Update: 4th of July sales have begun!
Independence Day is July's trademark holiday, and unlike other big holidays where we warn against buying in-season items, the 4th of July has proven to be a great time for in-season purchases.
The reason you'll see many summer items on sale this holiday is because of back-to-school season. To make way for back-to-school bargains, retailers first have to clear out their summer inventory. That means swimsuits, patio furniture, and even air conditioners will see aggressive discounts this Independence Day.
So check out our July 4 buying guide before you fire up the BBQ, and find out what summer items you should restock on in the coming days.
These 4th of July Vets Will Offer the Best Sales
While you can count on seeing multiple 4th of July sales in the coming days, over the years we've noticed certain retailers tend to dominate the holidays in terms of discounts. Macy's, Nautica, and Backcountry, for instance, are 4th of July vets known for discounting from 25% to 80% off their merchandise during the holiday.
Last year, Macy's kicked things up a notch, taking 50% off a wide selection of items with an extra 15% to 20% off popular categories like swimwear, suits, and watches. It was the best 4th of July sale the retailer has had in the past three years.
Backcountry, which is typically among the first retailers to kick off 4th of July, took 50% off hoodies and sports apparel, whereas Nautica slashed 40% off it's summer clothing last July. You can also expect to see discounted children's apparel on this holiday, with The Children's Place leading the charge. Last year it too had its best 4th of July sale ever, taking 70% off clearance items with an extra 20% off via a stackable coupon.
Go Ahead, Stock Up on Summer Gear
We rarely tell consumers to buy in-season items, but the 4th of July is the exception. Stores are itching to make room for back-to-school sales, so summer apparel that hasn't sold will quickly make its way to the clearance rack. Considering we're less than halfway into the summer, that's great news for shoppers.
Fortunately, summer clothing won't be the only in-season item on sale this Independence Day. Last year we also saw a spike in air conditioner deals with the season's best prices coming in during the first two weeks of July.
Likewise, patio furniture will see steep discounts from Home Depot, Sears, and Pottery Barn, with deals that shave 40% to 60% off select outdoor furniture. Of the three retailers, Sears will offer the biggest variety of sale items, with multiple dollar-off coupon codes that apply to your purchase based on how much you spend.
Despite Sitewide Tech Sales, Save Your Money for August
Every major holiday is bound to have a few tech sales and the 4th of July is no exception. If you're looking for laptops or PCs, Best Buy, HP, and Lenovo will offer sales that take 30% to 65% off select systems.
However, back-to-school sales are just now starting to ramp up. These sales, which focus strongly on laptops, tend to peak in August. That means any sale price you see this week is very likely to resurface in August, possibly at a lower price or with a bundled freebie.
So rather than focus on systems, your best bet for July 4th is to take advantage of the accessories sales from retailers like Canon, Monoprice, and Newegg, which will offer discounts that take up to 80% off camera lenses, audio gear, and components, respectively.
Apple Gear Will Be Substantially Cheaper in August and September
Apple fans should also proceed with caution. While the Apple Store's back-to-school sale will be in full force come July 4th (last year the retailer bundled up to a $100 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a Mac computer, iPad, or iPhone), other retailers like Best Buy and MacMall will offer better discounts on the same Apple gear in the months to follow. Moreover, unlike Apple's sale — which requires a valid .edu e-mail address — other retailers may not require one.
Consumers should also keep in mind that Apple's next iPhone and iPad are expected to make their debut in September, which means you'll see more aggressive price cuts on current-gen Apple handhelds by the end of the summer, which isn't that far off. Wait until after the new gear is announced and you could save up to 70% on Apple's previous-gen handhelds.
So whether this Independence Day finds you out by the shore or relaxing in your backyard, make sure to take advantage of the right sales.