Want the Best Deals This Holiday Season? Here’s When Retail Experts Say You Should Shop

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  • Many consumers like to take advantage of shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • You'll often find better deals the week leading up to Christmas, or immediately after.

The deepest discounts may be yet to come.

There's a reason retail events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday tend to be popular with consumers. That's when you'll commonly find a host of discounts on everything from apparel to electronics to toys.

But now that both of these events are in the rearview mirror, you might assume the best holiday deals are far behind you. But that's not necessarily the case. In fact, if you hit the stores or shop online in the coming weeks, you may find that the bargains are even more attractive.

A really great time to shop

Many people like to do their holiday shopping earlier on in the season so they're not stressed about last-minute buys and shipping delays. But if you've yet to finish checking all of your holiday gifts off of your list, don't sweat it. In fact, waiting to buy gifts might work to your benefit.

The reason? Some of the best deals you'll find on holiday purchases will pop up the week before Christmas, explains Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry adviser for market research firm NPD. And if you want the absolute best deals, he insists that the time to go after them is right after Christmas.

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That logic makes sense. Many people rush to do their holiday shopping in time for Christmas, and once the big day is over, the need to purchase gifts tends to wane. And so it's easy to see why retailers might, at that point, start marking down leftover inventory.

It pays to wait

If you have holiday gifts you still need to buy ahead of this weekend, then the time to get moving is probably now -- especially if you'll be shopping online and having purchases delivered to your home, or to the door of your gift recipients. But if there are items on your personal wishlist you're hoping to check off, or if you have gift cards to spend, then you may want to wait until right after Christmas to do your personal shopping. You might manage to score a variety of items without racking up a huge credit card tab.

That said, if you're going to do some post-Christmas shopping, you may want to stick to online. Retail stores tend to be jam-packed in the days and weeks following Christmas as shoppers rush to return items that didn't work out while they're still eligible for a refund or store credit.

Shopping online right after Christmas could prove to be less chaotic than shopping in person. And if you're buying items for yourself, you won't have to stress about potential shipping delays.

Keep your receipts

Because retailers tend to offer deep discounts right after Christmas, it's important to hang on to receipts for items you know you want to return in late December or early January. If you don't have a receipt, you may only be offered the current price of the items you're looking to unload, not their original purchase price. And given the way retailers tend to slash prices after Christmas, you could lose out big time in that scenario.

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