Historical Pricing

Hey folks, I’m Greg Shikhman, and I am working at Octopart this summer as a software development intern. One big project that I’ve taken on is building a system for analyzing the historical pricing and stocking info on the 20 million electronic parts and counting that we have in our database. I’m trying to find interesting trends and factoids to pass on to the world and help people avoid backorders and save money buying the parts they need for their cool projects.

The first tool that we’re ready to show off to you all related to this effort is the historical pricing chart that is now available on all part detail pages with authorized distributors. Here’s an example from the Atmega32U4-AU part detail page:


The chart shows average pricing information over all the distributors over the past year for the part, so you can get an idea of whether or not you should buy now or take a risk and wait for the price to go down.

There’s also a more detailed plot that you can see if you click on the basic plot to check out prices for the entire time period that we’ve been collecting data on it:


We’ve seen pricing swings of 20%+ on common, reasonably well stocked parts (check out the historical prices for that Atmega32U4, the chip at the heart of the Arduino Leonardo, it’s crazy!), so if you’re willing to spend some time researching prices, you can definitely save some big bucks on your next project.

We’ve also been looking for interesting price changes that may be related to geographical and political events in the world. Renesas Electronics is a major Japanese manufacturer responsible for many of the expensive and complex microcontrollers found in cars, and they had a few months of production problems due to the tragic earthquake in Japan last year. You can see that reflected in the pricing changes on one of their microcontrollers:


It looks like the company was able to bounce back quickly and distributors were even able to lower their prices 25% below pre-earthquake levels only six months after the supply chain disruptions and earthquake damage, which is amazing. Let us know if you can find any more interesting trends looking through the data or if you have any feedback or questions on the new features.