Buying AliExpress Electronics: How to Spot a Good Deal
Published February 27, 2023.
With nearly all electronics sold worldwide originally coming from China, it's not hard to believe that you'll also be getting the best deals on your favorite gadgets by purchasing them directly from Chinese e-commerce stores rather than from traditional retailers in the US or UK. Arguably the most popular of these e-commerce platforms is AliExpress. Owned by retail and tech giant Alibaba Group, AliExpress sees over half a billion visitors each month. While many deals on AliExpress appear to be good, it's often difficult to tell what's really good due to the number of scammers selling fake or defective products on the platform. Thankfully, we've got you covered.
» Looking for more tech deals? Check out the cheapest Chinese sites for quality products
The Problem With AliExpress Deals
It's important to understand that AliExpress isn't a merchant that buys and sells the products itself—AliExpress is merely a marketplace connecting thousands of e-commerce merchants, suppliers, and manufacturers with potential buyers. This means that you have to be extra careful when deciding who to buy from since you could easily fall into scams or sketchy deals if you're not careful (the same happens on other websites like eBay and Amazon).
Even with the extra vigilance required, AliExpress is still the premier platform for you to find great deals on basically anything. Here are our top tips for spotting great electronics deals on AliExpress.
5 Tips for Spotting Great Electronics Deals on AliExpress
1. Compare the Prices on Different Platforms
If you ever see a product you like at what seems to be a great price, first take a moment to cross-check the price with more sellers, other platforms, and the manufacturer's MSRP. Just because it has a "sale" tag and a big discount compared to the original price, merchants can lie about the original price.
AliExpress usually has sellers with the best prices, but be sure by checking other e-commerce stores like DHGate and BangGood, or even your local retailers. Remember to factor in shipping costs and other fees.
If it's still the cheapest on AliExpress, be sure to use your common sense to determine if the price isn't too low. Extremely low prices may be indicative of fake or defective products. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Assess the Ratings, Reviews, and Sales
A great feature of AliExpress is the review and rating system where people who have purchased the product from the seller previously can leave feedback. A high number of good reviews matching healthy sales figures are a sign of a good deal and often earns the seller an AliExpress "Top Brand" badge. When looking at an individual merchant, you should check if they have good ratings on their other products too, while new sellers with little to no reviews and sales should be treated with suspicion.
As you can see below, the particular product has over 5,000 reviews and an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars, while the seller has over 300,000 followers and the Top Brand badge, so we can assume that the great 56% off deal is legit.
3. Watch Out for Hidden Charges
While a merchant may display a low price on the product page, they often use shady tactics to boost the price when you check out. Always review the total amount just before you pay, since you might miss the add-ons. Some common tactics used are high insurance costs, expensive shipping, or other similar unnecessary fees.
While you will still need to pay shipping and insurance (which could be higher depending on the region you live in), it shouldn't make a game-changing difference to the overall cost. If the product's price is still low after such fees, then you might still be good to go ahead and complete the purchase. Just be aware that sellers who resort to such shady practices on pricing may be committing similar acts elsewhere (such as shipping low-quality, defective, or fake products).
4. Check the Seller Guarantees
To combat fraud and scams, AliExpress created the Buyer Protection program.
Some of the guarantees included are on-time delivery, product-as-described, no-questions-asked domestic returns, and guaranteed genuine. If a seller has any or all of these listed on the product page (or their merchant page), then you can buy from them with ease of mind that you're covered for any eventualities where the product doesn't arrive on time, isn't what you paid for, you don't want it anymore (if it's unopened and unused), or is counterfeit.
5. Use a Price Tracker
The best way to spot good deals is to have a price tracker do it for you. Services like AliPrice and Pricearchive let you check an individual product's price history and see if you're getting a good deal or if you should rather wait before purchasing. They also offer handy features such as price drop notifications and price comparisons across other Chinese e-commerce stores.
Don't Get Scammed By AliExpress Sellers
If you ever do get scammed by an AliExpress seller, you don't have to fret. AliExpress' Buyer Protection program is available for such situations and you can easily get your money refunded. So while you may have heard of unhappy customers who bought from AliExpress, with some common sense and our tips you'll be getting great electronics deals in no time at all without having to worry about losing out.