After Christmas Sales
After Christmas Sales Promise to Be Big This Year
Think the holiday shopping period has just about come to an end? Well, think again. The last leg of the holiday shopping season will begin the day after Christmas, and this year the after-Christmas sales are expected to be bigger and better than ever.
Photo by Charleston's TheDigitel
According to Karen E. Fluharty, a partner at STRATEGY+Style Marketing Group, the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is always a popular holiday shopping period. First, schools are closed and many people are on vacation until January 2, which means lots of free time. Second, many consumers are in possession of dollar-laden holiday gift cards that need to be spent. Third, retailers want customers who return items to pick up something else in exchange. And finally, retailers are eager to clear out inventory to make room for next season's products. Put it all together and you have one of the best shopping times of the year.
This year's sales after Christmas promise to be huge. One legacy of the recent recession is the cautious consumer and another is angst among retailers about lackluster holiday shopping profits. The 2011 calendar benefits consumers, in particular. "Christmas Day falls on a Sunday," Fluharty notes, "and the popular after-Christmas sale period equates to one full week this year. We expect to see significant price reductions during winter clearance and after-Christmas sales, where shoppers can get even more for the money they've received on the millions of gift cards that were found under the tree."
Modern technology will be an invaluable tool as budget-conscious shoppers hit the after-Christmas sales. "Advances in technology allow retailers to instantly analyze sales data and allow customers to profit from real-time markdowns," Fluharty says. In other words, if a store isn't meeting its sales goals, retailers are instantly aware and can immediately increase the mark downs in an effort to generate some profit.
Many retailers we interviewed offer this advice: Monitor the stores where you regularly shop. As one Target employee explains, a store might not know about specific sales until the day the discount appears, so it's important to be vigilant during post-holiday shopping days.
How can you make the most of this prime shopping time? Fluharty's top recommendation is to register for VIP programs with the stores you frequent. Sign up for email alerts, newsletters, and any other form of communication they offer. This will ensure you learn about sales after Christmas as soon as they're announced.
Here are some additional tips:
- Take advantage of the most discounted category -- that is, holiday items -- and stock up for next year.
- Check store hours -- many open earlier than normal for after-Christmas sales.
- Shop online after-Christmas sales, which start as early as Christmas Day.
And consider this: One budget-minded shopper we interviewed is thrilled with the money-saving opportunities of sales after Christmas. While she buys gifts for her immediate family before the holiday, her extended family celebrates the weekend after Christmas, which means she can put off shopping until the biggest discounts break out. This shopper saves hundreds of dollars every year. It's a strategy that could yield the same return for you.