Best '14 Apparel Deals Are After Christmas - Maybe Now, Too
The days leading up to Christmas are among the busiest shopping days of the year. However, not all December sales end with the holidays. If you can wait, post-Christmas sales are just as popular and many times provide deeper discounts than pre-Christmas sales.
This year we expect after-Christmas sales to start earlier than ever, and if you thought Black Friday sales were particularly good, after-Christmas sales are looking to break a few records of their own.
After-Christmas Sales Start Before Christmas Eve
Just as Black Friday deals have taken over Thanksgiving Day, so too have so-called after-Christmas sales creeped earlier, beginning before Christmas even. (It's the stores themselves still referring to these sales as "after-Christmas," not us.) It's a trend we've noticed for several years. In 2012, for instance, sales branded as "after-Christmas" started on Dec. 24, whereas last year after-Christmas sales started on Dec. 23.
Leading the charge last year was Amazon (AMZN), which debuted its post-Christmas sale on Dec. 23. We predict Amazon will kick things off again this year, especially since the Seattle retailer has a reputation for dominating holiday sales in general.
But unlike the hype that surrounds Black Friday, after-Christmas sales traditionally don't have any lead up. Excluding Micro Center, which last year released a massive Black Friday-like ad highlighting its best after-Christmas deals, most major retailers won't bother with ad leaks or hype. In other words, you're not going to see shoppers camping outside any stores.
Apparel Dominates After-Christmas Deals
Simply put, no item will see as many discounts as apparel. Last year, 45 percent of after-Christmas sales we posted were clothing related. We saw heavily-discounted items from Gap (GPS) (including Piperlime and Banana Republic), 6pm, Express (EXPR), Macy's (M), and New York & Co (NWY). These sales were not only the best discounts of the year, but many also included stackable coupons that further reduced pricing.
Banana Republic, for instance, took an extra 50 percent off apparel that was already discounted by up to 50 percent off. (That was the best percent-off discount we had seen from the retailer all year.) Likewise, Nike (NKE) took an extra 25 percent off clearance items that were already marked down by up to 60 percent and The Children's Place slashed an extra 30 percent off children's clothes that were already marked down by up to 71 percent. For big percent-off discounts and stackable coupons, few holidays sales, if any, come close to the kind of deals you'll see after Christmas.
If you prefer luxury retailers or designer-brand clothes, these too will be on sale post-Christmas. Tory Burch, Brooks Brothers, Cole Haan, Saks, Calvin Klein (PVH), and Betsey Johnson were just a few of the luxury brands we saw on sale last December. Unlike mainstream retailers like Gap and 6pm, designer brands traditionally don't offer stackable coupons. Instead these sales generally consisted of a respectable sitewide discount bundled with free shipping. For instance, Betsey Johnson offered 30 percent off sitewide, whereas Calvin Klein slashed 25 percent off sitewide. Meanwhile, Saks took 70 percent off select designer brands, and Brooks Brothers offered an extra 15 percent off items that were already discounted by 50 percent off, the latter being one of the few luxury retailers to offer a stackable discount.
November's Best Gadget Deals May Resurface
After apparel, consumer electronics see the most discounts post-Christmas, accounting for 12 percent of all after-Christmas sales. However, these sales are more modest and generally don't top any of November's best sales. Nevertheless, 2014 might be different. Last month's gadget sales were so unprecedented, that there's a chance we may see a second showing of November's best deals. For example, the first week of December saw many great HDTV and laptop prices, with a small handful of deals that were cheaper than Black Friday. So if there were any gadgets you missed buying in November, you'll want to keep a close eye on December sales. Otherwise, some of last year's best after-Christmas tech deals included 20 percent off select items at Staples (SPLS) and $25 off orders of $100 or more at TigerDirect.
It's also worth nothing that the Consumer Electronics Show occurs the second week in January. That's when tech manufacturers unveil their 2015 lineup, which in turn means retailers will be clearing their shelves of 2014 models in January and February to make way for 2015's newest gadgets. So there's a chance you'll see better gadget prices then.
New Year, New Look
Surprisingly, many beauty products also go on sale post-Christmas. Bath & Body Works takes 20 percent off items already discounted by 75 percent, whereas Sephora takes an extra 20 percent off clearance items marked 40 percent off. For both merchants, these sales were their best sales of 2013. Likewise, Crabtree & Evelyn saves its best sale of the year for after Christmas taking up to 50 percent off several of its items.
Lastly, you can expect to see a small number of sales on intimates. Maidenform, Victoria's Secret (LB), and Fresh Pair traditionally take between 25 percent to 70 percent off clearance items.
Just because the holiday rush has ended doesn't mean the sales have too. The post-Christmas season is proving to be just as good a time for deal hunting as November and early December. Just remember that clothing will deliver the biggest discounts, whereas tech will see more modest sales.