By now, you've probably heard of one or two online retailers that sell their goods for Bitcoin. Some sites were already in existence before Bitcoin and have chosen to start accepting Bitcoin as an alternative form of payment. Other sites were created based on a business model that works on a Bitcoin-only payment system.
As these sites continued to roll out over the last few months, I began wondering to myself: are they really charging less because they're doing business in Bitcoin, or are they just trying to pull a fast one on us Bitcoin enthusiasts, blinded by our Bitcoin-induced euphoria?
As a quick test, I headed over to searchbitcoin.com and began clicking on random products that came up in the live feed. I then compared the Bitcoin prices to the prices found over at Google Product Search. I didn't necessarily pick the lowest price out of the Google search; I picked the more "common" price. Sometimes Google might show you a really low price, but chances are there's a catch to those lower prices. They may be used goods, or have outrageous shipping fees. I figured, by choosing the most common price, I was getting a more realistic price.
Here are the results of my quick survey:
Red prices are the prices that are higher for customers paying in Bitcoin than for those paying in USD at a regular online store. The USD prices came from the Google Search. Where you see an asterisk, that means there was no advertised price in Bitcoin, just a USD price that you could pay using Bitcoin.
While a sample size of five doesn't really count for much, I was just happy to see that some of the Bitcoin prices were lower.
There are other sites out there that specifically offer a discount when you pay in Bitcoin (as they should). I believe that will be the trend in the coming months - established online retailers choosing to reduce prices for customers paying with Bitcoin to account for the smaller transaction fees and the eliminated chargeback risk.
So, happy shopping, Bitcoiners! You'll likely find some good savings out there.