Time was when Boxing Day afforded a brief interregnum between turkey and the January sales, and an opportunity, perhaps, to dash out for the size C batteries you didn’t realise you needed for the children’s presents yesterday.
But Britain is now a giant shopping mall, and if you’re reading this after 10am, the “January” sales are in full swing. If you’re tempted to join the fray this weekend, here’s where the best bargains are likely to be...
Televisions: It’s not just broadcasters for whom Christmas is the biggest viewing time of the year – it’s true for retailers, too. Every big store has its own range – most originating from the same factory in Turkey – and today, margins will be slashed.
You should be able to pick up a 32-inch set – which would have been considered huge a decade ago but is quite modest by today’s standards – for just over £100 right now, and for a similar amount you can take home a smaller set with a built-in DVD player. Don’t expect the same quality as you’d get from a Sony or Panasonic TV, but these own-brand models are fine for bedrooms, conservatories and studies. Most are labelled “HD Ready” rather than full high-definition, and you’ll need a set-top box to see any HD at all, but they’re decent buys nevertheless.
Sound bars: If you’re still listening to your TV through its internal speaker, now’s your chance to upgrade to something approaching cinema sound. Just how closely it approaches the Odeon depends on what you pay, but you’ll notice a difference from even a cheap external speaker. Just be sure that the connectors match the ones on the back of your TV.
DVDs: The new wave of ultra-HD Blu-ray players means shops will be discounting the heck out of older models. Basic DVD players are now down to around £15, and standard Blu-rays less than £50. Don’t be tempted to buy a DVD recorder, though – a set-top box with built-in hard drive is a much more convenient way of recording TV programmes, whether you view through aerial, satellite or cable.
Laptops: The iPad and its rivals have dampened demand for “traditional” portable PCs, with the result that they’re cheaper than ever. For maximum value, look for one with a processor made by AMD – they’re vastly cheaper than those by the market leader Intel and in average, everyday use you’ll never know the difference. Do make sure you’re getting Windows 10 (if you want Windows at all) and at least 4GB of memory.
Tablets: Speaking of iPads, Apple’s standard pricing policy means no sale bargains in that quarter, but rival Android models should be reduced to near wholesale prices this week. £150 will get you a very decent model, but do take the time to play with it in the shop to make sure it’s big and fast enough for your needs.
Cameras: Digital point-and-shooters have been with us for little more than a decade, but the universality of smartphones is already threatening to make them obsolete – and for that reason, they’re dirt cheap at the moment. Go for a brand you’ve heard of, with a rechargeable battery and an optical (not digital) zoom lens and you’ll have a device that will out-snap any phone at your Hogmanay party. Happy New Year!