Popular high-street stores are charging shoppers as much as four times more than online retailers for many common goods, new research has revealed.
And struggling families who are keen to keep treating their children despite the recession could be hit harder than most, with DVDs, CDs, video games and toys showing some of the largest price differences.
That's according to a study carried out by internet service provider TalkTalk and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
It found that high street prices for entertainment products are on average 124% higher than they can be found on the Internet.
One example of a significant price difference is the Blu-ray version of the film High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which cost £2.99 on the internet at Zavvi.com but £14 in Sainsbury's supermarkets.
Another example is the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, with a price of £19.99 at online retailer Amazon.co.uk but £39.99 at Morrisons stores.
For toys there was an average 180% difference in high street and online prices, the researchers found.
A more extreme example they uncovered was for shoppers purchasing a set of royal wedding dolls - in Hamleys they cost £100 whereas at Amazon online shoppers paid just £29.95.
Families who choose to buy their electrical items on the high street may also be paying out significantly more than they need to.
A Comet store for example was charging £330 for a Zanussi ZDF2020 dishwasher when the research was carried out - at a time when online retailer Applicances.co.uk was charging £237 for exactly the same product.
Meanwhile, a Hotpoint white double electric cooker cost £364 on the same website - but recession-hit shoppers were paying £500 for the same item at Argos.
To carry out the study the researchers examined prices for a random selection of 50 items and discovered that online prices dropped by 0.7% between April and June this year compared to a year earlier, while in-store prices went up by 1.6%.
They suggested that online companies are able to charge lower prices because they have much lower costs to cover than high street stores.
CEBR economist Shehan Mohamed said the study shows that families can reduce "the squeeze on their spending power" by switching to online shopping.
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