If you missed out on that 65-inch 4K TV or a killer pair of boots you’ve had your eye on during mania of Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales, fear not. There is still plenty of time to score a great deal during the holiday shopping season.
Many American retailers would like you to believe you should do the bulk of your holiday shopping over Thanksgiving weekend. A lot of that messaging is pure marketing hype—the more merchandise retailers unload earlier in the season, the less they’ll have to discount later on in December.
The National Retailers Federation (NRF) estimates that 30% of annual US retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas. Over half of shoppers don’t finish their Christmas shopping until late in December, according to the NRF, so there is still a big incentive to push promotions throughout the month.
If data from previous years are any indication, consumers may better served waiting weeks after Black Friday to cross items off their lists.
What’s the best day for holiday shopping between now and Christmas?
It depends which items are on your holiday list.
Kyle James of the online discount and coupon site Rather-Be-Shopping, dug through nine years of data to look for patterns in deals and discounts during December. He broke it down by product category to find out exactly which day offers the best prices on everything from kitchen appliances to children’s toys:
Dec. 8-10: If you’re buying a TV as gift, the best time to buy is two weeks out from Christmas. Rather Be Shopping saw significant deals over the past eight years on HDTVs between Dec. 8 and 10 from BestBuy, Costco, and Walmart. Based on previous years, discounts on Samsung, Sony, Vizio, and Panasonic TVs could be in the 30-40%-off range.
Pro tip: If you’re buying a TV for yourself, don’t buy during December. The best deals are in late January and early February, when new models are released and prices on older models are cut significantly.
Fitness gear and equipment
Dec. 10: Retailers like Sports Authority, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Modell’s, and Big 5 Sporting Goods have previously released new coupons on the 10th, and there’s a good bet that will happen again. Dick’s, Reebok, Under Armour, and Puma are all also participating in Free Shipping Day on Dec. 15 (see more below).
Pro tip: The best prices for fitness equipment and workout gear are usually found right after New Year’s, so if you’re buying for yourself, it’s probably better to wait until next month.
Dec. 11: According to the data, the best time to buy small, specialty gifts is the second week of December. For the past six years, online gift retailers like Red Envelope, Things Remembered, Personal Creations, and Shutterfly have offered week-long coupons starting on the Monday that falls on Dec. 11 this year
Pro tip: Buy early in that time window to ensure delivery by Christmas.
Dec. 13: Both Dell and HP have issued coupons and big price cuts on Dec. 13 the past three years (Rather Be Shopping found $500 off an Inspiron laptop in 2016, for the best price they saw all year). Costco, has offered steep discounts on Dell, HP, Acer, and Toshiba laptops in mid-December and likely will do the same again.
Pro tip: If you’re purchasing for yourself, wait until graduation or back-to-school season, when you’ll typically find the best prices and incentives of the year.
Dec. 12-15: For the past eight years, Rather Be Shopping has seen great deals on games and consoles from Gamestop, Amazon, Walmart, Target, and NewEgg between the 12th and 15th, when anxious retailers trying to lure shoppers into larger purchases start offering price cuts and incentives. New games can go for 35% off, older games even more than that, and you can typically find deals on Xbox One or PS4 consoles.
Tools and hardware
Dec. 13: Trends from previous years show that stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware will offer online discounts and start dropping prices in mid-December around the 13th. James recommends buying tools in-store from the 15th through the 23rd.
Pro tip: If you aren’t buying a gift, wait until the weeks leading up to Father’s Day for the best annual discounts on power tools and home-improvement items.
Apparel, shoes, and accessories
Dec. 15: Cyber Monday is traditionally the best day of the year for online deals on clothes and footwear, but there’ll also be great savings on Dec. 15th, which is National Free Shipping Day, a promotional holiday where many online retailers offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Dec. 24. Gap, Land’s End, American Eagle, Macy’s, and Old Navy have already announced they’ll offer discounts along with free shipping, so it’s like you get a second run at Cyber Monday.
Pro tip: If you’re going to shop in-store rather than online, James recommends going on Sunday, Dec. 17. If you’re in the market for coats or winter apparel for yourself, wait until the end of March for the best discounts on coats, boots, and sweaters.
Kitchen appliances and accessories
Dec. 15: You’ll find discounts on cookware, kitchen accessories, and appliances all month long, though as with apparel, you’ll get the best bang for your buck on Dec. 15, when many online retailers will ship items for free.
Dec. 16: Last year, the best prices and coupons for toys were found on Dec. 16. The best deals will likely be in-store, as Free Shipping Day will have already passed. The weekend before Christmas weekend itself is “crunch time” for many toy retailers, so they start offering sales and incentives.
Pro tip: If you’re on the hunt for that hot, must-have toy of the year, you’re going to need to buy early because popular toys sell out quickly.
Every day until Dec. 25: James spoke with several jewelry retailers, who say it is a common practice to freeze prices, independent of the going rate for gold or silver, in the month before Christmas. So any time this month is a great time to buy because prices could go up significantly after the holidays.
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