Nearly every product has a life cycle, whether correlated to season, changes in technology, fashion tastes or other considerations. As products move through this cycle, manufacturers reduce MAPs. Jonas Tanenbaum, a marketing v.p. for Samsung, says that these days it's not unusual for the company to lower the price of a TV three times during its yearlong life cycle vs. once or twice in years past.
How do you put this info to use? "You'll get the best bang for your buck when a product has been around for a while and there's competition among manufacturers and retailers - basically, when the product is 'mature,' " says Rajneesh Suri, a professor of marketing at Drexel University.
Pinpointing this can be tricky, but patience will be rewarded. See what an item is being sold for at its launch, then check back periodically. When the Motorola Razr V3 cell phone debuted in 2004, it retailed for $600 (less with a contract, but not by much). By Christmas 2005 you could get one for $300.