.

Online deals may not necessarily be better than those found in brick-and-mortar stores in North America, but they definitely beat quite a few of the deals offered here.

Now, Cyber Monday has quickly become as established as Black Friday. These sales, on the Monday after Thanksgiving, offer a different set of deals.

Buyers drawn to Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not going after bulky TV sets, but will focus on smaller items such as clothes, video games, Blu-ray movies, headphones and tablets.

With the help of payment services, such as PayPal, and freight forwarders, such as Borderlinx and vPost, holiday shopping has become painless and, best of all, crowd-free.

Some online retailers also play it rather sneaky, by offering great prices on Black Friday, and then enticing you to buy more on Cyber Monday, by throwing in free international shipping.

Those who seek to outsmart the retailers by saving all their purchases for check-out on Monday will probably become painfully aware that popular items will be out of stock way before then.

Think of "free international shipping" simply as an added push for getting rid of old stock, which is a win-win for retailers and their customers.

For those looking for gift ideas, this issue of Digital Life is dedicated to tech junkies. Being constantly inundated with gadgets to test throughout the year gives us a pretty good idea of what the people on your gift list might welcome.

A good reason for buying your electronic appliances and gadgets in local stores rather than online is the power supply, as US electronics run on 110v, whereas Singapore uses 220v.

A second reason is that if something you have bought online from the US does not work, you will need to ship it back for an exchange or refund, which can be costly. Throw in the lack of an international warranty and, suddenly, it really makes sense to buy costly electronic items locally.

Some of the gadgets we recommend are not even on sale yet, though they will be before or by Christmas.

Among them is Sony's new PlayStation 4 game console (photo), which is scheduled to go on sale on Dec 19, and the Rocki wireless music streamer, which is available only from the crowdfunding site Kickstarter for now.

But if you are looking for a killer deal during this gift-giving season, there is still the traditional warehouse sale, which is happening even as you read this.

As of this week, there are sales on cosmetics and clothes, but of interest to DL readers would be this weekend's warehouse sale by Hwee Seng, the distributor of Monster, Onkyo, v-moda and Sol Republic audio products. For details, visit

Chances are you may find yourself reading this very column at the same time next year.

But if you remember what you have just read here, you could be the one enjoying Black Friday sales next year, while the newbies pick up the leftovers on Cyber Monday.


Mid-East delights