We already know the long weekend from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday is the most popular time for holiday shopping, but it might surprise you just how popular – a whopping 50% of consumers plan to spend part of their celebration shopping, according to the shopping and savings site RetailMeNot.
“Low price is the top priority for 83% of shoppers, followed by the lure of deals and promotions,” says Sara Skirboll, RetailMeNot’s shopping and trends expert.
Last year on Cyber Monday, PayPal processed $25,000 in payment volume and 450 payments per second and, based on their research, digital spending is expected to grow even more this year.
What can you do to score the best deals?
For starters, Skirboll suggests following all of your favorite retailers on social media and signing up for their newsletters. “They sometimes will post special sales and offers exclusively for their followers,” she says.
Another trick, she says, is this two-step approach: purchase a discounted gift card for the retailer you plan to shop with to score an instant average savings of 10% or more. Then, combine the gift card with a promo code or digital rebate at checkout.
You’ll also want to check out sites like CouponSherpa.com, which have a page dedicated to Cyber Monday coupons.
As far as what to shop for, according to RetailMeNot’s data, this year computer/electronics will be onaverage 48% off, clothing, 40% off, books, 33% off and homewares 31% off.
While you're shopping, remember that the early bird catches the worm.
“Early morning sales last for a limited time due to a lower stock of inventory,” says Skirboll. “Start your shopping in the early morning if you’re looking for the best deals on specific items.”
It’s worth noting, however, that some retailers will have flash sales at select hours throughout the day.
As for the most trending items, in the electronics category, Skirboll names virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive and fitness apps like the Fitbit or Apple Watch.
Tamara Gaffney, the principal analyst for Adobe Digital Insights, projects Pokémon, Barbie, Lego, Hot Wheels and 'Frozen' toys as desired gift items this year, as well as wireless speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo.
Another key tip to remember: plan ahead.
“Shopping without a list or strategy often results in a devastating blow to your budget,” says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. “That's because it's easy to lose track of your spending as you see listings for sales.”
In addition to shopping with a list, she suggests scoping out deals on Sunday to figure out what you want to buy, then loading your cart and saving your shipping and payment information at the retailer’s website for quick check-out.
“This ensures you don’t miss out on any deals that are limited inventory and allows you to shop faster during your lunch break while at work on Cyber Monday,” she says.
Traveling on Cyber Monday? Don’t worry; there will be more deals to come. Mark you calender on Dec. 16, Free Shipping Day, when over 2,000 online retailers will offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by the holidays plus additional savings like 20% off, says Woroch.