Attention Black Friday shoppers, you’re probably wasting your time. It turns out the best time to deal hunt almost never involves standing in the November cold all night. After crunching years of pricing data for a number of typical holiday gifts, Consumer price research firm Decide Inc. has turned up the best times to go deal hunting – and it isn’t Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It turns out that gifts from Barbie dolls to watches to blenders are often priced below Black Friday levels at various times throughout the year, even during the holiday season, and their prices follow different trajectories as the remaining shopping days tick down. The study found prices for some gifts are lowest early in the holiday season (like right now), before retailers start to gradually increase prices. So when is the best time to buy? A lot depends on what you are buying.
Jewelry And Watches
A Citizen men’s watch listed at $600 was tracked from 2008 through 2011. Early March was the best time to buy, at $350, compared to $379 on Black Friday.
September or October is clearly the best time to buy a pair of Ugg boots, which get more expensive as the shopping season drags on. The average price for a pair of women’s “Classic Cardy” Uggs during October and September was $85, down from the $159.95 list price. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the average price shot back up to $135 and $137.
The best holiday-season time to buy a flat-screen TV is in October, when a Samsung 46-inch LCD TV sells for $1,159, compared to $1,355 for the same model on Black Friday.
The price of a Sesame Street Elmo toy jumped 31% to $17.78 on Black Friday from its average price in September and October, and prices can get even more inflated as supplies dwindle and demand increases ahead of the holidays.
What To Wait For
The mid-December price of a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer was reduced nearly 20% from November.
- Kmart and Sears stores still reserve their lowest prices on some items for Black Friday – the so-called “door busters.”
- Apple stores also offered a rare discount on the iPad last Black Friday – a $41 to $61 discount – depending on the model.
- Videogame systems like Xbox also showed their biggest price drops during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, resulting in more than $100 in savings.