When is the best time to shop the sales?

18 May 2018

We all love a bargain, but waiting for a sale to start can be frustrating, and even more so when you miss the boat on items you had on your watch list.

The promotional sales calendar for retailers usually starts with the January sales, followed by mid-season sales in March, the summer sales and finishing with Black Friday weekend in November.

However, it’s a myth that retailers only discount at certain periods of the year.

On any given day of the year, retailers discount at least 30%-35% of their stock, according to our sales index. This can rise to as much as 50% in sale periods such as Black Friday or Boxing Day.

Is now a good time to shop the sales?

The short answer is, yes. We are currently in a busy discounting period, and there haven’t been as many products on sale since Christmas.

Each year, over the last four years, we have seen a higher volume of products discounted in May than the year before.

The average discount of products currently is 33% - that's 1% higher than the average discount of products during Black Friday 2017, which was 32%.

Traditionally, people are looking for summer clothing at this time of year. As a result, retailers have largely reduced items such as t-shirts, shorts, and dresses.

Since the beginning of May, the volume of offers on summer essentials that are discounted has increased by 29%.

Holiday holdalls, bags, and suitcases have also seen a rise in reductions, as 36% more luggage items have been added to the sales since April alone.

How can I bag a bargain?

It can be difficult to find the deals that are important to you, especially when retailers quieten their promotion of sale events. My top tips for shopping for a bargain are as follows:

  1. Use sales aggregators. These websites gather all the deals into one place, making it easier to compare and find the best price for what you want. Our website for example, Lovethesales.com, searches over 850 retailers to bring users over two million sales products. We also have a price-alert feature where you’ll be emailed when a full-priced item goes on sale.
  2. Be social. Having as many eyes and ears to the ground as possible is a great way to snap up the best deals. Start a WhatsApp group between shopping savvy friends, join shopping forums and deal focused Facebook groups such as The Sun Savers, and you’ll always be in the know.
  3. Look out for payday voucher codes. Retailers will often offer extra discounts through voucher codes at the end of each month when people typically get paid. Waiting till the last day of the month will usually get you an extra 10% to 20% off the items you want.
  4. Uncover ‘partner’ deals. Businesses, such as your bank or mobile network, will often partner with brands and retailers to provide special discounts to their customers. Priority apps such as O2 Priority and Three’s Wuntu give their customers regular savings on clothes, restaurants and event tickets. Many bank accounts also now offer similar savings and opportunities, as do supermarket loyalty schemes, utility providers, and many more companies. Be sure to check all the services and bills you have to see if they offer third party discounts you can take advantage of.

Stuart McClure is the co-founder of LovetheSales.com – a website that aggregates sale items to help consumers to find the best deals on products they want.