We’ve all felt the impact of inflation this year no matter where in the United States you live—higher gas prices, soaring rent, and spiking utility bills. But how will inflation impact the most sanctified shopping day of the year: Black Friday? Here’s how we expect holiday sales to play out this year—and what strategy is most likely to score you the best deals.
Will inflation slow holiday shopping?
It’s true that inflation has risen the price for many things like groceries, pet supplies, home improvement projects, and medical supplies—but it hasn’t all gone up. Electronics, toys, books, and jewelry have actually seen significant drops in prices compared to last year, according to a report from Retail Dive.
And despite inflation impacting some prices, retail spending for August increased nearly 10% just that month, indicating that buyers are ready to spend. Experts predict that despite worse deals and higher inflation overall, shoppers will not hesitate to pick up deals this holiday season.
Supply is up this year
What we can expect this Black Friday is an excess of supply from retailers, according to Mathew Isaac, professor of marketing at Albers School of Business at Seattle University. “There is a glut of inventory that’s different from last year,” he says. “Many retailers will look to aggressively offload that.”
This excess is partly due to consumer behavior earlier this year that may have been in response to inflation in prices and the fear of a potential recession. Some people may have held off from shopping, leading to many retailers having too much inventory this shopping season.
In response, many retailers started their deals early this year to try and offload some of that excess supply, but those deals are just a marketing strategy, according to Isaac. He says that as it gets closer to Thanksgiving, retailers going to restock and reevaluate their inventory, and if there is still a lot left, they will be more aggressive with their Black Friday deals.
The best holiday shopping strategy for 2022
Last year, the expert advice was to get the early deals. This year, the waiting game is the strategy. “Wait and see how things are going to look closer to Black Friday,” Isaac said. “For larger ticket items, you might get better deals if you wait longer.”
Items that people wanted to buy or upgrade when the pandemic first hit, in particular, should have good sales in November. Televisions, for example, were major targets during the pandemic, and manufacturers knew that. To have enough supply, they ramped up their warehouses. But because of inflation, many retailers were not able to sell as many of their supplies as they had expected. These occurrences are lining up to be the perfect storm for Black Friday deals for TVs.
One caveat from Isaac is to expect to pay for more shipping during Black Friday than you would now for earlier deals. The surge in sales during the peak of shopping season will put shipping in high demand.
With this in mind, if you are planning on shopping for Black Friday, do it smartly. Make sure you’re actually getting a good price by using price trackers like camelcamelcamel, Honey, or Capital One Shopping. These trackers also show you different retailers selling the same items so you can compare prices easily, and you can set price alerts so you don’t have to constantly check for price drops.