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The best times to snag many of the biggest holiday shopping deals for 2021 will be during Cyber Week, the period that stretches from Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) through Cyber Monday (Nov. 29) and includes Black Friday (Nov. 26). Just don't expect the discounts to be as big as last year's, predicts Adobe, and don't be surprised if some must-have items on your list are impossible to buy at any price.
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Americans are expected to spend $207 billion online on holiday gifts from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, a 10 percent increase over 2020, according to Adobe, which bases its forecasts on an analysis of over 1 trillion visits to U.S. retailer websites. But discounts won't be as generous this year, running between 5 percent and 25 percent compared to the historical holiday average of between 10 percent and 30 percent. Combined with rising prices and shortages resulting from global supply-chain issues, shoppers should expect to pay about 9 percent more, on average, during Cyber Week this year versus last year.
Popular holidays gifts for 2021
- AirPods Max
- Smart mugs
- Instant Pots
- Air fryers
- Smart water bottles
- Record players
It’s going to be an unusual holiday shopping season, says Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights. Shoppers hunting for a specific item they can't live without may want to shop well before Cyber Week — and perhaps even consider paying full price for it — or risk finding later that the item is sold out or won't ship in time for the holidays. Already, the long arm of the pandemic is affecting holiday shoppers. Online out-of-stock messages have increased 172 percent going into the holiday season compared to pre-pandemic levels, Adobe says.
Nevertheless, “If you don’t really care what it is and you really want the bigger discount, wait until Cyber Week,” Pandya says.
When to buy
Despite the pandemic, retailers are going to be dropping some bargain bombs this season — just not as big as the ones they dropped last year, Adobe says. Computers should see average discounts of 25 percent this year, compared with 30 percent last year. Other electronics should see discounts of 22 percent, down from 27 percent in 2020. And appliances should average a 16 percent discount — pretty good, but below last year’s 20 percent markdowns.
Other categories, such as furniture (7 percent), tools (8 percent) and sporting goods (14 percent), won’t carry mouth-watering discounts but will still be marked down somewhat, according to Adobe data. But if you can find items you like, a 7 percent discount is better than none.