Every year, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations are showing up alongside Halloween décor earlier than the year before.
This year is no exception.
But it’s not too late to get your holiday décor at a good price, said Dan Rice, an associate professor of marketing at Louisiana State University.
While those 50% off sales look good, there are ways to tell whether they really are a good deal.
“In my mind, it’s never too early to get a good price on holiday décor, but a few things are necessary to know if it’s a ‘good price,’” said Rice, who specializes in consumer behavior.
To discern a true deal, you need to know your “inner reservation price,” said Rice.
“If you figure this new piece of décor is worth $5 to you, and it’s discounted 90% to $10 bucks at some level you’d still be getting a bad price based on what it’s worth to you,” he said.
Be careful not to get lured into a good deal on an item, only to have to spend more money on the accessories, Rice said.
“Sometimes stores will draw you in with ‘loss leader’ pricing in the hopes you’ll buy more items at better margins,” he said. “So perhaps you buy a holiday candle holder. Where (and at what price) do you buy the candles?”
Being an educated consumer helps you know what you’re getting for a deal or value, he said.
Will supply chain issues affect holiday décor availability?
Retailers experienced a number of supply chain disruptions during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customers policy for the National Retail Federation, the trade association for the retail industry.
“Many of the strategies adopted to address disruptions during that time continue today, said Gold. “Retailers are continuing to bring products in earlier during their peak shipping season to ensure products are ready in-store and online for the holiday shopping season.”
Retailers have invested in enhanced technology to allow customers to see what products are in stock, or if items are available at alternate locations or how long to expect items for delivery.
Shopping early is the best way to find the products consumers want and need on time, Gold said.
According to the latest reports from S&P Global Market Intelligence, the shipments of Christmas decorations (lights in particular) seem to be in decent shape compared to years past, Rice said. For Christmas decorations, September and October are typically the most active import months.
“We’re even seeing a very small but noticeable shift from China to Cambodia as a source for these products,” he said.
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Could I be left without holiday decorations if I don’t buy now?
That’s always a risk, but Rice doesn’t think it’s a huge one “unless you have your heart set on a particular model and brand that is popular and tends to sell out.
“Otherwise, you’re likely better off to wait until the after Christmas sales, with some Christmas trees being discounted from old stock,” at better prices well into Spring.
Some artificial tree companies have even started having big sales in the summer for their own supply chain benefits, he said.
“The key again is to know what kind of value you’re really getting and weigh that with how long you want to store a tree before using it.”
Betty Lin-Fisher is a consumer reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] or follow her on X, Facebook or Instagram @blinfisher