This holiday season, sales are set to reach $1.1 trillion, according to a survey by Deloitte, while the typical shopper expects to spend more than $1,000 on food, decorations, and gifts for themselves and others, according to the National Retail Federation. Much of this money will be spent during the season's big sale days: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the period between Christmas and New Year's.
Especially if you're trying to stick to a budget, it's useful to know what's smartest to buy when. Here's what experts predict you can get a great deal on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the days after Christmas.
Start browsing on Thanksgiving, which is when many retailers actually start rolling out their Black Friday sale, says Michael Bonebright of DealNews.com, since "historically, we've seen more deals on Thanksgiving than Black Friday or Cyber Monday." But if you'll be too busy cooking, "many Thanksgiving door-busters do carry over to Black Friday," he says.
Here's what you should buy on the day after Thanksgiving:
Televisions: Flatscreen TVs are a Black Friday door-buster tradition, and this year is no different, says Kristin McGrath, shopping expert at Offers.com. "You can expect an easy $100 to $300 off on 4K sets, and even discounts of $500 plus on certain larger-screen models over 60 inches." For example, a Samsung 70" LED TV will be discounted from $899.99 to 549.99 at Best Buy. But, she warns, don't get "blinded by a [low] price and a big screen," as many of the deals will be on lower quality products.
You could also hold off until Cyber Monday. Some experts predict that the deepest discounts on televisions will be given that day, December 2, according to data from Adobe.
Gaming consoles: "You'll see some of the best pricing of the year on the PS4, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, and, hopefully this year, the Nintendo Switch," McGrath says. At Target, an Xbox One X will be discounted from $499.99 to $349.99 and select Xbox One controllers will be discounted from $59.99 to $39.99. More than 100 video games will also be $15 each.
Smartphones: Smartphones tend to have some of their best deals of the year on Black Friday. "Target and Walmart have a tradition of offering the newest-generation phones and second-newest-generation phones with up to $400 in-store gift cards," McGrath says. For example, at Target, Apple products like an iPhone 11 comes with a $200 Target gift card.
Appliances: Deep discounts will most likely be offered on products like washer-dryer sets and kitchen appliances on Black Friday. At Lowe's, a Frigidaire fridge will be discounted from $1,300 to $850. But don't just look for price reductions, McGrath says. Many stores will offer perks like free installation or discounts for buying appliances in multiples. Lowe's is also offering free delivery for appliance purchases of more than $369.
"Cyber Monday is interesting because it typically has more deals than Black Friday, but not [as many as] Thanksgiving," Bonebright says. Here's what you should buy on Cyber Monday:
Clothing: "Clothing is, without a doubt, one of the best Cyber Monday buys you can make," McGrath says. As opposed to Black Friday when deals are more product-specific, on Cyber Monday retailers often offers site-wide discounts between 25% and 50% off. Gap, Old Navy, ASOS, and Express are among the many stores, McGrath says, that are likely to offer discounts.
Video by Mariam Abdallah
Laptops: "Lenovo, HP, and Dell all have strong Cyber Monday sales that last the better part of Cyber Week," McGrath says. For example, at Walmart, a Lenovo IdeaPad will be discounted from $500 to $349. Like televisions, be sure to check the model and brand, she says: Many sales may be on low-quality products.
Travel: Expect great discounts on flights, hotels, and popular attractions during Cyber Monday. Flight deals vary greatly based on destination and dates, but "if your plans are flexible in the early new year, you could get a tropical or resort getaway for upwards of 50% off," McGrath says. Some hotels are already advertising their discounts. For example, on Cyber Monday, the Peninsula Chicago will offer 30% off regular room rates for stays between December 15 and April 30.
But according to research from Hopper, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, also known as Travel Tuesday, actually offers the most discounts for popular travel destinations like Tokyo, Rome, and Reykjavik. A round-trip flight going to Tokyo, for example, was on average 57% cheaper when bought on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. So it may pay off to wait another day.
Holiday decor is an obvious after-Christmas buy if you want to get the best deals, with stores like Home Depot offering significant discounts on artificial trees and lights. There are other great year-end sales to look out for, too.
Electronics: Two days after Christmas, according to data from Adobe, is a great time to buy small electronics and smart home devices. On December 27, smart speakers like the Echo Dot and headphones will be at a peak discount of up to 27% off. Last year at Target, Beats Solo wireless headphones were discounted from $299.99 to $199.99.
Department store clearance sales: "Department stores, big-box stores, and home goods stores tend to throw these [sales] to capitalize on the foot traffic as people return gifts," McGrath says. "In past years, we've seen Macy's, Kohl's, Home Depot, and others participate." Last year, Kohl's was offering up to 70% off its clearance items from December 26 to 31 and Macy's was offering 20% off clearance items.
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