Now actually lol (March).
So you’re looking for winter gear, whether that be jackets, pants, gloves, etc. Let’s say you have the flexibility of when to shop and you’re prioritizing the “bang for your buck” and you’ve always wondered: “When’s the best time (of the year) to buy winter gear?”.
Well, I have a quick post for a quick answer for you 🙂
The best time to buy ANY winter gear/goods is towards the end of winter, heading into spring. More specifically for us northern hemisphere people, that’s March…onwards actually. Perhaps up until November. If you want to be even more specific, some stores start third week March, some last week of March.
It’s a quick statement but there are lots to unpack here:
“What’s your source/basis for this claim?”
So if you haven’t noticed yet, I like snowboarding. I like winter in general actually 🙂 I intentionally signed up for newsletters from sporting goods store, snowboard shops, direct snow apparel/soft goods/hard goods brand so I can get a feel (and an immediate heads up!) for when they have sales.
I have around 4 years worth of promos in my email and all of them show a pattern of starting that said time. How/why am I keeping track of these? Simple. I drool over certain premium goods too wishing and waiting that they’d go dooooooooown 😂
“How is end of season sale compared to other holiday sales?”
So yes, like most consumer goods, it just follows the pattern of even during the peak holidays (e.g.: Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc)…it’s not a useful sale. What do I mean? Two things:
One, it’s similar to Apple. No matter what the holidays are, they’re not going to budge and stamp a discount on a Macbook Pro. Nah. Again for me I’m eyeing premium and technical goods so it follows this pattern.
Two, some stores really don’t have sale on the things that most people want (or things you would care about). They’ll probably provide sales to…socks, thin gloves, etc just so they can technically claim that they have a “sale”. That new, specific, red jacket you’re eyeing? Yea nah mate.
“Why is the end-of-(winter)-season sale the best sale?”
I find that not only are there lots of items on sale, but the discount actually gets better and better as it goes. E.g.: it just gets cheaper and cheaper from March/April up to November (if that item lasts that long in the shelves).
“Why?! this sounds too good to be true!”
It’s not. There’s actually a practical explanation to these. It is simply because, like car sales, winter goods are designed and styled just for the year. Like cars, there’s a 2020, 2021, 2022 BMW 3 Series.
It’s like fashion (well it is part of fashion apparel industry), every year there’s a specific design for a product. To make it more interesting and marketable, next year they’ll have a different color/style/design, etc and that’ll be the 2022 version.
And it’s human psychology. When the new one (2022 version) comes out, no matter how functionally similar they are (they’re just different colours), more likely than not people would purchase the newer version.
That’s why at the end of the season, like all inventories there’s a rush/pressure to clear inventory. Businesses would rather place a discount and get rid of it rather than have it collect dust there and when the new version comes out, that old product is near unsellable.
“So when do businesses launch their lineup for the next/upcoming season?”
November. Again, the basis is my own observation and research. This is easily verifiable for me by just looking at my inbox and looking at the datestamps. For me, this is when new snowboards are introduced and marketed.
If you’re anticipating the new lineup for that item you’re looking for, that’s it.
If you’re looking for the ultimate discount, then perhaps September/October.
“Ok, so is there a catch? Cons to this whole thing?”
Pricing and promo-wise, there are nothing against you. It’s more so the demand that you’d be against.
Looking at this cool, sick snowboard jacket? Well, A LOT of people are looking at it too and most likely finding it equally awesome as well. What’s going to happen first is that, even during the middle of the season, you’ll see stocks go. What, you forgot that some people don’t want/need to wait for discounts to pull the trigger right? haha! Sucks for you lol.
If there are any stock left for that specific item you want, your next challenge is: “yes there’s stock, but the size/color you want is out of stock already” 😂
This happened to me just this season actually. I was eyeing some Volcom jackets. I wanted it red. That brand specifically and their entire online store ran out of red jackets around Jan/Feb. And this was during the pandemic 😂 Only thing left were black jackets.
(nothing wrong with black apparel. It’s just that in the ski/snowboarding culture there’s preference to bright colours for style and safety purposes 😉 )
“Do these rules apply for the southern hemisphere peeps?”
Probably not since our seasons are inverted. I don’t live there so I don’t have first-hand info for you. But assuming the patterns the same:
December is our start of winter.
November (a month before) is when new lineups are introduced.
March (3-4 months in) is when the season ends/sale starts.
So just calculate that for when you’re winter starts 😀
If you’re eager and looking forward to next year’s lineup and you can’t wait and you want it now, what you can do is (especially for international companies) go to the Australia/New Zealand versions of their websites.
Companies release their new lineups to ANZ first. This is more just a guideline. I’ve first-hand see this happen with Endeavor Snowboards where I was able to see next season’s design in their website. But at the same time, I’m waiting for Burton’s new version of Step-Ons (it’s an edgy patent they have) and I know they’re out there, but I didn’t see it in their AU website.
I’d still largely say this is true for most companies though.
There’s another way but I’m being selfish and I won’t tell you how 😉
Edit: I’ve seen email newsletters from Burton that came out May/June. The June/latest one is a massive 50% discount but only in the Toronto Flagship store, so it’s probably a store-specific discount. And as I’d expect, it’s probably big discounts but none of the interesting items you’d want are there or the discount does not apply (e.g.: Burton Step Ons). This is my opinion.