The Best Time of Year to
For many people, the most wonderful – and popular – time of the year to shop is the holidays. But is the Christmas season really the best time to hit up your local outlet mall and brave the crowds for a good deal?
of shopper plan to buy Christmas
gifts that cost roughly $100.
Consider the fact that up to 28%
of shoppers start their
Christmas shopping well before
Halloween. By the time
Thanksgiving rolls around,
62% of shoppers have
When you do the math and take into account that most shoppers will buy gifts for 3 to 10 people during the holidays, it could add up to close to $1000 per person! The real question is: Can you afford it? The even better question is: Do you want to?
This is precisely why so many people are driving straight past the traditional shopping mall and
heading to a factory outlet center down the road. Shoppers hunting for bargains in any season will
consider an outlet mall first to save anywhere from 50% to 70% on the total retail price of a product.
And the selection at your average outlet mall isn’t too shabby. An outlet mall in any given
state is likely to have more than 100 stores with leading retail and designer brand selections
that may include Kate Spade, Coach, Banana Republic, Gap, Nike, and much more.
of shoppers prefer to shop alone during the holidays.
Clearly, heading to the outlets during the holidays could save you half or more of your expected Christmas shopping budget. But is the Christmas season really the best time of the year to shop at an outlet mall?
Read on to find out…
When assessing the best season for outlet shopping, it all hinges on savings. Most expert shoppers recommend hitting up the outlets at the start of a new year, in January, when already discounted stores have counted their inventory and marked down winter clothes.
Any time a season changes,
you’re likely to find rock-bottom deals at a factory outlet.
Of course, this means that you have to be flexible in your shopping habits to purchase winter
wear in early spring and spring fashions in the summer season. But if you know what you’re
looking for and plan to stock up for the next year, you could take advantage of even deeper
discounts off of already marked down products.
Beyond season, there is a recommended time of day to shop at a factory outlet. Retailers
advise shopping early in the morning on a weekday to beat the crowds and have a better
chance of finding a one-of-a-kind deal.
Nonetheless, when it comes to outlet shopping, the same rule holds true. If you want the best deals on already discounted products, you have to be willing to purchase merchandise in the off-season. Retailers will mark down reduced garments and products as the seasons change to clear their shelves and make room for new inventory. It’s as simple as that.
Instead of visiting a local outlet mall on a whim, it can literally pay to prepare in advance and create a plan
of attack like a well-seasoned shopper. Here is a month-by-month look at the best retail sales to plan your
next outlet trip around:
Known for white sales with great deals on pillows, pillow cases, bedding, and sheets.
Most likely to find seasonally discounted perfume, jewelry, and lingerie around Valentine’s Day; don’t miss annual Presidents’ Day sales in mid-February.
Look for winter clothing markdowns as spring clothes arrive with discounts on sweaters, gloves, hats, coats,
Check out discounted electronics and gift sets
for pre-graduation sales.
Plan your month around annual Memorial Day sales that start on Friday and last through the entire weekend; think discounted laptops, flat screen TVs, and electronics.
Discounts on hardware
and tools for Father’s
Day, as well as
cookware for early
Best time to make a major purchase with deep discounts on living and dining room furniture, sofas, and couches; annual Fourth of July sales will advertise reduced summer
Back to school sales advertise bargains on school supplies, laptops, and kids’ clothing; discounted patio furniture and camping gear may be available as the summer ends.
Even greater savings on large appliances like washing machines and refrigerators as stores
clear out their old summer inventory.
Annual Columbus Day
sales offer better
dealson recliners, mattresses,and
Early holiday shopping discounts available with Veteran’s Day sales and major Black Friday sales the day after
Christmas sales run rampant through
December 25 with markdowns at the last minute.
Buy toys and games before Thanksgiving or early December at the latest.
December 2 was the best
day for cosmetic discounts
Buy electronics in late November or mid-December for the best deals.
Buy apparel at the last minute, from December 17-25th.
December 20 was the best day for jewelry discounts in 2012.
Save music, movie, and book purchases until after December 25 for a bigger discount.
There’s no question that you’re going to find an exceptional deal if you shop at an outlet mall
strategically, on a weekday and in the off-season. But to shave even more off the total price of
an item, you can put these tips into practice the next time you shop:
Read price tags carefully
An irregular garment may have a sliced or marked tag,
meaning that there could be a cosmetic issue or
malfunction. In this case, proceed with caution;
inspect a garment carefully before buying and
find out about the store’s return policy.
Shop at an exclusive outlet store
If a name brand retail store has factory outlets in every
outlet mall in the country, like Gap or Banana Republic,
you better believe that their marked down
merchandise is more likely to be damaged,
discontinued, or defective in some way.
Shopping at a retailer with fewer outlet
locations gives you better odds of finding
a diamond in the rough.
Find out what an item is worth
Before making a major purchase, do your research
online to find out exactly what a certain product brand
costs. This is the only true way to know just how much
of a discount you should expect when
bargain-hunting for the best deal.
Sign up for sales alerts
On top of the many seasonal sales listed above, most
outlet stores will provide frequent shoppers with the
opportunity to sign up for special VIP membership or
exclusive sales alerts via email. By shopping on sale
days only, you’ll have hundreds of deeply discounted
items at your fingertips to choose from.
As one final word of caution, if you’re brave enough to shop outlet stores on a major shopping day like Black Friday, watch out! Every seasoned shopper has their own share of horror stories, like being trampled in line to buy the hottest toy at Christmas or waiting in line for hours in the freezing cold for a favorite store to open at 3 AM.
The good news is that shopping at an outlet can save you both time and money. If you have what it takes to shop at a factory outlet on Black Friday, you’ll have even more cash to spend on Christmas gifts for the kids.