What to buy during 4th of July 2024 sales, according to experts

Between Amazon Prime Day, Walmart Deals and Target Circle Week, there’s no shortage of upcoming savings events. But it all starts with 4th of July sales, which almost every retailer you can think of participates in and many Americans are interested in taking advantage of. In fact, 51% of consumers plan to shop 4th of July sales this year and spend an average of $310, according to a 2024 survey by RetailMeNot.

With so many discounts available, which ones are the best to shop? I spoke to experts about what to buy and what to skip this July Fourth, as well as tips for saving the most money at checkout.

SKIP AHEAD What to buy during 4th of July sales | What sales to skip | When do 4th of July sales start? | What stores are open on the 4th of July? | Expert shopping tips

What to buy during 4th of July sales

There are two main product categories experts recommend shopping during 4th of July sales: big ticket home items and warm weather goods. Mattresses, furniture and large household appliances typically go on sale around long weekends, so you’re sure to see lots of options during July Fourth. Retailers tend to extend discounts on these items beyond the holiday, too. “In general, the big ticket sales are likely to run the longest because these are purchases retailers know consumers want extra time to think about,” says Kristin McGrath, a shopping expert at RetailMeNot, a deal-finding and cash back website.

As for summer gear, you’ll see the best prices in August leading up to Labor Day, but there are plenty of strong July 4th discounts to take advantage of. Keep an eye on patio furniture, pools, outdoor toys and gear for hiking, camping and fishing. Big box retailers like Target, Walmart and Kohl’s, as well as sporting goods stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, usually discount these items between 10 and 30%, says Vipin Porwal, a consumer expert and the CEO of Smarty. You can also find summer clothing, swimsuits and shoes like sandals and flip flops for 20 to 40% off. Additionally, Independence Day is the second-to-last grilling holiday of the year, so retailers slash prices on barbecues, including high-end models, says McGrath.

Don’t forget to browse deals on air conditioners, too. Window and portable units will be on sale, as well as other cooling appliances like fans. But since it’s going to be a very hot summer, and many parts of the country are already experiencing heat waves, inventory may sell out quickly. “Shoppers should look for deals on higher quality AC brands with good reviews to get the most value in this more expensive investment,” says Porwal, noting that brands often discount window units more than portable units.

What to skip during 4th of July sales

Our experts agree that you should skip buying tech during 4th of July sales. Amazon Prime Day and back-to-school sales are around the corner, and those sales reliably offer some of the best prices of the year on laptops, computers, headphones, tablets and smart home products, says McGrath. Hold off on school supplies, too. Many states participate in Tax Holidays later this summer, during which you can usually buy school supplies tax-free up to a certain dollar amount. Some brands also offer competitive student discounts leading up to the academic year, which can help you save even more.

Porwal also recommends waiting to shop for fall fashion, especially jeans and denim. “While older inventory will be part of 4th of July discounts, the best denim sales of the year happen during August’s back-to-school event for kids and in the early fall for adults,” he says. Try to wait on small home electronics as well. Vacuums, hand mixers, blenders and air fryers are Prime Day staples, and July Fourth discounts usually don’t come close to the low prices Amazon offers during its mega sale, says McGrath.

Amazon Prime Day versus 4th of July sales: How do they compare?

Prime Day 2024 takes place on July 16 and 17 this year, which is less than two weeks after July Fourth. “The closeness of these sales essentially gives shoppers two rounds to find a huge variety of discounted products,” says McGrath. With that being said, you’ll see some overlap in terms of what’s on sale, but the shopping holidays are distinct. “July 4th sales tend to really cater to our summer lifestyles and needs, while Prime Day is a mish-mash of items that traditionally do not follow a seasonal theme,” says Porwal.

Amazon Prime Day is about two weeks after July Fourth, so it's important to be strategic about what products you buy during both sales holidays. Here's what we recommend.
Amazon Prime Day is about two weeks after July Fourth, so it’s important to be strategic about what products you buy during both sales holidays. Here’s what we recommend.Olivia Ott / NBC News

Also keep in mind that nearly every store offers 4th of July discounts, which you can often shop in-person and online. Prime Day, on the other hand, is an online-only, Amazon-specific event, although other brands and retailers host corresponding sales. So as far as variety goes, you might see more in terms of where to shop around Fourth of July compared to Prime Day.

Overall, if you’re considering adding a summer-related product or big ticket home item to your cart during July 4th sales, do it and don’t wait to check out, says Porwal. But if you’re a Prime member looking for headphones, Bluetooth speakers and small kitchen appliances, you’ll likely find a much better deal during Amazon Prime Day.

When do 4th of July sales start?

Many 4th of July sales will start the weekend before the holiday, but some, which are included in our weekly sales roundup, are already live. It varies by retailer, however. A handful of savings events won’t begin until a day before July Fourth, so be sure to sign up for your favorite stores’ email and SMS lists to stay updated, or follow them on social media.

When do 4th of July sales end? 

July Fourth is on a Thursday this year, so experts expect sales to run through the following weekend, until July 7. But that doesn’t mean you should wait to shop. If you see a discount you’re interested in, checkout as soon as possible because products may go out of stock. Shopping last minute also means there may not be as much variety available as far as colors, sizes and styles go.

Are there better deals in stores or online during 4th of July?

You’re guaranteed to find strong deals in stores and online during the 4th of July. “Online and in-store holiday pricing is basically the same, unless you’re shopping at local businesses, or there are special in-store only deals advertised,” says Porwal. With that being said, weigh the pros and cons of each. Online shopping is all about convenience, but buying in stores means you might be able to snag a product that’s available at a specific location yet sold out online. When you shop in stores, you’re also able to take your purchases home the same day, which isn’t possible with online shopping, unless you buy online and pick up in store.

What stores are open on the 4th of July?

Independence Day is a federal holiday, so some stores may be closed for in-store shopping or have limited hours. You can usually count on big box retailers like Target and Walmart keeping their doors open on July 4th, as well as most grocery stores and pharmacies. But remember that hours vary by location, so always check a store’s website before leaving home if you plan on visiting in-person on the holiday.

Expert shopping tips: How to make the most of 4th of July sales

Because so many brands and retailers offer sales during July Fourth, shopping can feel overwhelming. To prevent yourself from making impulse purchases and overspending, keep the following expert tips in mind.

  • Make a shopping list: Look at big sale holidays like the 4th of July as your chance to save on items you need, rather than splurge on items you want but don’t have the budget for. To stay focused, add your needs to a shopping list, bookmark links or put them in an online cart to monitor prices, says McGrath.
  • Compare prices across retailers: “Any time you have pretty much all retailers throwing sales, you want to check out the competition’s price before you buy,” says McGrath. And don’t just focus on price tags. Look at promo codes, too. “If another retailer has a promo code that gets you an additional 10% off, or it includes the item you want in a buy one, get one offer, you’ll be glad you checked,” she says.
  • Sign up for loyalty programs: Retailer-specific loyalty programs like Amazon Prime, Walmart Plus and Target Circle may give you access to exclusive discounts, or allow you to earn rewards as you spend. Some also offer free shipping and delivery, which can help you save on purchases.
  • Enroll in cash back programs: While shopping through certain brands and retailers’ websites, you may be able to get a certain percentage of what you spent back if you enroll in programs like Rakuten and Honey. Cash back stacks with the savings stores offer, which means you spend even less in the long run.  
  • Consider using a credit card: Some offer cash back when you spend on certain products or at certain retailers, or allow you to earn points that you can later use toward purchases.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts with specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and experience. We also ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Kristin McGrath is a shopping expert at RetailMeNot, a deal-finding and cash back website.
  • Vipin Porwal is a consumer expert and the CEO of Smarty.

Why trust NBC Select?

I’m an associate updates editor at NBC Select who writes about sales and deals, including articles on Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Memorial Day. For this article, I interviewed two experts about what to shop during 4th of July and what sales to skip.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.


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