Spending

'Everything will be less discounted, due to inflation': What to expect from Memorial Day sales

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Key Points
  • Memorial Day sales will feel the impact of both supply chain issues and inflation.
  • Bigger ticket items like large appliance and electronics might not be as deeply discounted as consumers have come to expect.
  • "Retailers will most likely have the same discounts they normally do, such as 35% off large appliances or 60% off laptops, but those discounts won't go as far if the starting price is higher than what it was last year," one expert says

Historically, Memorial Day weekend usually nets sales on some bigger ticket items like washer and dryers and laptops. This year will likely be different, says Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com

"Potentially everything will be less discounted due to inflation," she says. "Prices have risen on most, if not all products to some degree, and there may be lingering issues from supply chain interruptions as well."

Still, she says, you'll be able to find some discounts.

Inflation and supply chain issues

For the most part, big box retailers are effectively managing supply chain issues, says Scott Grawe, chair of the department of supply chain management at Iowa State University. "Generally speaking, large retailers have been successful in filling shelves with alternative products to meet consumer demand where substitutes are available," he says.

However, if a product doesn't have a comparable alternative, it's hard for a store to meet demand. For example, the reason the formula shortage has persisted is because there is no viable replacement.

Generally speaking, large retailers have been successful in filling shelves with alternative products to meet consumer demand where substitutes are available.
Scott Grawe
chair of the department of supply chain management at Iowa State University

If you're inflexible about a product's brand or model, supply chain issues will likely impact you. "Consumers who are very particular about specific items may notice inventory gaps across some stores and consumers who pay close attention to specific prices may notice prices creeping up in places," Grawe says.

Many retailers might advertise big sales, but because of inflation those discounts won't be as significant as they appear to be or were in previous years, Ramhold says.

"Retailers will most likely have the same discounts they normally do, such as 35% off large appliances or 60% off laptops, but those discounts won't go as far if the starting price is higher than what it was last year," she says.

Because stores are struggling to keep up with demand of certain products, you're also less likely to see sitewide discounts.

What discounts to expect Memorial Day weekend

How deeply an item will be discounted will depend on how severely it is affected by inflation or supply chain issues.

Products that won't be discounted as much as they have been in previous years include:

  • Electronics
  • Large appliances

Due to a persisting chip shortage and the fact that many of these products are made overseas or rely on parts made overseas, retailers will be less likely to price them to sell.

Some items will be discounted as significantly as they have been in past years. Those include:

  • Patio furniture
  • Grills
  • Clothing

"While cotton prices have increased, which will affect regular costs of clothing, we should still see rock-bottom prices on spring items," Ramhold says.

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