Christmas shopping week, not to mention Black Friday, has gripped retailers large and small.
As most savvy shoppers know, well before Black Friday, the day after Turkey and all those sites, there are tons of whopping holiday discounts on offer. Sales promotions for the hottest toys, clothes and electronics have been broadcast on TV, corporate websites, social media and newspapers since October.
Retailers learned long ago that it pays to lure shoppers early with Black Friday deals and encourage them to sign up for notifications on their smartphones.
Finder.com says 53% of Americans also shop for pre-Christmas deals in addition to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Adobe Insights forecasts online vacation spending for November and December this year to top $209 billion.
Here are five tips to keep in mind during this often hectic week of Christmas shopping, whether you’re shopping at the mall, online, or both.
return or not?
Before you unpack those comfy sneakers and head to the mall early, be sure to read retailers’ return policies.
Many will have holiday refund and return policies that include partial refunds on items that sell for even less later in the shopping season.
And buyers beware: some retailers are shortening the return window and even charging a return or restocking fee, according to Spencer Kieboom, founder and CEO of Pollen Returns, a returns management company.
Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and J. Crew — once known for their generous return policies that extended the lifetime of a garment — have reduced their regular return windows to a month, Kieboom said.
Other things to consider: Find out about the types of products you can return (some electronics and groceries have a return policy); any deadlines for returns (some retailers have extended them for the holidays); and whether you need to provide a receipt.
Popular items can sell out quickly
Many Doorbuster specials are offered in limited numbers, hence the well-known lines at Best Buy.
Hot gifts this year include several Apple products, including the latest iPad Air and AirPods Pro, as well as the Apple Watch Series 7. Other popular items include vTec’s Level Up Gaming Chair, the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker, and the popular ring Video doorbell.
Holiday-themed pajamas are another trendy item that usually sells out early as more people buy them before December for holiday photos and lounging from home.
Popular items in the Electronics category include the Meta Quest 6 virtual reality headset, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 laptop, the Steam Deck PC gaming console, and the Sonos Roam portable Bluetooth speaker.
Popular toys for children include the LEGO Holiday Main Street set, Fischer-Price’s Barbie Little DreamHouse, Lloyd’s Golden Ultra Dragon and the Lakeshore Don’t Let the Bugs Fall game.
Skip the in-store sale and shop online
Many Black Friday deals will be available in person, but as most consumers have learned, there are plenty of discounts online.
Data from Statistica shows that online shopping has increased sharply since 2018, when consumers were evenly split between online and in-store purchases. This year’s survey shows that 57% plan to shop online, compared to 43% in-store.
As in previous years, many large stores will be closed on Thanksgiving including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Staples, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Be prepared to see a rush of ads as you endlessly scroll through Facebook from the comfort of your couch.
Advertisers and social media companies have geared their websites to numerous consumers scouring their platforms day and night. Merchants often reward customers who like or follow them with special references to holiday shopping discounts and incentives.
But one word of caution: As companies roll out seasonal deals, scammers try to trap bargain hunters with fake websites and social media campaigns impersonating big brands, AARP reports.
To avoid being taken, do not click on a link from an email or SMS to a special offer. Instead, go directly to the website of the retailer offering the deal. If you don’t see the special offer, you’ve probably avoided a shopper’s nightmare: no trendy gift under the tree.
Create a budget and stick to it
With inflation at record highs, business matters and so does consumer credit.
A new study by Lending Tree shows that 35% of Americans are quite likely to apply for a credit card this holiday season, up from 29% in 2021.
Credit card debt is rising at its fastest pace in more than 20 years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Americans owe $887 billion on their credit cards, up 13% from a year ago.
Many credit cards double the manufacturer’s warranty, but be wary of interest-free promotions offered by store credit cards. They’re great when a cardholder is disciplined enough to withdraw the funds before the promotional period ends. Borrowers who fail to do so end up paying interest on the full purchase amount.
Bank of America offers some tips to keep your vacation spending in check:
— Use your phone to find a better deal elsewhere.
— Don’t wait until the last minute to buy everything in a hurry, which often leads to overspending.
— Consider buying last year’s electronics. For many people, the latest and greatest features don’t matter, and buyers are likely to save by giving away an older version of a device that was the latest and greatest just a few months ago.
— Watch out for high shipping costs. It’s not uncommon for an online item to appear cheaper than its in-store counterpart – until shipping costs are factored in. Many retailers offer shipping coupons or free shipping days to entice customers, so do your research before hitting the buy now button.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/11/21/5-things-to-know-about-black-friday-shopping-all-week/ 5 Things You Should Know About Black Friday Shopping – All Week – Orange County Register