The Boxing Day sales are a great opportunity to secure a bargain, as retailers slash their prices and look to clear out stock that hasn’t sold over Christmas.
But deals aren’t always as good as they seem, so having an idea of your wish-list in advance can give you time to research how prices have changed over time.
Price and product comparison service PriceSpy says its own data indicates that, last year, over a quarter (26%) of products analysed were cheaper on Boxing Day than at the start of December.
Some decent savings on Boxing Day last year could be found on products including sweaters and cardigans, drones, and dolls’ houses, according to the website’s analysis.
Brands which were offering notable savings on Boxing Day 2022 included Olympus, SodaStream and Bang & Olufsen, PriceSpy added.
Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, UK country manager at PriceSpy, advises shoppers to get their shopping lists prepared.
“It’s all too easy to get carried away during the first shopping trip post-Christmas,” she says.
“To help avoid impulse purchases, make sure you prepare a list of only the items that you really want or need and avoid straying from it.”
It’s also wise to check out the small print.
Matinvesi-Bassett cautions: “Retailers have a habit of advertising big, eye-catching discounts but, if you look at the finer details, the discount may not be as good as it first appears.
“Use a price history tool to see what price an item has been on sale for in the previous weeks to get a true idea of the discount.”
Retailers’ promotions may also be designed to prompt you to act fast – but don’t be rushed into making a purchase you’ll later regret.
“Boxing Day is by no means the last chance to grab a bargain before the festive season is out,” says Matinvesi-Bassett.
“Depending on what you’re looking to buy, you might actually get a better price in the January sales. Therefore, don’t feel pressured to buy something that you feel is still on the expensive side – biding your time might help you get a better price in the days or weeks ahead.”
Adam Bullock, UK director at TopCashback, suggests making use of coupons and codes.
“Often, you’ll find there are opportunities to make extra savings by using coupon codes or cashback,” he says.
For online bargain-hunters, Bullock also highlights the benefits of internet browser extensions that can automatically find discounts for the websites you’re using during checkout.
Another way to make a bargain even cheaper is to check whether there are any refurbished options available.
Amazon Warehouse, for example, may have opened-box versions of the items you are searching for at a cheaper price.
Products are graded, from being in acceptable condition to like new, so you’ve got an idea of whether there may be some clear signs of use, or whether there may just be some damage to the packaging.
You may also be able to shave costs down further on refurbished items by getting cashback on top.
For example, shoppers who have signed up to receive cashback via TopCashback or Quidco could potentially receive cashback on refurbished tech from Dell.
Refurbished versions of big brand items, such as Dyson and Shark, are also sold through eBay, which has a refurbished section on its website so that people can shop by brand.
eBay also has an authenticity guarantee programme for certain luxury items such as designer handbags and trainers, to help buyers find the real deal.
Buying items out of season can also be a way of generating huge savings, so don’t forget to check out clearance sections on websites and in shops.
Perhaps there may be a few items leftover from last summer, which have been seriously slashed in price. And while a summer bikini may not be useful for many people at this time of year in chilly British temperatures, it could be useful if you’re planning a holiday early on in 2024.
If you’re willing to take the risk of an item potentially selling out, it may also pay to hold your nerve. You could try adding an item to your basket and leaving it there to see if it is discounted further, or whether the retailer sends you a discount code to sweeten the deal.
Haggling the price down could also pay off in some circumstances, particularly if a retailer has lots of stock that has been returned after Christmas that they need to shift.
You could try highlighting any defects with the item or prices that you have seen elsewhere to justify a request for a further discount. Just remember to always be polite and respectful to staff members if you’re going to give bartering a go.