The Boxing Day sales season has traditionally been a highstreet phenomenon as weary turkey-stuffed folk venture outside for more sherry. But in the last couple of years, it has become much more of an online event, and Boxing Day sales 2016 are going to be "the best yet".
That's according to an insider at one of the UK's biggest retailers who shared some plans ahead of the Christmas climax.
"Boxing Day sales have always been massive for the highstreet. It's a key period when brick and mortar stores can shift all of the unsold Christmas stock. That means certain product categories will see quite large discounts – apparel, shoes, toys and other gadgets you can probably guess yourself," says our source.
"In the last couple of years though, as the internet continues to grow its dominance in the retail space and with the rise of deals events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there's an increased appetite for online deals from consumers and a greater requirement from etailers who also want to reduce stock levels ahead of the new year. It's just my view but based on what I know I would say Boxing Day sales 2016 will be more of a thing this year than any year previously."
If true, the upshot of this is that all of the usual online retail suspects will resume the battle for your cash that really started at the beginning of November and won't finish until it's too late to get online goods delivered.
"You'll need to have your wits about you to get the best prices though," says our source in retail. "The good deals will be out there but don't be fooled by the big red sales logos – shop around to make sure you really do get the best prices."
What we expect from Boxing Day sales 2016:
Honestly we're not expecting "Black Friday in December" from the Boxing Day sales this year but the noises we're hearing do suggest it'll be worth waking up early and getting online to see what's out there.
Many of the big Boxing Day sales promotions will begin online on Christmas eve so if there's anything you want to buy for yourself it'll be worth looking early if you have the pre-Christmas energy.
TechRadar will be online throughout Christmas to help you find the best deals so if you do want to know about all the best Boxing Day bargains, come to this page and we'll point you towards the best discounts.
Boxing Day sales: everything you need to know
Boxing Day sales seem to start in September now. We're exaggerating, but only a little bit. Faced with the question of how their sales could stand out when everybody else was doing it, retailers decided there was only one solution: start before everybody else. In 2013, some retailers kicked off their Boxing Day and January sales the week before Christmas. This year they might have already started.
Boxing sales 2016: online versus the High Street
Some retailers start their sales early, but only online – so you can expect to see some websites unveil deals on Christmas Eve that you won’t be able to get in-store for another few days. And of course, online-only retailers from gadget emporiums to Steam are keen to get a slice of that sweet sales-frenzy pie, so they’ll be running their own offers too.
Should I queue overnight for Boxing Day sales?
We wouldn’t. So-called “doorbuster” deals tend to be very, very limited, and chances are you’ll be way behind the organised eBay Tout Massive who know exactly what they want, what Buy It Now price they’ll put on it and how to kill you with a single blow if it looks like you’ll get to it before they do.
We’d recommend staying in bed until a reasonable hour, having a nice breakfast and then relying on a trusted technology website – hello! – to tell you where the best deals are online.
Will the Boxing Day sales deals be any good?
Yes, sort of, maybe, if you know what you’re doing and watch out for the tricks of the trade. And there are quite a few tricks to watch out for.
The most common trick is what the Consumers’ Association calls “pseudo-sales”; that is, sales that look like sales and quack like sales but that aren’t really sales. They exist because of retailers sticking to the letter of the law rather than the spirit.
Here’s how it works. UK law says that retailers can claim to have discounted goods provided they’ve been at full price for 28 consecutive days in the last six months, so some firms simply double their prices to ridiculous levels for a month, drop them back to normal again and stick a SUPER HUGE MEGA DISCOUNT sticker on them. That, amazingly, is perfectly legal, and it’s why every single Christmas tree in the world appears to be half price in December: they were twice the price throughout August, when nobody buys Christmas trees (if you did, you were robbed. Sorry. Why are you buying Christmas trees in summer anyway?).
TechRadar will only be promoting genuine deals on the day so if you’re unsure, check back with this page!
Here's our rundown of where you will find the best Boxing Day sales on tech and games from Christmas Eve through Boxing Day itself.
We'll be rounding up all of the best Boxing Day sales right here, so if you want a one-stop-shop for all of the best deals, TechRadar is your Huckleberry! We'll be trawling all of the major UK online retailers like Amazon, John Lewis, Currys, Argos and GAME – and pinpointing all of the very best deals, whether they be PS4, Xbox One, Cameras, laptops, iPhones and Android smartphones, wearables, Blu-ray players, videogames… you get the idea. If tech is not what you're looking for, we'll show you the way to the big promotions from non-tech sites so that you can find your way to what you're looking for!
Amazon UK has always led the way when it comes to these deals events and even has one of its very own now with Prime Day in July. You can be sure that it has plans in place for the Boxing Day sales as it looks to move stock out of its enormous warehouses to make room for 2017 products. Amazon is a very convenient place to shop but it's not always the easiest site to navigate, so if you want to find out which are the best Amazon deals this Boxing Day, come to TechRadar and we'll show you the way.
Quick link: Amazon Boxing Day sales homepage
John Lewis didn't do much on Black Friday this year. Its strategy was largely to price match its rivals in an effort to discount as little as possible. You can see why – the customers service and extended warrantee you get from John Lewis means that many people prefer shopping there, particularly for items like TVs. So simply matching prices has worked well. That being said, John Lewis will need to move stock in Boxing Day and in the January sales so it'll certainly be worth checking out John Lewis on the 26th – and of course we'll be listing all the best offers right here on TechRadar.
Quick link: John Lewis Boxing Day homepage
Currys is always there or thereabouts when it comes to online sales and it was right there in the thick of its during the Boxing Day sales period last year – both on the high street and online. Online is where the action is at, of course, because online you can drink, eat, sit AND shop at the same time. As one of the UK's biggest electronics retailers you can expect some great deals on TVs, games consoles, tablets, ereaders and all the other usual stuff. Some deals will be better than others of course and we'll be here to let you know which sales items we think are the best!
Quick link: Currys Boxing Day homepage
Argos was one of the big winners on Black Friday – it launched its deals a week early and just kept adding them as November went on. You had to be a savvy shopper though, as mixed in with the genuine bargains were many prices that were still more expensive than those at Amazon. You can expect Argos to be right in there on the Boxing Day sales this year, with sales on basically everything from toys to consoles, iPads, smartphones, tablets, TVs and more.
Quick link: Argos Boxing Day homepage
GAME did very well on Black Friday this year. It was very organised and had some of the best PS4 and Xbox One deals around. It was right there with the Boxing Day sales in 2015 too, so in 2016 you can expect more of the same. Expect good deals on console games as well as peripherals for all those new console owners – plus PS4 and Xbox One bundles for anyone who didn't get the present they were hoping for on Christmas Day!
Quick link: GAME Boxing Day sales homepage
Many of the very best and most popular deals during Boxing Day last year came courtesy of Carphone Warehouse. The highstreet retailer is already pumping out Christmas deals but as soon as it's too late to deliver before Christmas day you expect CPW to pivot and offer something a bit different. We'll pick out the best ones, whether they're standalone smartphones, contract phones, voucher codes or whatever else.
Quick link: Carphone Warehouse Boxing Day sales homepage
Like the site above, Mobiles.co.uk is taking advantage of the growing trend to buy and upgrade phone contracts online rather than on the highstreet. The site offered the very best mobile phone deals back on Black Friday so you can expect more of the same from this trusted site. We'll pick out what we think are the best offers and post them on this page so you can see what's worth buying and what's not.
Quick link: Mobiles.co.uk Boxing Day sales homepage
Specialising in movies, games and tech, Zavvi went aggressive on Black Friday and we have it on good authority that they'll be delivering some more exciting deals in the Boxing Day sales. Expect strong deals on PS4 and Xbox One deals as well as some sweet savings on DVD and Blu-ray boxsets, console games and assorted tech items like iPads and laptops. We'll be listing the site's best deals on this page, so you can either come to us for our selection of the best ones or go straight to Zavvi's Boxing Day sales page.
Quick link: Zavvi Boxing Day sales page
Tesco Direct is building itself a good reputation as a destination for good prices on tech items online. Many of the best PS4 deals on Black Friday were available from this site so it's almost a given that we'll see the same again on Boxing Day. Expect also excellent deals on iPads and tablets, Xbox Ones, HD TVs, 4K TVs, Blu-ray players, Google Chromecasts and plenty more including videogames, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
Quick link: Tesco direct Boxing Day homepage