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Though November’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have come to a close, those getting their shopping done during December can still expect to find worthwhile sales. However, retail continues to be impacted by ongoing supply chain issues, meaning shoppers should buy holiday gifts as soon as possible if they want their orders to arrive on time. Kristin McGrath, RetailMeNot editor and senior analyst, has been advising Select readers to get a head start on holiday shopping for months, as we previously reported, and retailers like Target and Lowe’s have been offering major discounts since October to get ahead of stocking and shipment issues. Unfortunately for those who haven't finished shopping yet, both the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx noted that Dec. 15 was the cutoff for ground delivery packages to arrive by Dec. 25.
As we look towards the new year, Sucharita Kodali, a vice president and principal analyst at global market research company Forrester, said some retailers may see an influx of inventory come January. While some larger companies and big box stores were able to expedite shipping in time to stock their shelves for the holiday shopping season, smaller sellers, like Amazon’s third-party vendors and other small businesses, were not.
“Merchandise is still sitting and waiting to get to its final destination, and a lot of it’s late,” Kodali said. “I think if you’re just looking for deals, it may be better to wait to shop until late December or January, when products could begin to show up. That’s going to be your best bet for getting things on sale that you weren't able to during Black Friday and Cyber Monday — the sales, like the products, will be delayed.”
For those looking for discounts this month, we consulted retail experts about the best sales and deals worth considering right now. We also asked the pros what you may want to hold off on buying and what’s in store for the retail industry in 2022.
December 2021 sales
We filtered the sales below based on Select reader interest and our previous coverage. The sales include multiple deals, although not every product in a sale is going to be the best deal around.
- Backcountry is offering up to 75 percent off select sale styles.
- Belk will give up to 75 percent off fine jewelry through Dec. 19.
- SkinStore has up to 75 percent off select beauty brands using the code CYBER.
- Crate & Barrel is offering up to 60 percent off furniture and up to 30 percent off select decor.
- Old Navy is giving up to 60 percent off sitewide.
- Sur La Table will give you up to 55 percent off cookware.
- Brooklyn Bedding is offering 50 percent off sheets and 25 percent off mattresses through Dec. 21.
- AeroGarden is offering up to 50 percent off select products.
- ASOS will take up to 50 percent off select styles.
- Drybar is marking down prices up to 50 percent during the Winter Wishlist Sale.
- The Sill is offering up to 50 percent off plants, planters, holiday bundles and more.
- The Company Store: Up to 40 percent off Merry Markdowns through Dec. 19.
- Madewell is reducing prices up to 40 percent for holiday faves and up to 25 percent for select styles.
- Lovesac is offering 30 percent off Sac bundles, 20 percent off Sacs and 15 percent off Sactionals through Dec. 26.
- Foodsaver will give up to 30 percent off sitewide.
- Nest Bedding is offering 25 percent off the Sparrow Signature Mattress through Dec. 20 and 10 percent off mattresses, toppers, comforters, and more through Jan. 10.
- ZAGG has up to 25 percent off sitewide through Dec. 23.
- TravelPro will give up to 20 percent off new collections.
What to buy in December
While shoppers may not find the same breadth and depth of deals in December as they did during Black Friday, there will still be plenty of sales throughout the month. Kodali said the most popular holiday items are electronics like gaming systems, toys, clothing and small tabletop appliances.
“As long as they’re in supply, there will probably be some really good deals to choose from, but if not and inventory comes in during 2022, you might see better prices then,” Kodali said.
McGrath advised shoppers to keep an eye out for early December deals on gift sets and health and beauty items, which make for popular holiday gifts. Additionally, McGrath said “giftable items” like plush blankets and stocking stuffer-type items will get discounted, as will tech like smartwatches, phones, tablets, smart speakers, smart screens and other smaller-ticket gadgets.
“As December brings us closer to the holidays, retailers will want to offload giftable items so that they’re not left on their shelves come January,” McGrath said. “This is not the time to wait out deals on super hot items, but if you’re comfortable shopping in stores and flexible, you’ll find plenty of discounts near the last minute.”
She added that the products shoppers might lean toward in order to avoid shipping delays include experiential gifts, gift cards, digital subscription gifts and subscription boxes. She also noted that shoppers can find deep discounts on designer clothes after the holidays.
What to skip in December
While shoppers may be tempted to indulge in sales going on right now, some products are possibly worth skipping over — the coming months could promise better offers or lower prices overall. One reason for this is inflation caused in part by global supply chain issues, according to Kodali. Because retailers currently have to pay more to expedite shipping to their warehouses to prepare for holiday shopping, they're raising prices on their merchandise. But come January, Kodali said retailers won’t rush shipping, and, in turn, prices may come down.
McGrath also recommended shoppers wait to buy exercise equipment, bedding and furniture: “If you can wait to buy your treadmills, yoga mats and Shake Weights, you’ll likely find better deals during January, when retailers launch sales to draw shoppers with fitness-related New Year’s resolutions,” she said.
Additionally, McGrath said shoppers should expect to see deals in January during “white sales,” which include discounts on household linens for the bedroom and bathroom. She advised shoppers to hold off on buying furniture — mattresses included — in general around Black Friday, Cyber Week and December sales. Instead, they should keep an eye out for better deals around Presidents Day.