Finding the best holiday shopping deals online can vary by the day

Parents and their children line up for Christmas photos with Santa Claus at Santa Monica Place mall in Santa Monica on Black Friday 2015.
Parents and their children line up for Christmas photos with Santa Claus at Santa Monica Place mall in Santa Monica on Black Friday 2015.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

We’re days away from Thanksgiving, which means that if you have not already started your holiday shopping, you’re probably starting to think about it.

Discounts on toys, clothes, TVs and other items might be deepest during Thanksgiving week, according to a report by Adobe, whose software is used by thousands of retail websites. The study, which analyzed two years of shopping data to predict how prices might change during the holiday season this year, can serve as a useful guide for people wondering when they should buy certain items.

But as any parent trying to track down a Hatchimal for their child will tell you, waiting to buy certain toys because you think you can find a better price can mean risking the chance that the toy will sell out. The same goes for the most affordable versions of popular electronics, such as e-readers or smart home gadgets, says Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.


For the more general purchases that may not sell out as easily, it can help to know when you will have a better chance of landing a good deal. The patterns for toys will be different from the patterns for clothing, so people may need to spread their shopping out over several days. Here’s a look at the best day to buy toys, clothes and other items, according to Adobe:

Toys: Cyber Monday

For more generic toys, the best day to buy may be Cyber Monday, or the Monday after Thanksgiving, when toys will be an average of 13 percent less expensive than they were in October, according to Adobe. But again, it may not be wise to put off buying some of the biggest sellers that parents are expected to snap up as soon as possible. That includes Hatchimals, some Pokémon toys and certain in-demand Lego sets, Gaffney says. Parents need to make a personal judgment call of deciding when to jump on certain purchases. People who see a good price on Thanksgiving or Black Friday may want to make the leap if it means that they’ll have that toy in time.

Electronics: Thanksgiving Day

Some of the biggest discounts on televisions, tablets and other electronics will be available on Thanksgiving Day, the report found. For example, tablets are projected to be discounted by 18 percent on average that day. Televisions will be 20 percent off, on average, compared with October prices. And computers will sell at an average discount of 13 percent, the study found. The most affordable versions of some gadgets may go fast, so people expecting to buy an e-reader or other accessories as gifts may want to buy those soon, Gaffney said. But with the shininess of 4K flat-screen TVs wearing off, those may not sell out as quickly as they did last year, she says.

Apparel: Tuesday before Thanksgiving

Discounts or clothing, shoes and other apparel may be most generous Nov. 22, or the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, according to the data. Some retailers are rolling out their sales before the holiday. But there’s no big rush to buy that day, Gaffney says, because discounts are expected to stay generous going into the holidays. Some generic items, such as socks, may be cheapest right after the holidays.

Jewelry: Thanksgiving Day

Chances are you’ll find the best deals on jewelry on Thanksgiving Day, when it will be selling for 10 percent off on average, Gaffney says. Although jewelry stores try to lure people into buying over Thanksgiving weekend, many people procrastinate and put off their jewelry purchases until much closer to the holidays. But that’s fine because jewelry is more about style and quality, not brand, Gaffney says. There is a good chance you’ll still find something you like, she said.

Jonnelle Marte writes for the Washington Post.