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There are still some parts and product shortages, shipping and freight fees are astronomical, gas prices are high, and nearly everything costs more today than in recent years.
What will all this mean for winter holiday season promotions that are set to kick off in a few months?
While the holiday season has traditionally been a gift-buying shopping season, a lot of people – myself included – put off some less urgent purchases, especially for higher value items, in hopes of snagging appreciably lower holiday pricing.
Cordless power tool combo kits, miter saws, and portable table saws are especially popular during holiday shopping seasons. From what I have seen and reported on over the years, there are rarely better sales or promos than the ones usually planned for October thru December.
The COVID pandemic changed things a bit, but not really. Back in 2020, Home Depot announced that they weren’t cancelling Black Friday, and that “Black Friday prices will be available throughout the holiday season.”
Black Friday 2020 was actually pretty typical as far as Black Friday and holiday sales go, with the exception of earlier promotion of online sales.
2021 was a little different. I wondered if shortages would affect Black Friday and Holiday promotions, and in hindsight, I can say that it did.
I have not done a formal analysis, but there were fewer promotional items compared to previous years’ sales, most notably when it comes to table saws and miter saws. There was plenty of stock, but the selection seemed slimmer.
Inventory streamed in for mid-season replenishment, and Home Depot’s cordless promotions seemed as strong as ever.
The lead-up to Black Friday 2021 was huge – here’s my final consolidated deal guide.
But things are different now. Higher costs are being passed down to consumers, as retailers can no longer absorb them.
Tool brands have been hammered in the stock market.
While not tool-related, LEGO’s newest building toy sets have higher prices that greatly stray from their typical valuation of 10 cents per piece. The company recent announced that some existing sets will also experience price adjustments in August and September.
You know things are serious when LEGO prices go up.
Supply chain disruptions and delays have affected tool brands’ new product launches, leading some to adjust their announcement timetables.
The 2021 holiday shopping season kicked off in mid-October last year. The manager at a local big box retailer said it was because they ran out of Halloween decorations and the replenishment shipment was stuck on a freighter in the middle of the ocean, but I didn’t buy it. Perhaps partly or mainly motivated by freight delays, retailers scheduled their holiday setups earlier than ever.
No doubt 2022 is going to be a huge holiday shopping season as well, with plenty of Black Friday and seasonal tool deals.
But, will what you’re looking to buy be included in the discounts and promotions? Will it be at a good price?
Some brands have already increased prices. Others have modified their offerings, such as swapping 5Ah batteries for lower capacity 4ah batteries in tool kits, in order to maintain expected pricing levels.
With higher prices across the board on food, gas, etc., consumers are going to have a lot less discretionary spending this year.
Brands and retailers have done their best the past two holiday shopping seasons, to present as typical a holiday shopping environment and experience as possible. This undoubtedly required a ton of planning and strategy.
At its surface, the 2022 holiday shopping season will appear typical, but I’m already getting the sense that there will be compromises and omissions compared to what we saw in past years.
Retailers’ Father’s Day promotions so far have been somewhat lackluster this year, and I’m of the opinion that major companies have been holding back a little, with their sights set on a fuller Holiday season.
This is understandable, assuming I’m observing things accurately, as the Holiday season is always much bigger when it comes to tool sales.
Things are a lot more uncertain as to what the holiday season will look like this year, even compared to the past two years.
Then there’s also Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but they’re affected by the same season-long trends and circumstances.
But, if I’m already thinking about what the holiday season will look like, you can bet that tool brands and retailers have already been planning around current circumstances. That gives me some reassurances.
Still, I’m increasingly doubtful that the upcoming holiday season will bring tool promotions and discounts as broad and diverse in selection as many of us usually hope for and expect.
If this year’s timing follows last year’s example, we’ll get a glimpse of things by mid-October. While this sounds comical, retailers’ main holiday “gift center” displays were usually up just after Halloween in earlier years, and so mid-October is just 2 weeks earlier.
Maybe there’s nothing to worry about, but this is still not going to be a typical year, and I’ve been thinking about how to delay or hasten my purchasing decisions accordingly.