From David McNew/Reuters
If you're a last-minute Christmas shopper, here's one type of sale you may not be considering: the After Christmas sale! Insanity?
It sounds like it, but we first talked about this trend in 2012, when "After Christmas" sales appeared on Christmas Eve.
The sales have steadily crept back since then, and last year we saw an "After Christmas" sale from Macy's start on December 20, with orders still guaranteed for pre-Christmas delivery! (Talk about a strange definition of "After.")
Though most After Christmas sales still fall between Christmas and New Year's, tapering off through the month of January, holiday creep continues to drive them earlier.
Whether you delve into these deals before or after December 25, here are five particularly good product categories to keep an eye on.
Adam Berry / Stringer / Getty Images
We find a lot of excellent clothing deals after Christmas, from winning single-item deals — like four pairs of Dockers men's pants for $60 — to the best sales we've seen all year from a huge variety of clothing retailers.
Last year we saw sales that were either the best or tied for it from Nike, Gap Factory, Brooks Brothers, Tory Burch, Nautica, and many more. If you got some gift cards in your stocking, it's probably a great time to spend them!
Only about 10% of our fitness deals during this time last year were Editors' Choice, but it's still worth keeping an eye out if you're trying to make good on your New Year's resolutions. Why? Because some of the Editors' Choice sales were flat-out excellent.
NordicTrack offered one of the best sitewide sales we'd seen from it, at up to 50% off. Many other retailers, such as Running Warehouse and Cabela's, offered deals comparable to the ones we saw from them during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
About 31% of electronics deals we found last year during these sales were Editors' Choice. Many stores offered large sales on refurbished items. Another notable deal was the best price we'd ever seen for a prepaid iPhone 5s ($150).
One category of electronics stands out as a hot post-holiday buy: cameras. During After Christmas sales last year, 37% of camera deals were Editors' Choice. Canon offered some of the hottest deals we've seen on both refurbs and new models in late January. We saw refurb lenses starting as low as $49.99 and up to $700 off new cameras.
Also, if you didn't find that new smartphone you wanted under the tree, don't fret. Though comparatively few smartphone deals were Editors' Choice (about 15%), prices didn't stop dropping just because the holidays ended. Many phones reached new lows during this period, including the unlocked 32GB Galaxy S6 Edge, unlocked 64GB Nexus 6, and several Apple smartwatches.
Video games.Flickr/Marco Arment
While you're also likely to see a lot of great single-item deals — about 56% of the deals we came across during this time last year were Editors' Choice — a few reliable large sales are worth mentioning. For PC gamers, Steam's Winter Sale usually kicks off a few days before Christmas and continues through the New Year; Amazon frequently offers deep deals on PC games alongside it.
Related: 7 Great Ways to Save on Steam Games
For console gamers, there's GameStop's "buy two, get one free" used item sale. It arrives just before New Year's and is the best sale on used items the store offers each year.
One of the best categories of items in After Christmas sales shouldn't come as a shock: seasonal products. Thirty percent of our seasonal deals during the month after Christmas were Editors' Choice. It's not hard to find stores cutting prices by 75% or more. (Lowe's cut up to 90% off!)
Although you'll have to wait a while to enjoy the 6-foot, pre-lit tree you bagged for $25, or the light strands you picked up for $2 each, it'll be worth it. You can deck your halls with a smug smile at the far-more-expensive decor in next year's ads, then treat yourself to some well-deserved cocoa for your stellar planning.
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