Historically, consumers have held off on big electronics purchases during the early part of the year, saving them for Black Friday’s door-buster deals. This year, however, the verdict is still out as to whether the biggest shopping day of the year still holds the same level of anticipation. Regardless, anyone in retail can agree: Black Friday and Cyber Monday have taken up a big chunk of the daily workload over the past few months – and then some.

So although the retail industry is still up to its ears executing on holiday shopping initiatives, strategizing for the New Year is inching its way to the top of retailers’ list of priorities. To get a leg up on 2014 and the promotions and goods that will pique consumers’ interests, the National Federation of Retailers put together an overview of what consumers are expecting – dare we say, anticipating – for the full calendar year. To round out the NFR’s list, we also peppered in a few additional items to be aware of, courtesy of Page Mage.

The first month of the year is thought of as a great time to purchase end-of-season fall merchandise and to get great buys on home merchandise from linens and cookware to furniture. For those going away on vacation, swimwear is also a product that will begin to show up in shoppers’ carts. For those looking to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, weight-loss and fitness-related products are of great interest as are smoking-cessation items.

Because of Valentine’s Day, retailers will discover a purchasing environment focused on jewelry, fragrances for men and women, chocolates and other gifts. Mardi Gras also causes a spike in demand for beads, masks, boas and other colorful decorations.

At this point in the year, spring and summer assortments will be in full swing. Shorts, tees and sandals will be widely available with the assortment at its peak. March is also a time when brides are registering for their summer weddings, which means that retailers can take advantage of special sales for wedding gifts to be purchased in advance. Like Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day will lift alcohol sales, and because the weather is improving, gardening and home improvement products will be in high demand.

In April, spring fashions will come into the markdown cycle, which means that consumers will be looking for good deals on shoes and apparel. This can also be an opportune time for shoppers looking for specials on off sizes and fits that are less common.

People are shopping to fulfill vacation needs in May and will also be looking for special values in athletic shoes and apparel. Mother’s Day also presents a fair number of opportunities for special offers on gifts for mom. In some markets, May is a peak month for moving, so apartment and home goods make for good selling opportunities.

June and July:
Father’s Day, graduations and 4th of July promotions create great sales opportunities for purchases on home décor, apparel and many other types of gifts. The summer temperatures will also drive sales related to barbecuing and outdoor entertaining.

Back-to-school highlights the retail landscape with everything parents and students need. This can include school supplies, but also small appliances and furniture for dorm rooms. Also, fall assortments will be hitting stores as a first look for what’s new in the upcoming season.

September and October:
During these early fall months, shoppers are gearing up for cold weather with items like coats, gloves and scarves. Holiday decorations are also on shoppers’ radars. Finally, because Breast Cancer Awareness month happens in October, shoppers will be looking for all things pink.

Consumers will start researching gift ideas for the upcoming holidays and will be ready to make their purchases over the Thanksgiving week. They will also be looking for outdoor sporting goods, such as ski and snowboarding accessories.

Last-minute shopping for the holidays happens in December with gift items covering the entire family in both apparel and hard goods. The week after the Christmas holiday will also be a key week for shoppers to find clearance items related to holiday decorating in apparel and home décor stores. For gift card receivers or individuals looking to return unwanted gifts, the last week in December will see a surge in those heading out for a personal shopping spree.

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