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While July is usually ripe for sales between Fourth of July and back to school shopping, the retail landscape looks different this year, according to Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor of The NPD Group. Amazon Prime Day, which is usually held in July, occurred in late June this year — the earliest date in the event’s history — and retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and more offered sales around the same time. Cohen said this may be part of the reason why retailers ran less Fourth of July sales in 2021, but that doesn't seem to be impacting the rate at which people are shopping.
“The front-loaded period around Prime Day could have precluded you from buying for the rest of the summer, or certainly could have impeded that,” Cohen said. “But that doesn't seem to be what’s been going on. We’re still seeing extremely strong retail growth, so I don’t see early summer sales as being a damper on the rest of summer spending.”
SKIP AHEAD What to buy in July and what can wait
Cohen said shoppers are continuing to purchase items to keep them healthy during the pandemic as well as entertained at home. But as people return to attending events and going back to work in the office, many are anticipating making purchases like new clothes, tech and travel gear, explained Jill Cress, vice president of consumer marketing at PayPal. The payments platform recently conducted an online survey of more than 2,000 Gen Z and Millennials in the U.S. for its Pay in 4 survey — the company’s Buy Now, Pay Later program — and found that 60 percent of respondents are excited and happy to return to in-person gatherings. Consumers are also making purchases with specific events in mind:
- 39 percent of respondents buy for birthdays
- 25 percent for travel
- 21 percent for going on dates
Another type of event Cress said shoppers anticipate are sales like Prime Day and Black Friday. “These events represent moments of consumer intent around shopping,” Cress said. “But at the same time, consumers are conscious about being responsible, paying attention to their finances and wanting value.” PayPal’s survey found that respondents are becoming increasingly financially aware: 27 percent of respondents are reading more news and seeing more social media posts about personal finance, while 24 percent are impacted by friends and peers changing their spending habits. Cress said this mindset is leading consumers to try Buy Now, Pay Later payment offerings: 57 percent of survey respondents feel it’s a smarter way to shop, and 39 percent find it appealing because it makes budgeting easier.
To help guide your shopping as the summer begins, we consulted retail experts about the best deals to shop in July. We also included tips about what to hold off on, and which sales offer the best deals for specific products.
Biggest sales happening in July
- Aerosoles: Extra 50 percent off sale items
- Aerie: Up to 30 percent off new arrivals
- ASOS: Extra 25 percent off select sale items
- Athleta: Up to 60 percent off as part of the Semi-Annual Sale
- Best Buy: Discounts on select smart TVs, laptops and other tech
- Everlane: Up to 60 percent off select items
- Nike: Member early access sale starts July 22
- Macy’s: Up to 60 percent off home items, up to 50 percent backpacks and up to 40 percent off shoes for back to school
- Madewell: Up to 60 percent off sale styles with code PSST
- Net-a-Porter: Up to 70 percent off select items
- Nordstrom: The Nordstrom Anniversary sale runs now through August 9
- Olay: 63 percent off clearance items
- Old Navy: Up to 75 percent off select styles
- Sur la Table: Discounts on cookware, dinnerware and cutlery
- William Sonoma: Up to 40 percent off select cutlery, up to 50 percent off select Staub cookware and more
Best deals to shop now
These women’s running shorts from Nike feature a built-in knit liner and hem vents for added breathability. The shorts have an elastic waistband with a drawcord to adjust their fit, and they’re constructed from sweat-wicking woven ripstop fabric. The shorts also feature a stash pocket on the back and come in five colors. They’re available in sizes ranging from XS to XL.
Designed to braise and slow cook food, this Staub pan is made from heavyweight enameled cast iron that evenly transfers and retains heat. Its black matte interior enamel also contains traces of quartz, which makes it more heat resistant and gives it a rough texture to brown food. The pan comes with a glass lid to retain heat and moisture while cooking or serving, and it’s dishwasher-safe. You can purchase the pan in six colors like Sage, Cherry and Sapphire.
Dyson is a new brand featured during Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale this year. Its V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum can be used on floors and carpets, and it offers three power modes: Auto, Boost and Eco. The brand claims the vacuum’s whole-machine filtration system captures 99.97 percent of microscopic dust particles as small as 0.3 microns. You can view the vacuum’s settings on its LCD screen, and one charge with the included wall-mounted charging dock provides up to about 60 minutes of power.
Featured in our guide to buying face masks, Everlane’s The 100% Human Face Mask is available in three styles: Black, Neutral Tie-Dye and Striped. Masks come in a pack of five and are made from double-layered woven fabric. They feature stretchy elastic ear loops, too. Masks are machine-washable.
Aerosoles Yoyo Sandal combines comfort and styles with its supportive soles and jewelry-quality plating hardware. The ankle-strap sandal has a square-toe silhouette and rubber composite soles with a diamond pattern that are designed to disperse friction away from the foot. The shoe also features a foam footbed and a padded insole to cushion feet and absorb impact while you walk. The Yoyo Sandal is designed with a leather upper and is available in seven colors.
The Ninja BL770 Mega Kitchen System combines a 72-ounce blender, an 8-cup food processor and two 16-ounce to-go cups into one device. The food processor comes with a regular set of blades as well as a dough blade for your baked goods. With a 1500-watt base, the blender is designed to pulverize ice for frozen drinks. For easy clean-up, all parts — aside from the base — are dishwasher-safe.
According to Madewell, the Rainfall Anorak Raincoat is one of the brand’s bestsellers and has been revamped to be “truly waterproof.” It includes sealed seams, snaps and a zipper that are meant to keep the rain out. Other features include a hood, elastic cuffs and double entry pockets. It sports an A-line design and a slightly oversized fit and comes in three colors: Pale Citron, Vintage Petal and Dried Barley. The raincoat is also machine-washable.
What to buy in July
Retailers and brands are offering deals throughout July, but Cohen said there are not as many “exciting deals that we’re used to seeing in years past. There’s deals to be had, but you can get that deal almost anytime.” With that said, Cohen said you’ll find better deals in some product categories than others right now. He recommended shopping for anything summer-centric as well as outdoor items as retailers are looking to make room for next season’s products. Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, specifically noted that swimwear, cover ups and accessories for the beach and pool will be continuously discounted throughout July. Some retailers are already offering between 50 and 60 percent off swimsuits.
Like Cress, Skirboll said RetailMeNot predicts an increase in spending on clothing and accessories, and some luxury department stores are offering sales on such items. Brands like Kate Spade are currently discounting handbags, and Skirboll said other brands will do the same. Smart home devices will also be on sale in July, despite many brands offering deals during Prime Day. Skirboll said Black Friday in July sales often offer savings on smart thermostats, doorbells, speakers and more.
As for back to school shopping, Cohen said retailers typically begin their promotions after July 4th. But since some schools have not solidified their in-person versus remote offerings yet, Cohen expects back to school promotions to be pushed back to mid-July. Skirboll said books are expected to be on sale in July, whether that be hardcover and paperback copies or audiobook services like Audible.
What should shoppers wait to purchase
Patio furniture is a summer-centric item Skirboll recommended waiting to purchase until later in the summer. She said July 4th sales offer some deals, but Labor Day offers deeper discounts, as do sales into October. Additionally, Skirboll suggested waiting to purchase a lawnmower until Cyber Week, although there will be some lawnmower sales during Labor Day. She said items to manage your yard in general are not going to be discounted during the summer since people spend so much time outside.
Cohen recommended staying away from buying fall clothing this month. He said you’ll see lower prices on next season’s footwear and attire later in the summer and into early fall, like outerwear, sweaters, and business clothing.