12 Things That Will Be More Expensive in 2013

By Laura Heller, dealnews contributor

While we like to focus on saving money and falling prices, it's important to recognize when certain items are, conversely, becoming more expensive. And unfortunately, consumers can expect select electronics, smartphones, cars, and food to cost more in the coming year. Thanks to mature technologies, a lack of innovation, higher prices for precious metals, added features, and a drought, 2013 looks like it will be just a little more costly.

Each year, we here at dealnews take a look at items that are expected to cost consumers more in the coming year, and it seems as if some prior trends are finally coming to an end – the price of gold may finally hit its peak in the next few months – while the cost of a college education is still on the rise. Luxury goods continue to command an ever-increasing premium, and one new hot commodity – copper – could be problematic for home owners and beer drinkers alike.

Fuel Efficiency Ratchets Up the Cost of Cars

Gas prices may be falling, but cars that run on it are getting more expensive. Earlier this year, the Obama administration issued new standards that require automakers improve fuel efficiency, and the cost of upgraded engines alone is driving up prices. Toyota hiked prices on its mid-size Camry by roughly $175, and among best selling luxury vehicles, the 2013 Lexus CT 200h will be almost $3,000 more than the 2012 model.

Grocery Prices to Increase by as Much as 4%

Meat, poultry, and dairy prices are all expected to rise thanks to this summer's drought. Feed corn and grass were most effected, and the impact from their scarcity will soon be felt at the grocery store: price increases will hit right along with the new year. Since drought conditions forced farmers to reduce the size of their herds to combat higher feed costs, the price of beef and chicken is also slated to rise. The cost of dairy products, too, will be affected, as fewer and leaner cows produce less milk. Overall, the USDA expects food prices to rise 3.5% to 4% in 2013.

Grain Prices Affected by Drought

Cereal and bakery product prices will rise too, as a result of the 2012 drought and lower wheat yields. Prices in this category began creeping up in October, and the USDA's Economic Research Service forecasts cereal and bakery product prices to rise 2.5% to 3.5% next year.

Health Care Premiums on the Rise

Obamacare not withstanding, employee health care premiums are expected to rise an average of 6% in 2013, according to Aon Hewitt, a human resource consulting firm. That amount will vary by state and type of plan, but overall, employers will face higher premiums and the increased cost will be passed along in part to employees.

High-End TVs and Home Theater Systems Hit New Highs

While there will always be budget home entertainment options, folks who want the latest and greatest in this department will face some shockingly high price tags in 2013. According to Jeff Joseph, spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association, Ultra HD TVs — which include an extremely high pixel density — sell for $20,000 to $25,000. High-end audio manufacturers too aren't holding back, as they incorporate premium features like Apple Airplay or standard DLNA that lets users control the entire system wirelessly. These features can drive up the cost of AV equipment in an instant.

Computers Push High-End Features

As tablets continue to gain momentum in the consumer electronics realm, computers are returning to their original function as work-related machines — albeit more powerful and expensive. According to Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at The NPD Group, Apple's new notebooks with retina displays are among the highest-priced models out there, and Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 8, is driving the adoption of premium touchscreen PCs.

Even geeks and gamers could see higher prices, as Intel plans to release processors that are soldered onto motherboards in 2013, rendering them un-upgradeable. This would make DIY upgrades to a desktop machine impossible, forcing the computer-savvy to opt for a custom configuration from the manufacturer, which is, as a general rule, more expensive then getting a deal on the boxed CPU and replacing it on your own.

Copper Will Be in Demand and Beer Prices Will Suffer

Move over gold, it's copper's time to shine! Copper prices could be on the rise thanks to a move by the SEC to approve a fund to trade the metal. The fund could lead to scarcity and higher prices, as it did for gold. The problem is that copper is used in plenty of consumer items, including residential water pipes, wire, pots, and kettles, as well as equipment for brewing beer, distilling liquor, and making candy.

T-Mobile to Drop Subsidies for Smartphones

The U.S. smartphone market has long been subsidized by service providers, offering phones at reduced prices with the signing of long-term contracts. In 2013 T-Mobile will eliminate the subsidy and charge full price for its phones. While there's evidence to suggest that the carrier will in turn allow users to opt for cheaper service rates (thus saving money in the long run), the pill of a full-price phone may be hard for many to swallow.

Services from Daily Deals Will Become Scarce

In spite of lots of bad press, the daily deal isn't dead yet. It will, however, continue to evolve in 2013. Too many competitors and not enough profits are forcing these sites to focus more on product deals, lead by Groupon Goods. It therefore may become difficult to find deals on services. If you're accustomed to scoring cheap spa vouchers, for example, it may become harder to find such discounts next year, as daily deal sites will list fewer such offers and instead opt for tangible products — leaving you to pay full-price for your indulgences.

Tuition Goes Up as States Can't Subsidize University Expenditures

While tuition costs are always on the rise, state schools in particular are feeling the pinch. As education costs continue to increase, many states will no longer be able to subsidize much of its students' tuition costs. Meanwhile, student aid and grants aren't rising commensurate to costs, which means university expenditures — more administrators, new dorms, and additional property — will get passed along to students. Tuition and fees for private universities aren't increasing as much in 2013 as they have in recent years, but they are expected to rise for public 4-year colleges. Students can expect in-state tuition to increase 4.8% and fees to rise 3.7%, according to the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center.

iPhone 5 Accessories Will Be Costlier Than Previous Generations

Although there have been several iterations of the iPhone at this point, one thing had remained the same for several years: the dock connector. Thus, unlike cases that are outdated with the slightest change in form factor, iPhone dock accessories remained largely universal across new models. But the iPhone 5 features a radically different Lightning connector, resulting in a fleet of brand new accessories that have no prior-generation alternatives — which means premium prices. These higher prices debuted in late 2012, and they will continue in 2013 until manufacturers begin releasing updates to these items.

Shipping Costs on the Rise

While somewhat unsurprising, 2013 will see a 4.5% to 4.9% hike in shipping costs from both UPS and FedEx, the latter of which is slated to raise rates beginning January 7. Higher shipping costs may affect customers who predominately shop from "independent" sellers, like those found on eBay, etsy, and the like, but it may also have an impact on retailers that presently offer free shipping. Since merchants end up paying for the handling and delivery of orders that "ship free," the increased UPS and FedEx rates may affect the frequency of, and threshold at which, online orders receive free shipping in 2013.

Does all this talk about rising prices get you down? Be sure to shop wisely by setting up a dealnews email alert for the specific products and categories that are important to you, so you know immediately when we see a good deal. You can also stay tuned for next week's followup to this piece that details things that will be less expensive in 2013.

Front page photo credit: A Modern Gal
Photo credits top to bottom: Clean Technica,
Food Tech Connect, 123RF, APC Mag,
Aware Geek, Beer Pulse,
Chicago Burlesque, and Go Banking Rates

Laura Heller is a freelance writer based in Chicago who specializes in mass market retail trends and consumer electronics industries. You can follow her on Twitter @lfheller.

Follow @dealnews on Twitter for the latest roundups, price trend info, and stories. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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Food prices are up 3-4% ????....What a bunch of BS !!!!....I go shopping every week to several stores...I remember all the prices !....How do you explain 3-4% hike in prices when let's say food items Re really going up by 25-30% from one week to the next???...This has been going on for years...and some items going up by 50%...What do you call an item going up from $2.99 to $3.99?...$.99 to $1.99?...or items that go up by .10 cents every month when the price started at $1.19 and by 12 months later it is at 1.99?...across the board americans' grocery bill is going up by 25-30% a year...Outrageous !....SO STOP LIEING !!!!
Taxes will go up! (Already started) - That should be number 1 on the list.
The US Dollar is going DOWN (due to government printing for the Debt) so All Commodities will go up.
Debt will insure the cost increase of copper, gold, silver, steel, oil, energy plastic, and every thing physical. The layman term is "inflation". (prices inflate as the money supply is increased from debt).
The government no longer counts food and energy in its Inflation Index. Expect actual food to increase 10.3% based on the wholesale trading rates for this industry.

Silver (used in electronics and solar panels) is expected to go up 100% to 300%. That makes it the number one bargan today. China banned silver exports due to the shortage. This is a last chance to buy it cheap. The silver shortage may adjust prices around March of 2013. All electronics from cell phone, TV, cars, music, will feel this pinch.
please show us things that will be cheaper in 2013. We dont want to here the bad news that prices are going up. Show us something that will make us happy.
Something that is not often mentioned here, but milk subsidies may be expiring. Meaning that dairy products may skyrocket. I've seen on occasions cheeses from niche farms that were awesome. If dairy is something you enjoy, US made products my rise significantly.
Thanks for considering my point!
Doesn't the copper mention above almost inevitably apply to heathcare as well? With the commodity copper, many others now CAN purchase it, therefore prices will go up. With HC, many more MUST purchase it (or pay a relatively small fine) , and the comanies cannot refuse to sell it.
Imagine how much car insurance would go up if instead of paying a few grand a year in premiums - I didn't pay anything. Then I wrecked my brand new (insert expensive car name here). THEN I called the little green lizard with a "pre-existing condition" of a destroyed compenating-for-something-mobile and the lizard had to pony up for it - even though I hadn't given the lizard any money... Do you see any way all other customers wouldn't be forced to pay a WHOLE lot more to cover my irresponsibility?
How would the mandate that the lizard cover my repair no matter what not be responsible for all car insurance premiums going up?
I look forward to your thoughts!
Good point Woodlander. I should have been more clear. "Obamacare not withstanding" is meant to imply there are many unknowns in how the affordable care act will effect health insurance premiums (and medical costs). Without taking that into account, premiums are expected to rise regardless, leaving Obamacare and politics out of the discussion entirely.
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@goodfit, we mention at the end of this feature that we'll be following it up with things that will be less expensive. Don't you worry, there are plenty of things that conversely will cost less next year.
why don't you find 12 things price will lower in 2013?
this webside is talking good deals not the bad ones!
Don't forget the FED's printing press. LOL there is no Santa Clause libs, I thought you knew this. BTW don't worry about tuition costs, Obama will bail you out!
I know you need something to write about but T-Mobile's move is shutting the barn door after the horses are out. I already bought a few phones directly from Google that I use on T-Mobile. So why get it from T-Mobile subsidized just so I'm locked into them for another 2 years? People won't. T-Mobile is just adjusting now rather than wait for the wave to hit them in the back.
I love dealnews... That said, why mix politics in?
"Obamacare not withstanding" (aka "in spite of Obamacare") heathcare costs on the rise?
I'm sure some support that and others believe it to be BECAUSE of... Instead of putting a political slant on it, if you felt the need to mention Obamacare, why not simply say despite the intent behind (or promises of, projected savings of, etc.) Obamacare... (or even the BEST intents of our President).
Your mention of copper gives a clean cause/effect - will be a traded commodity - price will rise. Why not be equally precise with the other?
Maybe an overreaction, but words matter...