“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus… but, no, he can’t fix inflation.”
It won’t be long until retailers start putting up displays and playing endless loops of Bing Crosby and Mariah Carey holiday songs, trying to prod consumers into thinking about the holidays. But, guess what? Consumers are already showing signs of holiday shopping panic.
The new 4Over’s survey of 1,004 U.S. consumers shows that 73% of the consumers interviewed anticipate price increases for the upcoming holiday season, and are more carefully watching their spending, too.
The fix? For a majority of the respondents – 59% – the way around worrying about growing inflation is to buy their holiday gifts as soon as they can, starting with the upcoming Labor Day holiday.
So, what’s a discount-hungry shopper to do?
"With inflation likely to affect Black Friday and holiday deals this year, shoppers should consider starting their holiday shopping now to not only score top savings, but to also avoid the hassle of popular gifts going out of stock and potential shipping delays,” BlackFriday.com shopping expert, Kristin McGrath, told ConsumerAffairs.
Where the deals are now
ConsumerAffairs wanted to find out just what price-saving options there were for shoppers who want to get their holiday gifts early. As we learned, there’s plenty to be had.
One thing retailers would like to do is get rid of all the inventory they’re sitting on. A lot of those items are things that were in demand during the pandemic when consumers could leverage their stimulus checks for items they’d been wanting.
However, those checks aren’t showing up in the mailbox anymore and many retailers overshot their expectations, ordering discretionary purchases like home goods. As such, big-box retailers and home goods retailers alike are offering enticing "clear-out" and "stockroom" sales.
“Labor Day weekend is a significant sales event coming up – as well as a great time for shoppers to snag amazing deals on mattresses, home goods, clothing and outdoor furniture,” McGrath said. “Labor Day sales are also usually the last major sales event before Black Friday, which makes it a great time to shop for discounted items before the holiday season.”
Where are those deals, you say? For homegoods, McGrath shared these:
Casper: Shoppers can score up to $600 off mattresses
Tempur-Pedic: Up to $700 off adjustable mattress sets + free gifts with select purchases
Mattress Firm: Up to $700 off select mattresses, plus king-for-a-queen pricing.
Lowe's (Labor Day sale already begun): Up to 40% off select outdoor power equipment; BOGO 50% off select paint; up to 50% off patio furniture.
Ashley Furniture: Up to 40% off select items.
Bed Bath & Beyond: Offering up to 80% off plus a coupon for 20% off the entire purchase.
Toys. “For shoppers who are looking to purchase popular toys this holiday season, we suggest purchasing them as soon as possible – as we expect many of the most popular toys to sell out as we get closer to the holidays,” McGrath said, then shared these examples: Star Wars toys, Special LEGO sets, Jurassic World toys, Video game consoles and games, and toys that adult collectors might want.
Clothing and fashion. Another shopping category that retailers bought too much of was clothing and fashion – items that make for great gifts. “Expect big Labor Day clearance sales and more discounts in early fall, as retailers try to move merchandise,” McGrath said.
Stocking stuffers. The kids are back at school, but McGrath says that retailers are sitting on piles of school supplies and art supplies – so many that Target, WalMart, Staples, and Home Depot are trying to sell off their excess inventory for under $1.
Can we expect the same for Black Friday?
McGrath said that if consumers think there’ll be more bargains during Black Friday, it’s probably not going to be a “more” thing, but a “different” thing.
“We expect that retailers will still likely offer discounts on popular sale items like electronics, toys and clothing – as deals on these products bring in the shoppers. [But] when it comes to luxury items, shoppers shouldn’t be surprised to see fewer sales than usual, as inflation has curbed many people’s appetites for these types of goods.