Topline: With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, millions will be out in force searching for deals beginning Friday, November 22, on Black Friday (November 29) and Cyber Monday (December 2), but here are six key consumer areas where the deals might not be as good as they appear, according to experts.
- Anything related to health and fitness: Gym equipment, sneakers and athletic gear, all have better discounts and sales at the beginning of the new year, when a lot of brands are going to be targeting customers with New Year’s resolutions, says Vivek Pandya, lead analyst with Adobe Digital Insights.
- Bedding and linens: January is prime time for white sales, according to Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at coupon company RetailMeNot.
- Home appliances: Overseas Tariffs and pricing pressures are generally making home appliances more expensive, so while there might be big discounts, the original cost is inflated, and “that translates to less savings,” according to Pandya.
- Furniture: It’s not one of those categories that tends to sell during the holiday season—”traditionally speaking, furniture isn’t a big gift item,” so there are better deals available later in the year, points out Skirboll.
- Toys: It’s a “Catch 22,” according to Skirboll. “If you’re looking for the best deals, our research suggests that toys are the most-discounted two weeks before Christmas, but the toy you want may not exist and could get sold out by then.”
- Latest smartphones: New versions are not really going to be discounted, because companies will want to preserve the margins and not bring down pricing—they’ll instead offer gift cards and other promotions with smartphones in a bundled deal, Pandya says.
Key background: With the rise of digital and e-commerce sales creating even more intense competition between retailers, “that can create some good deals from a consumer standpoint,” says Morningstar analyst Zain Akbari. One key thing to watch for is shipping options, as many people who leave shopping until the last minute end up overpaying to get their items delivered. Amazon Prime offers free shipping, and more retailers, like Walmart and Target, are following suit, or at least offering faster and cheaper shipping options. “Having that variety should be a benefit for the time-starved customer,” says Akbari.
Tangent: While tech products like game consoles are very popular and see lots of good bundled discount deals during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, one thing to keep in mind is that most of these items are coming toward the end of their product lifecycle and have been on the market for a couple of years already, according to Adobe Analytics. With gaming systems like the PS4 or Xbox One, for example, remember that the next generation of consoles are just over the horizon. There are certainly great discounts available when it comes to TVs, but prices have been going down in recent years, so even if you don’t find a great deal for a TV on Black Friday, there are other good sales during the rest of the year, too.