As Holiday Shortages Run Amok, These Shopping Tactics Could Save You Money (and Potentially Christmas)
It’s the kind of scenario only Scrooge might get a kick out of: Consumers are in a fever to spend money this holiday season, yet they face a shortage of products because of the global supply-chain crisis, and many of the products they do find have high price tags because of inflation.
If there ever were a holiday shopping season to strategize, this is the one. A good time to start is Black Friday and then Cyber Monday, when there are plenty of deals to be had. But deals shouldn’t be your only focus — especially if you want to avoid getting elbowed out of the way by all the other shoppers eyeing the same gifts you are.
More than 60% of holiday shoppers said they’ve already seen items marked “out of stock” when searching for gifts, according to the 2021 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey, which was released before Thanksgiving. Three-quarters of shoppers are concerned about stockouts, the survey found — especially with electronics, accessories and toys.
About four in 10 (39%) respondents said they might spend more this year due to higher prices, up from 20% last year. But for lower-income groups, the opposite is true – they will likely spend less this year because of the high prices.
There are ways to increase your chances of finding affordable gifts even in the current environment. Here are some tactics that could help you save money:
1. Go All-In on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Even though many shoppers have been scouting Black Friday sales since the beginning of November, you can still find plenty of deals. What’s more, these might be your last opportunities to find hefty discounts, especially on popular gift items.
“If you don’t shop on arguably the two best shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it may be too late to get a really deep discount until Christmas clearance,” Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate and founder of Consumer World, told USA Today.
2. Check Out Refurbished Items
It’s hard enough finding the latest electronic gadgets during a normal holiday season, but this year it’s especially tough because of the global microchip shortage. If you can’t find a new laptop or smartphone as a gift, one option is to buy a refurbished one at a lower price. Major retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy sell items that have been refurbished by manufacturers like Apple. Many work as well as new models and include the same warranties.
3. Buy Used Gifts
Here’s a surefire way to save money this holiday season — and something a lot of Americans are expected to do. An estimated $160 billion will be spent on used merchandise this year, according to an October survey by online marketplace Mercari and retail consultancy GlobalData. That’s up nearly 15% from 2020. Good places to look are thrift stores, consignment shops and online retailers such as Poshmark and Tradesy, which sell used clothing and accessories.
4. Avoid the Supply Chain Altogether
If you can’t find gifts on your shopping list because they’re out of stock, consider giving something that doesn’t have to be shipped around the country or world. Options here include tickets to concerts, sporting events, theater productions and amusement parks, or gift cards to restaurants. These options can also help you save money because you can control how much you want to spend.
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