After Christmas sales: What to expect this year

If you thought Black Friday sales were particularly good, After Christmas sales are looking to break a few records of their own.

Dino Vournas/Reuters/File
Robert and Yvonne McGillis of Oakland choose gift wraps, taking advantage of after-Christmas sales at a Target store in the Bay Fair Mall in San Leandro, Calif.

The time leading up to Christmas includes some of the busiest shopping days of the year. However, not all December sales end with the holidays. If you can stand the wait, After Christmas sales often provide deeper discounts than their pre-Christmas cousins.

After Christmas sales started earlier than ever in 2015. And if you thought Black Friday sales were particularly good, After Christmas sales are looking to break a few records of their own.

What? After Christmas Sales Start Before Christmas

Just as Black Friday deals have taken over Thanksgiving Day, so-called After Christmas sales have begun creeping up the calendar. (Hey, it's the stores themselves referring to these sales as "After Christmas," not us!)

We first noted this trend in 2012, when sales branded as "After Christmas" started appearing on December 24. In 2013, the bonanza began on December 23. (You can see where this is going.) Last year, Macy's upped the ante with the first-ever After Christmas sale on December 22

This After Christmas creep may actually be a side effect of Boxing Day creep. Considered by many to be the the "Black Friday" of Canada and Great Britain, it's no wonder that Boxing Day is expanding like its American cousin.

Fashionably Late Discounts on Apparel

You'll actually have to do a little digging to find the best clothing sales in the days after Christmas, because there's just so many of them! Admittedly, only 17% of After Christmas apparel sales were hot enough to be marked Editors' Choice in the past three years. But these sales stand out to our editors for a reason!

For instance, last year we saw clearance sales taking an extra 50% off already-discounted swag atSteve MaddenBanana Republic, and others.

Electronics Are Worth the Wait

Both cameras and audio equipment are historically excellent buys during After Christmas sales. In the past three years, about 40% of After Christmas camera offers have been marked Editors' Choice, while 41% of audio deals have received our nod.

So what should you be shopping for? When it comes to cameras, the answer is definitely refurbs. From point-and-shoots to fancy DSLRs, the best bargains we see at the end of the year are almost always factory-refurbished units from CanonNikon, and more. (And experts assure us they're worth the buy.)

Audio fans, on the other hand, should spend their post-holiday cash on headphones or home theater speakers. Just be aware that we don't typically see audiophile-quality gear at Editors' Choice prices this late in the year. Expect bargains on entry-level to mid-tier gear from brands like Pioneer, Sony, Polk, Klipsch, and Beats.

Christmas Comes Late For Gamers

Post-holiday game sales are an excellent time to round out your collection. On average, about 42% of computer and video game deals were hot enough to be marked Editors' Choice during the last three years of After Christmas sales, so you can expect similarly excellent pickings in 2015.

Editors' Choice deals on current-gen consoles were somewhat scarce last year, but prices on older games and accessories absolutely plummeted. For instance, we saw Xbox One games priced as low as $8, as well as 2014's current-gen Skylanders starter pack at its lowest price of the year.

Deck the Halls With Discounted Decor

This year's tree may be dying by December 26, but After Christmas sales are a super time to score holiday decor on clearance. Fully half of all the seasonal items we listed in the days after Christmas last year were hot enough to be marked Editors' Choice, so this is definitely a category you'll want to watch. Home Depot hosts one of the most reliable holiday clearance events, taking up to 75% off decor in years past. In 2014, inflatable lawn ornaments offered the sweetest savings, with select items marked all the way down to $15.

Readers, what are you most excited to shop for on the day after Christmas?

This article first appeared in DealNews. 

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