O.K., Memorial Day isn't exactly the biggest shopping weekend of the year, but it is the most active shopping weekend from January 1st to May 31st, and that counts for something.
"Memorial Day is the biggest shopping event of the year, thus far, and consumers can cash in on significant savings on big-ticket items for the home," says Brent Shelton, online shopping expert at FatWallet. For example, summer travel deals come at a big discount for Memorial Day shoppers.
"While only 11% name Memorial Day as the best time for summer travel, the holiday signals urgency for securing summer vacation bookings," says Shelton, who calls travel packages a definite buy this month. "With 81% regularly going on vacations and 25% multiple times a year, online travel sites like Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz and Hotels.com compete to feature their best offers on airfare and hotel deals, cruise deals and car rental coupons for Memorial Day shoppers."
Some retail professionals say summer clothes are another no-brainer purchase, with plenty of discounts available, while other retail experts advise holding off on the beach shorts or a sun dress. "[With Memorial Day as] the kick-off of summer clothing retail season, some 34% of Memorial Day shoppers buy clothes and another 21% buy shoes as dozens of site-wide discounts from top retailers -- including 20% to 50% off shorts, tanks, sandals and swimwear -- swarm the best deals of the weekend.," FatWallet notes.
Kendal Perez, savings expert at the discount website CouponSherpa.com, says she's already seeing big Memorial Day sales at the following major retailers:
- The Children's Place: 50% to 60% off everything plus free shipping with any purchase.
- Lord & Taylor: 20% off sale and clearance items.
- Chico's: Up to 60% off already-reduced prices.
- Ralph Lauren: Take an extra 30% off your order.
- Old Navy: 50% off tees, tanks, swim and shorts.
"While new arrivals may only see deals of up to 40%, items on sale and clearance will see extra savings of 20% to 60% and represent best buys over Memorial Day weekend," Perez adds. "Consumers should also shop Sports Authority's liquidation sale which starts this week. Currently, shoppers can receive half-off select products and 25% off any item, with sales getting stronger as the store gets closer to closing its doors."
Syama Meagher, CEO at Scaling Retail in the Los Angeles area, notes that though there are great clothing sales to take advantage of, the deals will get sweeter as the summer moves along.
"Clothing will not have seen the deepest markdown until July 4th, Independence Day," she says. "They should be on the look out for door busters- cheap items meant to get them in the door, as retailers will significantly mark these items up just to take the 75% off to entice customers."
Appliances are another area of big savings for U.S. shoppers this Memorial Day weekend. "Sears, Lowe's, Best Buy and Home Depot are all offering deals on refrigerators," Perez says. "Save up to 40% on Kenmore appliances including refrigerators from Sears, or save up to 35% on refrigerators from Best Buy. Both Lowe's and Home Depot are offering discounts ranging from 10% to 40% off appliances plus free delivery and haul away for orders of $400 or more."
Home improvement projects are big with Memorial Day shoppers, and this year shoppers are in luck, savings-wise.
"Long weekends are for home improvement, and many consumers paint their interiors and exteriors or resurface decks to prepare for the summer," Perez notes. "Consumers should purchase paint this weekend from top home improvement retailers for savings of up to $70. Home Depot is offering rebates of $10 off one-gallon buckets of paint or $40 off five-gallon buckets of paint purchased through Memorial Day, while Lowe's is offering up to $40 rebates on select stain, sealants and resurfacers through June 6."
As for items to wait on until after the Memorial Day weekend holiday is over, consumer electronics lead the list. "Wait to buy a laptop," says Benjamin Glaser, features editor at DealNews. "Apple is likely introducing new MacBooks at their Worldwide Developers Conference next month, which means prices will drop on the models that are available right now. Also, both Apple and PC laptops will be more affordable in July and August, as back-to-school sales intensify."
Truth be told, there's an abundance of great deals out there for consumers this Memorial Day weekend, especially if you're looking for a summer travel deal or looking for a new home appliance. But there are some "wait to buy" signs, too.
Choose carefully, and usher in summer with some of the best shopping deals you'll see all year.