Most retailers kicked off the season early, with many wheeling out holiday inventory before Halloween. Total U.S. retail sales jumped 1.7 percent in October, the U.S. Commerce Department reported last week, even as consumer confidence hovered at a 10-year low amid rising gas, grocery and electronics prices.
Popular items are likely to be in short supply and sell out sooner, experts say, so making key purchases will require patience, persistence and flexibility.
“It might just be a strange shopping season, a little bit less predictable but not necessarily more cutthroat,” said Claire Tassin, retail and e-commerce analyst at Morning Consult.
Here’s five tips for more successful holiday shopping, starting with Black Friday weekend: