Prices naturally fluctuate between on- and off-seasons—especially on travel, produce and ski equipment—but who knew they could change by the hour?
That’s what Time Moneyland’s Martin Lindstrom found when a camera he wanted to buy in Tokyo shot up 10 per cent in price because of the time of day he’d visited the store.
“The retail world is becoming so sensitive that it can react to — and create — hour to hour price fluctuations on consumer goods,” he wrote.
It’s the reason big-box stores like Costco and Walmart have started using digital price displays instead of paper ones. It will allow them to start responding to shifts in commodity markets, such as oranges and coffee beans.
You also might notice some things get pricier in the supermarket during peak shopping hours. For example, after 5 p.m., when the post-work crowd jams the store, you’ll find items more expensive versus when you go to at a slower time like 10 a.m. on a Wednesday.
Lindstrom also notes that stores in Scandinavian countries and Japan tend to alter prices on an hourly basis. Pretty soon we could see shoppers gaming the supermarkets much as they do with the stock market.