The Zulily Shopping Planner: Best Time to Buy Things for Kids
When it comes to shopping, we know that moms like you value saving time and money. Because the more you save, the more meaningful – and affordable – life experiences you can create, right? We also know you’re shopping for the whole family, especially your kids – and that you’re making 72% of household purchases. To make it easier to shop and save on kids’ merchandise throughout the year, we’ve created a planning guide for the best time to buy kids’ things throughout the year.
Earlier this year, Zulily created the new Best Time to Shop Report – a 2022 shopping roadmap that pinpoints when moms should shop to beat the rush, maximize their savings, and score the best deals. But we know moms keep their kids top of mind when buying for themselves or their families and homes. We went straight to the source and asked 1,600 millennial moms with children under the age of 12 to share what’s driving purchases for their little ones. Then, we analyzed a year’s worth of sales data and millions of Google keyword searches to determine the best times of the year for moms to shop for her kids. Here’s a bookmark-and-save view of the best time to score savings on everything from kids’ essentials to must-have items.
Kids’ athletic apparel and athleisure wear
Are you among the 27% of moms who consider athleisure like yoga pants, running shoes, leggings and sneakers acceptable for remote work? Well then, you might be taking a cue from your own wardrobe when shopping for apparel for your kids.
While sporty apparel typically goes on sale when the weather warms up and invites more outdoor activity, moms are purchasing do-it-all kids trainers, track suits, and sneakers for their kids earlier in the year – January and February – to avoid the stampede of spring sports.
Online shopping tip: Download our shoe sizing guide to get the right fit for your kids’ sneakers.
Athleisure reigns supreme for the entire family
Data suggests kids take a Swiss army knife approach to wardrobe planning – one outfit for all occasions:
- Kids enjoy dressing in athleisure most days, according to most millennial moms (29%).
- 37% of millennial moms of grade-schoolers say athleisure wear is also used for kids’ physical activities, proving these pieces are not only comfortable, but also functional and convenient.
- When it comes to preferred physical activities to do with their kids, millennial moms ranked these as their top choices:
- Walking (48%)
- Free play (43%)
- Swimming (35%)
To conjure up an at-home taste of summer vacations early, moms are shopping two seasons ahead of summer. At Zulily, sales of kids’ sandals, sunglasses, swimsuits, and sunscreen all spike in March, while similar styles typically go on sale at the end of the season at brick-and-mortar retailers.
Parents like to help kids “glow up” their wardrobes at this time — since 79% of kids say that unique style impacts their feelings by increasing happiness and confidence.
To get your kids excited about swimwear, check out the limited-edition collection of Zulily x Sunshine Swing kids’ beachwear, designed by kids, for kids.
Kids’ suitcases and bags
Following two years of family staycations, millennial moms are telling kids to pack their own bag. 45% of moms surveyed believe owning a suitcase is an important milestone for their kids. Call it responsibility or independence, or a fun lesson on spatial reasoning skills, but moms are behind it.
Send them packing
- When to start? Children should start packing for themselves at 8-10 years of age, according to 21% of millennial moms.
- Give them a vacation vote: Packing isn’t all they’re responsible for – 75% of millennial moms say they let their children voice their opinions and weigh-in on some details when it comes to their family’s vacation planning.
Given most families (68%) plan to vacation during the Summer, the best time to buy kids’ suitcases and bags and beat the rush is in March. At Zulily, sales of kids’ luggage spike in April.
Summer may be the most popular season to camp, but camping season starts early at Zulily, as sales of sleeping bags and camp bedding pick up between April and May and peak in June. With June and July being the busiest times for campgrounds (and let’s not forget about summer camp!), plan ahead for your child’s next camp adventure and stock up on camping must-haves for kids, like sleeping bags, in April.
Kids’ Gymnastic Leotards
April showers bring May flowers – and savings on gymnastic leotards for your little athlete. At Zulily, moms start shopping for gymnastic leotards in June and July, with sales spiking in August. By shopping for leotards in May, you can take your child’s gymnastic or dance look to a whole new level without breaking your budget.
Whether your child desires to be a Disney princess, comic character, firefighter, dinosaur, or anything in between, the ideal time to purchase kids’ Halloween costumes is June. Sales of kids’ costumes and accessories start picking up in July and August at Zulily, with sales peaking in September. Planning your kids’ Halloween customer in June means you’ll skip the last-minute rush.
Playtime is more than exerting energy; it’s about reinforcing learning and imaginative play. In a world full of batteries and plenty of bells and whistles, 49% of millennial moms say it’s important that their kids have access to simpler playthings and toys because they believe that playtime can also be a time of education and learning.
Trends in toy buying:
- 40% of moms say they want their kids to spend less time on electronics and more time using their creativity.
- Millennial moms are also making more sustainable choices when it comes to buying toys for their kids. With 88% of parents wishing their environmental footprint were smaller, 55% millennial moms are making a conscious decision to buy more quality, longer-lasting toys for their children.
Stock up on toys for all age groups, including STEM-inspired and learning-based toys, in July. Mark your calendars now for Zulily’s Santa’s Workshop, our dedicated shopping destination for toys, which launches in July to provide moms early inspiration and the best time to score the top toys of the holiday season.
Kids’ Special Occasion Apparel
Millennial moms don’t need a reason to dress up their children these days; they’re finding ways to celebrate the everyday and break out dressier wardrobe for their kids on all occasions, whether a particularly noteworthy event, or a garden variety Monday.
What Are We Celebrating?
- 39% of millennial moms say they look for any opportunity to dress up their children.
- More millennial moms are opting to celebrate:
- Everyday moments and milestones as special occasions with their children (19%)
- Weekly church services (12%)
- Milestone family gatherings, like weddings and anniversaries (9%)
Moms should start shopping early, in August, for all upcoming special occasions for kids before the busy fall holiday season.
You probably remember wearing overalls as a kid or adult in the ’80s or ’90s. The overall trend continues to come back every few decades, and it’s reemerging in a big way at Zulily with sales of short and long kids’ overalls spiking in September.
When it comes to kids’ coats, fashion and function are equally as important, but fall weather can pose unique challenges weather-wise. This may be why moms are shopping an assortment of styles in October, including puffer coats, pea coats, windbreakers, and shell jackets. Start shopping for kids’ coats and jackets in September and ensure your kids’ closet is stocked with versatile options, whether they’re picking pumpkins or throwing snowballs.
Kids’ Statement Pieces
The definition of a statement piece might be changing as millennial moms are embracing a hand-me-down-from-anywhere attitude when shopping for their little ones. For 18% of millennial moms, the ability to pass clothing and gear down to younger siblings and family members was a top reason to shop for gender neutral options. These moms most commonly associate the colors yellow, gray, beige, and brown with gender neutrality.
So, the focal point of your kids’ #OOTD may be less about an attention-grabbing color pop and more about timeless styles that will grow with them, as well as their younger sibling when it comes time to pass the piece down the sibling line.
Whether the color palette is neutral or anything but, moms should shop for kids’ statement pieces in October to avoid the busiest times.
Must-have baby gear and nursery essentials
The stork may deliver more babies in September (which is the most popular birth month based on birthday data) but new millennial moms are checking things off their newborn baby list all yer round, with sales surging in December.
Zulily survey data shows less is more when it comes to preparing for a newborn, and it’s all about the essentials. Most millennial moms (40%) are choosing a more minimal approach, staging the house with mostly hand-me-downs, thrifted items, gifts from baby showers, and opting to buy only the necessary and essential items. Even still, 34% of new millennial moms “do it for the ‘gram” and want their baby nursery to be social-media ready.
How moms Really feel about baby prep
- What to budget: 31% of millennial moms feel the $500-$1000 range is the ‘sweet spot’ for spending in preparation for their bundle of joy, while 26% were prepared to spend $1000 or more.
- Ready or not? 35% of millennial moms felt well-prepared for bringing home their newborn with essential items, like diapers and swaddling blankets.
- The unexpected essentials: 44% of millennial moms named the baby swing as a product that came in clutch, followed by:
- A well-organized diaper bag (41%)
- Sleep sack (36%)
- Nursery glider (36%).
- Trendy or classic? When shopping for baby clothes and gear, most millennial moms (30%) shop tried-and-true brands they trust from previous experience, compared to 20% who shop up-and-coming brands that offer more trendy styles.
Every good outfit needs a solid foundation. Bloomers are a great alternative to pants or shorts for babies and toddlers, especially in warmer months, but moms aren’t waiting until summer to buy these adorable accessories. At Zulily, sales of kids’ bloomers spike in January, so stock up in December to beat the bloomer bolt.
The Added Benefits of Planning Ahead
Are you a super planner? Zulily’s Brain of the Planner study showed that 71% of moms who identify as planners – those who exhibit few procrastination behaviors like missing deadlines or putting off tasks – shop as early as possible for a variety of reasons, but the top benefits of doing so might resonate with you:
- Lower stress and anxiety
- More time for leisure and socializing
- Healthier relationships and more stability
- Feelings of joy and accomplishment
So, mark your calendars now – with some advance planning, you’ll save money, time, and gain some peace of mind. And stay tuned for more highlights on The Find blog by Zulily.
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Methodology: All data included in this report was based on survey conducted by Pollfish for Zulily with a sample of 1,000 U.S. based moms, ages 18+ in November 2021.