After-Christmas Sales: Expect Especially Good Deals This Year

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This post comes from Louis Ramirez at partner site DealNews.

December is a month filled with hundreds of sales, but what most shoppers don’t know is that the best sales of the month don’t begin until after Christmas. Dec. 26 is when retailers begin to frantically discount the items they couldn’t sell earlier in the month.

For consumers, after-Christmas sales mean deep discounts on the stuff you want to buy. We combed through some of 2012’s best post-Christmas promotions to uncover which of this year’s after-Christmas sales will be worth your time, and what kind of discounts you can expect.

In fact, last year we posted 7 percent more Editors’ Choice after-Christmas sales than we did in 2011; we’re hoping that number will only increase for 2013.

After-Christmas sales will start before Christmas

Before you even think about the sales, it’s important to know that, like Black Friday (which has essentially taken over Thanksgiving), we expect to see after-Christmas sales starting earlier than usual. And while it might seem crazy, given their name, after-Christmas sales actually start before Christmas itself.

In fact, last year we saw sales labeled as “after Christmas” that went live as early as Dec. 24. This year we expect sales to start within the same time frame.

It’s also worth noting that this year Dec. 26 falls on a Thursday, when many people might be at work. As such, retailers will have to work harder to get consumers’ attention, so this year we expect to see catchy sales headlines and discount offers come straight to our inboxes.

While tactics will generate awareness, they may not offer the best deals. So naturally we recommend keeping a focus on the items you actually want or need.

After-Christmas sales may be especially good this year

In 2011, 12 percent of the deals posted on Dec. 26 were of Editors’ Choice caliber, meaning they were the best discounts and sales we’d seen all year. Last year, the number of Editors’ Choice deals jumped to 19 percent. If this trend continues, we might see even more Editors’ Choice after-Christmas sales this year.

Considering the volume of consumer reports detailing how retailers did not sell as much as they would have liked during Black Friday, and how holiday spending overall is expected to be down, we anticipate stores will promote after-Christmas sales with especially enticing price cuts.

That said, after-Christmas sales typically don’t hold a candle to Black Friday offers. For comparison, the number of Editors’ Choice deals posted on Black Friday of this year was 50 percent. (In previous years it had remained steady at 38 percent.) We don’t think the number of top-shelf offers will reach that volume after Christmas, but there are still certain items that will see better discounts post-Christmas, including brand-name HDTVs and Christmas decor.

The best things to buy right after Christmas

For apparel — which is the most discounted item after Christmas — the best sales will come from Banana Republic, Club Monaco, Gap and French Connection, all of which had “best of the year,” Editors’ Choice-level sales on the day after Christmas in 2012. For Gap and French Connection, it was the second consecutive year that their after-Christmas sales turned DealNews editors’ heads with extra discounts ranging from 30 percent to 50 percent off on top of sales that already slashed up to 75 percent off.

Honorable mentions also go to Saks Fifth Avenue and 6pm, both of which offered their biggest percent-off sales along with no-minimum free shipping. And in-store shoppers will want to carry a stack of printable coupons for additional savings. Staples, Express and Banana Republic are just a few of the stores with printable coupons that combined with ongoing sales.

For holiday treats and decorations, we recommend shopping at Godiva, which traditionally discounts its chocolates by up to 40 percent off. Also, be sure to check stores like Neiman Marcus, which last year took up to 51 percent off its selection of Godiva chocolates.

For holiday decorations, both Home Depot and Lowe’s offered particularly aggressive deals on all things Christmas last year. By exercising some savvy forethought and buying a new tree or string of lights this year, you’ll save up to 75 percent off.

Gadget fans should take note, too. If you didn’t find the perfect tech deal over the holidays, not all hope is lost. Specific categories, like brand-name HDTVs and a number of consumer electronics, traditionally see more aggressive discounts post-Christmas than they do in the weeks leading up to the holidays thanks to specific product cycles. After Christmas we approach the point when 2014 models will be released and that means retailers would prefer to clear out as much of the current year’s stock as possible. If you don’t mind a previous-generation device, now’s your opportunity to save up to 80 percent.

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