Timing is Everything, Especially When it Comes to Sales
When looking at the best time of the year to make purchases for anything there are several things to keep in mind.
In last week’s column, I wrote about January white sales and end-of-season clearance sales and I touched upon some of the various ways to take advantage of current sales. I also mentioned that I had begun to gather information on the best time to save money on purchases.
After researching multiple venues to find the best information, I narrowed it down to the following 4 ‘expert’ organizations: allthingsfrugal.com, Consumer reports.org, Kiplinger.com and walletpop.com. These four were chosen based on reputation, expertise, industry knowledge and logic (with a bit of my opinion thrown in).
From the information gathered, I put together a calendar table that covers a range of items from categories as specific as gym membership to as wide-ranging as small electronics.
While culling over the data, I determined that the information out there is based upon that age-old, economic law of supply and demand. There are basically two times in a retail product’s life when it can be purchased at a discount (with the exception of highly coveted electronics, and fad items). Those two times can be broken down into pre-season and post-season. I am using the word season to mean ‘timely-demand.’
Pre-season is the time leading up to the greatest consumer demand therefore, the discounts will normally be smaller. However, there will be more advertised sales and product availability as retailers chum waters in competition for our business.
Retailers (suppliers) know we are either going to need or want these items in the near future. A timely example of this would be a snow blower. In September and October snow blowers will be on 'sale' However, come post-season (March-May) they will be on 'SALE.' Off-season (as opposed to post season) is another time to think about such as July or August when hardly anyone is thinking about snow blowers.
There are just as many exceptions to these sale/SALE rules as there are retailers. Location, store space, inventory, wholesale price are just a few of the supply side reasons.
Then there is the consumer (demand) side, which I will identify as our needs and wants. The demand side has begun to become much clearer for us, the consumer, because we feel the pain of having less $ to use for purchases and we start to take a much closer look at what we really need as opposed to what we really want.
In years past as the economy flourished, the line between need and want became blurred. As we, have begun to bring that line into clearer focus, producers and retailers have become more creative in their marketing. We the consumer, need to keep aware of the marketing strategies out there and know how to use them to our advantage.