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When you’re already paying more for groceries, gas and other everyday necessities, the looming prospect of holiday shopping can be quite unappealing. Who has the budget for lavish gifts when you’re more focused on affording food to put on the table?

So retailers are apparently hoping that big discounts could encourage you to spend this holiday season.

Adobe Analytics is forecasting “record discounts” online this year, as nervous retailers anticipate that cash-strapped shoppers won’t be willing to pay full price.

In a report released this morning, Adobe said you’re likely to find discounts of up to 35% off list prices, “as retailers contend with an uncertain spending environment and consumers who continue to deal with rising costs in areas such as food and gas.” Among 18 categories tracked, Adobe says toys are expected to offer the biggest deals of up to 35% off, with discounts on electronics expected to hit 30% and clothing 25%.

Traditionally, the holiday shopping season kicks off in earnest right after Thanksgiving. That’s when Adobe says the best deals will be found. But those who start early can still find savings. Amazon launches its second Prime Day event of the year next week, prompting competitors from Walmart to Target to Walgreens to offer their own savings events, just like they did this past summer. Adobe estimates you’re likely to see discounts of up to 18% next week.

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But if you hold out, the deals could be even better. Adobe says Black Friday and the following Saturday will be the best days to shop for TVs, while discounts on toys and clothing will peak on Sunday, and Cyber Monday will offer the best deals on other electronic items and furniture. Appliance deals will be best that Tuesday, with Wednesday offering the best prices on sporting goods.

While the Thanksgiving and Cyber Week discounts this year are expected to be greater, the big question is what will happen throughout the month of December? Last year, after Adobe tracked a record surge in spending during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, there was a lull, “because consumers know the longer they wait, the bigger the deal,” one analyst said. Another analyst called it a “game of chicken, with shoppers waiting until the very last minute for great deals,” as retailers tried to hold out, hoping shoppers would blink first and pay a higher price instead of risking not getting their shopping done in time.

What Adobe isn’t predicting, is whether the record discounts this year will come in the form of coupons, or across-the-board sales. In recent years, many retailers have opted for the latter, trying to clear out overstocked inventory by slashing prices on everything. Shoppers this year anticipate seeking out more individualized savings in the form of coupons. A recent Bankrate report declared that “the hottest holiday activity in 2023 is coupon cutting.” 41% of survey respondents said they plan to seek out more coupons, discounts or sales this year.

As for Adobe, it found that nearly half of all shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping early, beginning this month. But a separate Slickdeals survey found that more than half of shoppers believe they can hold out for even better deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Perhaps most notably, 39% said it’s all just getting to be too much, trying to figure out the best time to shop in order to get the best deals. These shoppers told Slickdeals they’re starting to feel burned out over the ever-extending holiday sales shopping period.

So whether you’re an early bird, or a last-minute shopper, it seems there will be plenty of deals out there this year. Trying to time it so you get the biggest possible discount will be a challenge – but at least you know going into this holiday season that you shouldn’t have to settle for paying full price.

Image source: Walmart

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