As many shoppers hustle for last-minute Christmas gifts, there’s plenty they should avoid, writes Alessandra Malito, reporter, for MarketWatch. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday shopping is expected to rise by 4% to $678.7 billion this year, but sometimes it’s better to wait for bargains. What’s more, Americans spent about $430 on average to buy 14 gifts each last year, according to a survey by financial services firm Deloitte, and approximately $1 billion in gift cards go unused every year.
Gifts instead should be meaningful, not wasteful and designed to enhance a person’s education, career, or financial acumen, says the report. If highly sought after toys are available, such as Fingerlings and the Nintendo Switch, shoppers should consider buying them when they see them. Remember the Hatchimal craze last year. Bots and other consumers bought large quantities of the year’s hottest toys and sold them at a marked up price on third-party retail sites such as eBay “If you have an item on the list, just get it,” said Trae Bodge, a shopping expert in Montclair, N.J.
If you are buying decorations for the holidays, consider holding off for just a few more weeks. They will be at clearance-level prices right after the holidays, up to 50% off according to personal-finance site Deal News, which weighed in on pre-Christmas shopping. “Stock up on holiday decorations for next year, as well as fireplace accessories and cold-weather furnishing accessories,” said Janet Alvarez, a personal finance expert at personal finance site Wise Bread.
For decades, January has been the month for “white sales” of linens, sheets, towels, bedding and more, Bodge said. Consumers should look for sales at stores like J. C. Penney, Macy’s and Pottery Barn, says Malito. Many people are preparing their homes now for guests, so there’s less incentive for retailers to offer big deals.
Continuing, Malito says that February is a better month to buy jewelry. Shoppers may get a better deal on their rings and other jewelry after Christmas, usually around Valentine’s Day in February or Mother’s Day in May, Bodge said. Engagement rings cost $6,351 on average, up 25% from $5,095 in 2011, according to wedding site, The Knot’s 2017 survey of 14,000 adults engaged or recently married.
The New Year will have discounts on sports equipment, continues the report.
Before trying to get a head start on 2018 resolutions, consumers may want to wait until the New Year when fitness and sports gear tend to go on sale. Last year, Walmart had deep discounts on fitness equipment in January, such as 40-lb weight sets for $15, and weight band sets for $20. Gyms will also be offering promotions for their memberships in January.
Finally, says Malito, until the week after Christmas to buy winter clothes.
Clothing tends to be heavily discounted the week after Christmas, especially winter woolies, heavy coats and other seasonal items, Alvarez said. Consumers should hold out for holiday sweaters, and ski wear and other snow clothing. Other stores with big sales: H&M, Brooks Brothers and Lucky Brand, according to Deal News.
The original report from MarketWatch may be found here.