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Memorial Day Sales Look More Normal, In Most Ways

Last Memorial Day, most Americans were shopping for hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Memorial Day sales traditionally include household items like washers and dryers, kitchen appliances and mattresses. That’s already started in the weekend leading up to the holiday weekend, according to the Associated Press

Rosley Majid | EyeEm | Getty Images

But Barbara Stewart, president and coordinator of retailing and consumer science at the University of Houston, is expecting two major shifts from buyers.

“We’ll be shopping for apparel because we’ll be seeing more people this summer than we did last summer," she explained. 

Stewart also thinks people are itching to get out.

“I think consumers are also ready to do some traveling because we’ve been at home for more than a year," she said.

This means that as consumers, we should see markdowns on road trip gear, vehicle-related maintenance, camping equipment, hotel rooms and domestic flights. Priya Raghubir, professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, says savvy retailers will time their sales to match trending categories online.   

“What really gets people over that last threshold from interest in a category to, ‘Here’s my credit card. Charge it,’ is a financial incentive like a price promotion.”

But the real trick for shoppers to save money during Memorial Day sales is to set limits. NerdWallet suggests getting organized and making a list of items you need to buy so that you don’t get distracted by what retailers want you to buy. And if your items don’t go on sale,  NerdWallet says don’t buy to fill the "shopping void."

Raghubir says Memorial Day sales will definitely be online and in-stores but adds that malls probably won’t see the same pre-pandemic traffic.

“There is still hesitancy about being indoors," she explained.