With high unemployment and an uncertain economy, consumers are bargain-hunting with a vengeance this holiday season. While the discounts may not be as deep as those last year, you can still find great deals in electronics and other goods.
According to Jody Rohlena, senior editor at ShopSmart magazine, steep discounts abound on one of the most popular gifts -- flat screen televisions. "Bigger screens for smaller prices," said Rohlena. "It's a really great time to buy a TV."
"We have seen amazing deals online," said Rohlena. "One of the biggest shopping trends this season is free shipping. Everyone is offering it."
Rohlena said shoppers can check freeshippingday.com to see if their favorite store is one of over 1,000 retailers offering free shipping on December 17, just in time for Christmas Day.
Rohlena predicts e-books will be among the hottest gifts and best deals this year. One of her favorites is the Amazon Kindle, starting at $139.
Jennifer Black of research firm, Jennifer Black and Associates, says that apparel will have some of the best discounts.
The deals are not necessarily deep, but value driven," said Black. "And after such a long period of time without self-purchasing, the female shopper is out there buying for not just others, but herself as well."
The following is a list of the best shopping deals, for yourself or others, compiled from Jody Rohlena, Consumer Reports' ShopSmart December 2010 issue and Jennifer Black & Associates.
1. Music player: Apple iPod Touch $230-400
2. Point and shoot camera: Nikon Coolpix S8000 $250
3. Videocamera: Canon VIXIA HF M31 $725
4. Mini videocam: Kodak Play Sport ZX3 $135
5. LCD TVs: Toshiba 40XV648U 40 inch $700
6. Smart phones: HTV Aria (AT&T) $130
7. Smart phones: Samsung Vibrant (T-Mobile) $200
8. Blu-Ray player: Sony BDP-S470 $170
9. Desktop computer: HP Pavilion Elite HPE-240f $1,100
10. Laptop: Apple macbook pro 13-inch mc374ll/a $1,200
11. Netbook: Asus Eee PC 1015PEB-RD601 10 inch $350
12. Amazon Kindle $139 (wi-fi), amazon.com
13. Bath and Body Works: From Signature Care Collection, Buy 3 get 2 free, or Buy 2 get 1 free.
14. Zumiez: past season snowboards over 40 percent off at zumiez.com
15. Lululemon Relaxed fit pants $98 (one of Oprah's favorite things) oprah.com
16. Coach Occasion Sequin Wristlet $58, Coach.com
17. Set of handmade holiday cards $20, GoodPaper.com
18. Flip wallet $10, buyherbagnotherbody.com