As the unofficial start of the summer, Memorial Day is typically associated with a sunny afternoon barbecue. But for in-the-know shoppers, this holiday is also an excellent time to flex that credit card.
Historically, Memorial Day weekend offers the best sales since the start of the year, frequently with stacking coupons that slash prices on already-discounted goods. So what can you expect from Memorial Day sales this year, and when should you start looking?
Memorial Day sales now start in March, apparently
Traditionally, Memorial Day sales have started as early as the first week of May, but 2013 is proving to be a complete anomaly. This year, for instance, Amazon kicked off its Memorial Day sale in late March, taking 60 percent off shoes and accessories. Likewise, Orbitz slashed 50 percent off Memorial Day hotel stays back in April. An earlier start is a boon for consumers as there will be more deals to be had and more time to make purchases.
Clothing sales and deals on home goods lead the pack
Memorial Day is a great time to stock up on spring apparel because we typically see deep discounts that qualify for an additional price cut via a stacking coupon. Last year, for example, we saw promotions that slashed an additional 20 percent to 40 percent off sale items at stores like MLB.com, Original Penguin, Anne Klein, Perry Ellis, Macy’s, and Speedo, oftentimes with items already marked 30 percent to 70 percent off. Additional retailers that offered some of the best clothing sales last year included ShopEcko, Old Navy, Betsey Johnson, and Backcountry.
If you’re done with spring cleaning, then Memorial Day is also a great time to furnish your home, as the second-most discounted category this month is home goods. Expect to see Memorial Day deals from the likes of Brylane Home, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and eSaleRugs, and look for discounts that range from 15 percent to 50 percent off. Keep in mind, however, that last year we didn’t see as many stacking coupons for home goods as we did for apparel.
Give electronics a break
By now many of 2013′s new HDTVs have hit the market, and although some retailers may have already started slashing away at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, May is typically not a good time to purchase electronics.
It’s generally a month of transition. Newer HDTVs are just hitting the market (which means we’ll see better prices on those models later this summer. Plus, next-gen gaming consoles are scheduled to be announced in June at E3, and Apple is slated to make a few announcements of its own in June at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Any tech you buy today will likely either be outdated or deeply discounted within the coming weeks.
Laptop deals are still going strong, and we can expect to see Memorial Day sales from Fry’s Electronics, Dell Home, and MacMall (as we did last year). But unless you’re in dire need of a new system, we’d recommend holding off until later in the summer when you can take advantage of back-to-school laptop sales and save a few extra bucks, or snag a laptop bundle. Otherwise, you can expect to see computers receive anywhere from 15 percent to 85 percent off. Just be aware that the latest models may not always receive the discounts.
Skip the summer seasonal items
As much as we’d all love to fire up a new grill this month, Memorial Day isn’t the best time for summer-specific goods either. In fact, items like grills and patio furniture will see better discounts toward the end of the season, particularly in August. Summer outdoor gear will also see better discounts toward the beginning of fall.
But on the bright side, Memorial Day is usually a good time to join a gym, as most gyms spend this time trying to lure fitness buffs back indoors and away from outdoor activities.