This Is the Worst Day of the Year to Go Christmas Shopping

For last-minute shoppers who missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are still in-store deals out there. Just try to avoid the worst days for Christmas shopping.

As 2019 winds down to a close, the shopping season is still going strong. Have you already finished your Christmas shopping? Or are you waiting until the last minute to try and get the best deals? For last-minute shoppers who missed out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, all hope is not lost. Some deals offered in-store can be just as good as those you missed online. To stay on budget, you’ll want to make sure you know these nearly invisible ways stores trick you into spending more. In addition, you may want to avoid certain holiday shopping days all together.

“Just like eating in a restaurant, the worst days are the slowest ones, and the slowest in-store day of the holiday season has to be the Tuesday after Black Friday,” says Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting for ShopperTrak, a leading global provider of retail analytics. “All of the big promotions of the Thanksgiving Weekend are all over.” This is the reason why Black Friday is called Black Friday.

So the question is: Do you prefer a more low-key in-store shopping experience, with fewer crowds but also with less merchandise and fewer sales associates available to help you? Or, can you deal with more crowds if it comes with a better opportunity to be helped by employees? If the idea is to have a larger selection of items to choose from, then the Tuesday after Black Friday probably isn’t your best bet. “The risk of slower service, out-of-stocks, and limited promotions make this date more for browsing for gift ideas rather than actual purchases,” adds Fields.

What about the days between Black Friday and Christmas Day; are there any days to avoid? If you don’t like crowds or are really not fond of physically being in stores to do your shopping, then you should try to avoid shopping days that have the most foot traffic. According to InMarket, a marketing platform that has researched foot traffic predictions for 2019, “While spikes in weekend foot traffic are expected, many shoppers are still in the habit of procrastinating. Brands looking to connect with the highest number of shoppers have a great opportunity to advertise on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before Christmas.” Before you go, it’s good to do some product research online; just avoid this online shopping mistake you need to stop making now.

Crowds are pretty much unavoidable the weekend before Christmas. But is there a day out of that weekend that should particularly be avoided? The answer is yes, and there’s even a name for the particular day in question: Super Saturday.

“Super Saturday, or the Saturday before Christmas, is when all of the last-minute shoppers crowd stores to buy their gifts,” says Michelle Madhok, online shopping expert and founder of deals site shefinds.com.” She says that the goal for retailers when it comes to last-minute shoppers is to drive impulse buys. “Also, at this point selection of sizes is at its worst, so you may have to spend more time hunting for gifts,” Madhok adds. “And if you are shipping an item you’re going to have to spend extra on express shipping.” These holiday shopping tips for a stress-free season can help you not repeat this mistake.

There’s only one day after Super Saturday that’s even worse, and that is Christmas Eve. Shoppers who leave their gift buying to the very last minute are already stressed, as they’re torn between spending time with family and friends and getting this holiday shopping to-do off their list.

“In my opinion, the worst day of the year to go Christmas shopping is on Christmas Eve,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert. “This is because waiting until the last-minute means you will be rushed and likely stressed trying to find the perfect gift. In this instance, you’re less likely to shop around for a better price or better value gift since you have limited time and are more likely to miss out on sales.” Better be armed with this roundup of best Christmas gifts this year.

Believe it or not, there’s still hope for shoppers who still have last-minute gifts to buy. “If you have to pick up gifts at the last minute, stick with gift cards,” says Woroch. “This is the best way to stay on budget because if you set a limit at $25 or $50, you can buy gift cards at this dollar figure without blowing your budget.” And some stores are actually open on Christmas Day.

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Madeline Wahl
Madeline Wahl is a Digital Associate Editor/Writer at RD.com. Previously, she worked for HuffPost and Golf Channel. Her writing has appeared on HuffPost, Red Magazine, McSweeney's, Pink Pangea, The Mighty, and Yahoo Lifestyle, among others. More of her work can be found on her website: www.madelinehwahl.com