By: Brad Wilson | National Lifestyle Content Desk
This time of year, shoppers are usually banking on back-to-school shopping deals and hot sales from online retailers. But with the pandemic, the typical retail calendar is a bit less predictable. So, what should consumers expect as we plan for the holiday shopping season? Here are my answers to common questions I get from shoppers this time of year:
Q: Black Friday will likely look different this year, what can consumers expect?
Brad: I’m anticipating that we will see three major differences:
1. Sales on the actual day of Black Friday will be spread out across a number of days early in the season.
2. Shopping in stores on Black Friday will look nothing like it has in past years.
3. And, online shopping will be more popular than ever.
For years now, we’ve been seeing a trend with retailers launching their online Black Friday sales earlier and earlier. First, it was a few days before Black Friday, then it was a week before Black Friday. Last year, a number of retailers “previewed” their entire Black Friday sale on November 1.
The coronavirus pandemic is likely to accelerate that trend even further, which means that the actual day of Black Friday may be much smaller than we’ve seen historically. We know that a number of stores, including Walmart and Target, will be closed on Thanksgiving. We don’t know yet what policies retailers are going to implement to keep consumers safe in stores, but we know that things will be very different. Because of this, we expect there will be more people shopping online during the holiday season than ever before.
Q: When is Amazon’s Prime Day this year?
Brad: Our team at Brad’s Deals has confirmed with Amazon that Prime Day this year will likely be held in October, and it will be their largest event of the holiday shopping season. This will definitely impact Black Friday, since other retailers are very likely to schedule their own events at the same time to compete for those holiday shopping dollars.
Q: What deals will likely run on Prime Day?
Brad: Based on previous Prime Day runs, we expect that there will be hundreds of thousands of items included in the event, with products from every conceivable category. We normally see the best prices of the year on Prime Day for Amazon-brand tech products, like Fire TV sticks, and Echo speakers, and that won’t change in this year. Because of the timing in October, I anticipate we will see a bigger focus on giftable items, which have not previously been featured heavily on Prime Day.
Q: Any predictions on what items will be popular this year?
Brad: Since more people are going to be sticking close to home for the holidays, I expect that sales on holiday decor are going to skyrocket. We saw earlier this year that the pandemic led to people spending more on gardening, so much so that there were big shipping delays. I think there may be a similar situation with holiday decor, and we may even see inventory issues. Also, the next generation of video game consoles will be coming out this holiday season, so the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are going to be huge sellers.
Q: What deals can we expect?
Brad: I expect we will see a lot of Black Friday favorites at play again this year, the difference being that this year, we will see many prices drop much earlier in the season. Be on the lookout for Instant Pots around $60, and Dyson vacuums under $200. You can also count on some great after-rebate offers for inexpensive kitchen appliances. I also expect to see big savings on apparel from brands like North Face, Under Armour, and Columbia.
Q: Any tips for online shoppers?
Brad: I’m recommending people plan to do their online holiday shopping earlier than ever. We may see another wave of pandemic-related shipping delays and inventory issues later in the year. Since we expect retailers to be dropping prices earlier than ever this year, at Brad’s Deals, we’ll be flagging deals that are “Black Friday Values” as early as October. These are deals that reflect predicted Black Friday pricing and are worth buying right away. As always, remember to remain vigilant when shopping online, particularly at unfamiliar websites. With the increase in online shopping, scammers will be out in full force.
Brad is a columnist for the National Content Desk and writes this sponsored column. Have a question for Brad? Email him at AskBrad@bradsdeals.com.