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Summer isn’t officially over, though some Americans already have the holidays in mind.
In fact, 27% of holiday shoppers expect to start buying gifts before the end of September, according to survey by CreditCards.com. This includes 13% who have started or planned to start in August. The vote was conducted by YouGov Plc. August 18-20 and surveyed 2,410 adults, of whom 1,810 qualified as holiday buyers.
“Some people are over-organized. Others may even be worried that things will sell out or take a long time to be shipped,” said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com.
“Some people are still in this way of hunting for business.”
Offers are typically around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but last year the Covid pandemic pushed more customers online. As a result, retailers began to cut prices in early November – or earlier.
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Now that the second pandemic holiday season is approaching, the delta variant has created uncertainty over which businesses will be open on Black Friday and at what capacity, said Kate Ellsworth, executive editor of commercial content at Revised.
There are also concerns about being able to get products due to supply chain problems. The last thing any parent wants is to miss that indispensable game.
Here’s how to figure out the right move for your portfolio – and your wish list.
If you start early, you can find some deals and you can compare prices without pressure. Just stick to your list.
“One of the risks of starting early is perhaps excessive,” Rossman said.
The big reason to get a jump on your gift purchase is concern for inventory, since Covid has disrupted the supply chain.
If there’s something you really want, you can take a bet by waiting for a discount, Ellsworth said. If you value the specific product to get a deal, the ideal time to act is September and October.
This is especially true for games – not only will there be supply chain problems, but there can be massive demand. Some Lego event calendars are already on sale, Ellsworth noted. Other hot items include Squishmallows and a plush Morris character from the Marvel movie “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Two Rings.”
“Keep an eye on which games you want to buy and buy ASAP,” Ellsworth said.
If you’re waiting until Black Friday’s offer for appliances, don’t count on getting them for the holidays. Your best bet for holiday availability is to look for sales now, he advised. Meanwhile, the furniture has had immense shipping delays, so it’s not even in place for a delivery at the end of the year.
Video game consoles will also be impossible to find this season, Ellsworth said. When the PlayStation 5 or XBox are released, they sell out in a few minutes.
“Don’t expect a sale. They’re not going to sell,” he advised. “They’ll fall. Buy them now.”
The best bet is to follow your Twitter accounts which keep track of the planned supplies.
The new Nintendo Switch will be released on October 8 and will go on sale soon, he said.
Another thing to keep in mind are shipping fees if you are shopping online. The U.S. Post Office already announced it’s temporarily a walking fee starting October 3rd. FedEx and UPS are required to follow suit, Ellsworth said.
Lean inventory of clothes
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When it comes to clothes, such as sweaters, boots and holiday dresses, you’re better off waiting until November, said Janine Stichter, Jeffries sales analyst.
That’s because now retailers aren’t fully replenished thanks to delivery delays.
“Everything is backwards,” he said.
However, make your move once the magazines are stocked, which Stichter expects in November. While retailers usually tend to resupply merchandise during the holiday season, this will be unlikely this year.
“If you don’t buy it and sell it, it won’t become more available,” Stichter said.
If sales are what you’re looking for, you’re better off waiting for the beginning of November, Ellsworth said.
“November will be open for hunters,” he said.
Enjoy buying a product online and then picking it up at the store. Online prices are usually better, and you save on shipping costs, he noted. Also keep an eye on business publishing sites for intelligence when sales happen. Subscribing to retailers ’newsletters can also give them an advantage, he said.
However, Stichter said she does not expect monthly sales for the clothing. Black Friday will probably be the sweet spot, with products unlikely to be sold yet and some level of discount, he said.
“This year the retailers haven’t had as much produce,” he said. “There’s not much incentive to get people to buy first.”
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.