The Saturday before Christmas, sometimes referred to as Super Saturday, is expected to be one of the busiest shopping days of the holiday season -- second only to Black Friday, according to ShopperTrak, which analyzes retail traffic. However, if shoppers are looking to score last-minute deals on all of their remaining holiday purchases, they might need to adjust their expectations. While bargains can be found right up through Christmas Eve, most won't be on par with Black Friday prices.
"I would not expect any significant discounts as the last weekend before Christmas usually commands enough traffic on its own -- stores don't need to provide any additional incentive to shop," says Michael Brim, founder of BFAds.net, which publishes deals and leaked Black Friday ads.
Many retailers had markdowns of 30% or more and free shipping for online purchases on Free Shipping Day, December 18, and some extended their sales and special offers through December 19. So if you act quickly, you can score savings by shopping online at retailers' sites that are guaranteeing delivery by Christmas Eve.
But if you wait until the weekend (or later) to do your shopping in stores, here's what you can expect to find on sale:
Home goods. Climate-control appliances such as air purifiers, heaters and humidifiers typically are marked down the weekend before Christmas, according to dealnews.com. You'll also see bargains on small appliances and kitchen gadgets, but the discounts will likely be just 20% to 30%. However, you might come across some markdowns as high as 60%, according to dealnews.com.
Pre-wrapped gifts. Gift baskets, already stuffed stockings and similar items will be marked down by as much as 90% at department stores such as JCPenney, Macy's and Sears, according to Offers.com. The deepest discounts will be on Christmas Eve, when stores are eager to clear out this sort of holiday merchandise.
Toys. If you haven't bought gifts for your kids yet, you'll likely find lots of sales on toys in stores on Super Saturday. For example, Toys "R" Us will be open 87 consecutive hours beginning 6 a.m. December 21 and will discount several items and have lots of buy-one-get-one-free deals. According to dealnews.com, Amazon also offers deep discounts on toys the weekend before Christmas -- but you'll need to opt for expedited shipping to get them in time.
Video games. With the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games should be deeply discounted. So if you didn't get your kids one of the newest gaming systems for Christmas, you can save a lot by buying games for older-model systems.
Apparel. If you have people on your gift list -- such as teens -- who want clothing or outerwear for Christmas, you'll be better off giving them gift cards they can use to buy deeply discounted winter apparel during after-Christmas sales. There also are several other items that you should wait until after Christmas to buy because they will go on sale. See 12 Things Not to Buy During the Holidays.
Finally, in your rush to finish your holiday shopping, make sure you don't purchase gifts that are likely to be returned. You don't want to waste your time and money buying things others won't like. If you need ideas and are short on cash, see A Gift-Giving Guide for the Truly Broke.