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Why the Same Item Gives Different Price Points on the Same Website

Person on an online store

You’re scrolling through your favourite website on the hunt for a fun, flirty summer dress while chatting with a friend. It’s then that you notice the price listed on your favourite online shopping site is different from the price your friend sees on their device. Turns out, this experience isn’t a glitch — and it’s actually fairly common. 

While online shopping has seen a massive boost during the pandemic, now that shoppers are spending more time in these spaces they’re noticing that such discrepancies are becoming more frequent. 

Related: How to curb your online shopping addiction.

The price you see, according to a recent CTV report, is based on several factors, including what device you’re using, your browsing history and other various factors. Even booking travel destinations online, such as hotels or even airline tickets, may serve up different prices to you and your friends. 

As sellers gather ever-greater data about your shopping habits, they are starting to use your online history of past purchases to customize the price points you see. 

Related: This is how to master a no-spend month.

Other factors that could affect price differentiation comes down to what time of day it is, the day in the week — even your postal code. 

As for what you can do to ensure you get the best deal going forward, you can try using different devices or a private browsers to compare prices before hitting that checkout button. 

See also: 5 pro-tips to get your life together in your 20s.

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