With Christmas fast approaching, consumers up and down the country will be logging on in a search for the biggest bargains they can find. But according to analysis of online prices, finding the best deal is no easy task.

Online christmas gift prices change daily

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Research by the Daily Mail revealed that the cost of Christmas gifts available on the Internet fluctuates daily, with price differences of up to 10 per cent depending on when you log on. In some cases product prices even changed by the hour as retailers battled to keep their prices lower than those of their competitors.

Analysing the price of ten different items offered by web retail giant Amazon revealed that six fluctuated over four days, with the Tefal Jamie Oliver frying pan going from £31.78 to £35 within 24 hours, a rise of 10 per cent.

The Mail's research found that Amazon regularly adjusted prices to offer products at a better price than the likes of John Lewis or Tesco. According to the experts, retailers are guilty of forcing each other to run out of stock by continually pushing the prices down, the bump them up to their original price to rake in more cash.

An Amazon spokesman insisted the site worked toward "maintaining competitive prices" on all their goods, and allow customers to choose between purchasing direct from Amazon or from third parties who set their own prices.

But Jon McKnight, founder of the Consumer Inquisitor website, told the Mail: "While it's true that online traders can charge what they like - legally - for the things they sell, surely they have a moral duty not to rip consumers off, particularly in this age of austerity.

"The fact that traders are charging different prices for the same goods at different times, without warning, is simply unfair to the decent hard-working people who make up the majority of their customers."

What do you think? Should online retailers fix their prices for a guaranteed period of time, or are you happy to chance your luck with daily price fluctuations? Leave your comments below...