Christmas is one of the “most magical times of the year”; however, it also puts families under severe financial pressure. According to Retail Ireland, the Ibec sub-group representing Irish retailers, Irish households altogether will spend €5.39bn over this year’s Christmas period.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) Christmas shopping research report has shown that consumers individually are expected to spend an average of €1,200 on Christmas shopping this year. Over one third of shoppers will spend €1,000, while households with children are due to spend almost €1,600. This is a 20% increase on Christmas expenditure in 2021. Almost three quarters of consumers surveyed cited that the reason for increased spending this year was due to price increases.
The Price Indication Directive has also been introduced, which aims to stop any businesses raising product prices before a sale, resulting in advertising misleading discounts. It is now the law for any business advertising a discount to display the previous price, which must be the lowest price applied in the previous 30 days. This came into effect to increase consumer confidence as CCPC research showed 61% of consumers don’t trust sale prices.
Shopping in the January sales
The January sales are home to some of the biggest reductions and sales in the calendar year. This year, St Stephen’s Day falls on a Monday and many shops will open their doors for annual sales. That said, it is essential to know your rights as a consumer when shopping in the sales to ensure your purchases are protected. The best things to buy in the sales are:
Once Christmas is over, decorations, lights and wrapping paper can see large discounts of up to 50% off. January is the best time to buy next year’s Christmas tree if you use an artificial one as you can save anything from €75-€120. Christmas cards are normally in abundance in shops and go on sale for half price, along with wrapping paper.
January and July are the main times of year when retailers turn over their merchandise for the new season. That makes January a great time to buy next year’s winter gear for you and your family.
Toys and small gifts
When Christmas is over, retailers are left with an excess stock of cosmetic sets, toys, spa gift baskets, and much more. These items have high reductions and would do as great gifts throughout the year and for Christmas next year.
To make way for the new models of electrical items coming out in the new year, many stores put large discounts on electrical goods to clear space for new stock. January can be a great time to purchase any electronics you have had your eye on.
Consumer rights on sale items
Consumer rights on sale items can vary from full price items. Below are three important rights on sale items to note before making a purchase.
1. If you purchase something in a sale that is faulty you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund even if shop signs say “No refund” or “No exchange”. You have entered into a contract with the retailer and your rights are set out in the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act of 1980. You must keep proof of purchase and return the item as soon as possible.
2. If you change your mind on a purchase, you have no rights under consumer law and the retailer has no obligation to take back an item that is not faulty.
3. Many shops change their returns policy during sale periods and they are within their right to do so. Always check the policy on refunds and exchanges of sale items before buying an item.