The Surprising Time That You Should Do Your Holiday Shopping

Photo: Dougal Waters/ Getty Images.
It sounds really early to talk holiday shopping strategy, but you may want to start shelling out earlier for gifts this year. According to Adobe's annual online holiday shopping predictions report, picking out those presents before Thanksgiving is your best shot at hitting that sweet spot of solid discounts and a wide selection. Specifically, beginning the (sometimes arduous) process of gift-procuring a full five days prior to Thanksgiving is the move if you're gunning for the widest selection possible.

But plan to shop it out on the Monday before Thanksgiving for the your best shot at good deals — before everything you're vying for gets backordered. Unsurprisingly, the biggest markdowns occur on Thanksgiving, but deeply slashed price tags are kind of irrelevant if you can't actually find the loot you're looking for: The chance that the specific goodies on your list will be out of stock increases 83% on that day, the report says.

If you're really hardcore about plotting your gift quest perfectly, Adobe's forecast predicts that jewelry is cheapest on Thanksgiving day, while electronics get marked down the most on Cyber Monday, and for those buying for any pint-sized people, toys get discounted the most on the Saturday pre-Thanksgiving. Alas, there's no guidance on when to buy clothes, since apparel discounts happen throughout the holiday season.

In total, an estimated $83 billion will get coughed up online this season for holiday presents, which Adobe calculates as 11% higher than last year's seasonal spending. Here's another interesting tidbit: the vast majority of online holiday purchases (76%) are procuring the same 1% of items. So we can pretty much all expect to unwrap the same gift cards and electronics come December. On average, those of us opting for e-comm to check everyone off those gift lists will spend a total of $305 apiece throughout the season.
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We're all about a good shopping hack, especially when it comes to that frenzied period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But the holiday shopping season just seems to creep up earlier and earlier each year — often pushed by retailers that, obviously, just want to sell more stuff. At this rate, snagging gifts while planning your Halloween costume doesn't seem too far off.
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