The days of long lines, stampedes, and wrestling over discounted slow cookers may be behind us, but retailers are taking advantage of the popularity of online shopping by making holiday sales available on their websites.
Meg Streit, the editor-in-chief of Simplemost Media and DontWasteYourMoney.com, says the shift was gradual. “People became less and less interested in rushing out to the stores on Thanksgiving night or early in the morning on Black Friday.”
Streit says that between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Travel Deal Tuesday, the holiday shopping season has become very chaotic for consumers.
“You have every retailer kind of shouting at you, sale, sale, sale.”
So how can you drown out all the noise and focus in on the best deals? Streit says it’s a good idea to take advantage of comparison-shopping tools. “When you're shopping online, you can use things like PriceGrabber and Shopzilla to compare prices between retailers.” Once you’ve got your digital tools in place to compare prices, you’re ready to browse through all the options.
Where should you start?
“We are expecting major appliances to be one of the stronger categories,” says Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst for DealNews.com. Ramhold says keep your eyes on things like kitchenware, electronics, tools, and some toys.
What should you pass on?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are famous for electronic deals, but there’s one category Ramhold says you should watch out for. “One thing that we generally talk about skipping all together is off-brand TVs.” Ramhold says deeply discounted TVs often don’t last long, so you’ll end up spending more money in the long run.
What should you wait to buy?
As for what you should wait to buy until the new year, fitness equipment is at the top of the list. “Everybody makes New Year's resolutions to get into shape,” Ramhold says. “Retailers know this. They drop the prices like crazy in January.”
Finally, if you’re worried about missing out on in-person doorbuster deals, Streit tells us it’s rare for a retailer not to make the best opportunities available online. “Stay home on the couch, fire up your laptop, and get your shopping done.”
To make that easier, Streit and her team have put together a list of the best deals, so you can save time and money while you fill up your cart and check items off your Christmas list.