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Study: Shoppers Shouldn’t Settle for Less Than 50% Off on After-Christmas Sales

Dec. 23, 2012
Holiday Tips & News
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While stores will be pushing to clear out holiday merchandise Dec. 26, consumers should ignore any sales of less than 50% off.

In an analysis of 117 after-Christmas deals at major national retailers dating back to 2009, NerdWallet found that 68% of retailers offered at least one discount on at least one major item category that met or exceeded 50% off.

The full results, tables and methodology can be found below.

This study shows that the industry standard for after-Christmas sales meets or exceeds 50% off. Shoppers should look for these deep deals if they are bargain hunting on the days and weeks after Christmas. Stores that typically have had such sales include Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Banana Republic.

The most common major item categories deeply discounted were clothing, cosmetics, holiday décor, toys, shoes, clearance and bags. Merchants slash prices on clothing, toys and holiday decorations because demand falls steeply after Christmas and the value of these pieces will fall off even more in January.

To avoid the possibility of never selling these items, retailers are willing to cut prices sharply. Cosmetics are often discounted after Christmas because of holiday packaging, as any item with holiday styling will be worth less after the holiday has passed. A more detailed explanation of why these items are heavily discounted after Christmas can be found here.

Retailer 2012 After-Christmas Deals
Aeropostale 60% off entire site
Calvin Klein Up to 75% off all clearance
Carter’s 20% off $40+
Eddie Bauer Up to 60% off semi-annual sale
Forever 21 Up to 50% off sale items
Harry & David 20% off $75+
J. Crew Factory Up to 60% off sitewide
Nordstrom Up to 65% off women’s dresses 50% off celebrity fragrances
Perry Ellis 45% off entire order
RadioShack 20% off $125+
Tommy Hilfiger 30% off storewide
Total # of deals: 12
Total # of deals 50% off or greater: 7
Percentage of deals 50% off or greater: 58.33%
Retailer 2011 After-Christmas Deals
Abercrombie & Fitch 30-50% off all clothing Up to 70% off cellphones, watches, magazines, jewelry, shoes and more
Avon Up to 60% off sitewide sales
Barnes & Noble 50% off popular hardcover books, up to 50% off toys and games
Bath & Body Works Up to 75% off
Best Buy 15% off iTunes gift cards
Big Lots 30% off cosmetic, bath and fragrance gift sets, in-store only
Bloomingdale’s Up to 75% off holiday items
The Container Store 50% off holiday gift wrap, totes, tags and tins
Costco Almost all items 50-80% off
CVS 50% off Christmas candies and foods
Dollar General Up to 50% off everything in store
Eddie Bauer 50% entire store
Hobby Lobby 40% off one regularly priced item with coupon, 66% off Christmas items
Home Depot 10% off appliances and free delivery
IKEA 99 cents for 8-pack wooden clothes hangers; kids eat free
J. Crew 80% off fall merchandise
JCPenney Red Zone clearance with 70% off stocking stuffers and 75% off other holiday items
Justice Up to 75% off clearance items
Kohl’s 60% off outerwear, 40-60% off boots
Lord & Taylor 30-50% off women’s boots
Lowe’s 50% off Christmas items
Lush Buy one, get one free, all holiday products
Macy’s Up to 75% off holiday items
Michael’s Up to 70% off winter clearance items
Neiman Marcus 50% off holiday and epicure items
Old Navy Online items up to 50% off, in-store up to 75% off
Rite Aid 50% off gift wrap, greeting cards, Christmas tree decorations and more
Sears Up to 60% off bed and bath
Sephora Extra 20% off sale items
Target 50% off popular women’s and kid’s apparel, home and holiday décor
Toys R Us Buy one, get one 40% off all movies and video games; buy one get one free on select Hasbro purchases
Walgreens $5 off $30+ purchase and $10 off $50+ purchase
Walmart 50% off select Christmas candy, toys and seasonal décor. Kids and baby licensed sleepwear starting at $6.
Yankee Candle Up to 75% off select candles
Yves Rocher $10 off $50+ purchase + 50% off entire site
Total # of deals: 36
Total # of deals 50% off or greater: 28
Percentage of deals 50% off or greater: 77.78%
Retailer 2010 After-Christmas Deals
Altrec Up to 70% off, including 60% off Columbia 50% off games and toys
Ann Taylor LOFT Extra 50% off with code SALE50
Banana Republic Extra 40-50% off in-store
Bath & Body Works Up to 25% off
Best Buy Up to 40% off digital cameras
Bloomingdale’s 30-50% off after-Christmas sale
Cabela’s Up to 60% off winter clearance
Crate & Barrel Up to 50% off Christmas décor, glassware and tabletop
Dell 30% off best-selling laptops
Eddie Bauer Up to 60% off on everything Save an extra 25% off sale items
Gap Save an extra 50% off in-store sale items
Hickory Farms Up to 50% off entire site
IKEA Up to 60% off quality IKEA products
Jos. A. Bank Up to 60% off men’s apparel
Kmart 50% off storage and organizational products
Kohl’s 60-70% off after-Christmas blitz in-store items
Lands’ End Up to 40% off for the home
Linens N Things Save 20% entire order
Macy’s 20-60% off bed and bath
Mikasa Up to 85% off
Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams Up to 60% off select floor samples including sofas, sleepers and more
Nike Save an extra 25% on sale items
Nordstrom Up to 33% off on new arrivals during Men’s Half Yearly Sale
Polo Ralph Lauren Up to 50% off factory store price + extra 30% off winter clearance 30% off holiday clearance sale Save 80% off all gift certificates
Room & Board Up to 60% off discontinued furnishings and accessories
Sears 20% off Kenmore appliances
Sears Outlet 50-70% off appliances
Sephora Save an extra 20% on sale items
Timberland 20% off the 30% off sale
Toys R Us Buy one, get one 50% off on all video games
West Elm Up to 75% furniture, accessories and holiday décor
Williams-Sonoma Up to 50% on housewares and holiday goods
Total # of deals: 36
Total # of deals 50% off or greater: 23
Percentage of deals 50% off or greater: 63.89%
Retailer 2009 After-Christmas Deals
6pm Up to 60% off select shoes
7 For All Mankind Up to 50% off during winter sale
Anne Klein 30% off everything
Banana Republic Up to 40% off + extra 15% off reduced items
Barnes & Noble 50% off thousands of books and calendars
Best Buy Save 42-51% on LCD TVs
Bloomingdale’s 30-50% off select merchandise
Bluefly Up to 55% off jewelry, handbags up to 65% off
Coach Outlet Additional 20% off in-store
DKNY Up to 90% off original retail prices Up to 70% off handbags, luggage and overnight bags
Express 50% off winter items
Gap Extra 20% off sale items
Guess 20% full-priced order
J. Crew 20% off items already on sale
Kate Spade Up to 75% off select merchandise
Kmart 50% select clothing items
Kohl’s Up to 80% off men’s, women’s and children’s clothing
Macy’s 20-65% off almost all departments
Neiman Marcus Up to 60% off
Net-A-Porter Up to 50% off designer shoes, clothing and accessories
New York & Co. Up to 70% off on women’s apparel and accessories
Nordstrom Up to 40% off shoes, handbags and clothing
Office Depot Up to 25% on orders of $40+
Old Navy 10% off new arrivals
Piperlime 40% off select items
Sephora 20% off items already on sale Up to 70% off clothing and accessories
Target Up to 90% off selected clothing
Teavana 30-75% off select tea and merchandise
Toys R Us Buy one, get one 50% off select Nintendo DS games
Urban Outfitters 50% off select items
Walmart 80% off select jewelry, toys and Christmas decorations
Total # of deals: 33
Total # of deals 50% off or greater: 21
Percentage of deals 50% off or greater: 63.64%
Total After-Christmas Sales Numbers Total Statistics
Total # of deals: 117
Total # of deals 50% off or greater: 79
Percentage of deals 50% off or greater: 67.52%


NerdWallet sampled 117 major national retailer after-Christmas sales during the post-holiday periods 2009-2011. 2012 deals that were available at the time of the study were included in the results as well.

Important exclusions: NerdWallet did not sample sales where only item pricing could be found. NerdWallet did include sitewide deals when dollars off (ex. $10 off a purchase of $25+) when the dollars off coupon could be easily converted to a percentage.

Because of poor data availability, the 68% number may be an underestimation. Barring serious data errors, however, it cannot be an overestimation, and therefore the conclusion of the study – that shoppers should not settle for less than 50% on select merchandise categories when buying the day after Christmas – still likely holds true.

The study also oversamples apparel, cosmetic and big-box stores because these are the retailers most prone to offering after-Christmas sales.

Sample sources:

Original image via Shutterstock