Remember Black Friday? You know, the day after Thanksgiving with its huge, door-busting deals? Well, last year, major retailers tried to get a jump on their competition by opening on Thanksgiving. And this year, the rush for your holiday shopping dollars is starting even earlier – online Black Friday sales will start just after Halloween. So where and when can you find the best deals?
Why “Black Friday” is Earlier Than Ever
Getting a jump on the competition
Online retailers start the discounts early so they can get your hard-earned dollars before the big in-store shopping starts.
Retailers need info about what will be hot
The earlier holiday sales start rolling, the earlier retailers know what’s popular. Brick-and-mortar stores in particular have dynamic inventory software that tells them how much of an item to stock based on early sales, so they want that data before the heavy holiday shopping starts.
The quest for younger shoppers
By opening stores on Thanksgiving, many stores can get a new demographic to shop – 20-somethings. I’m not saying that the younger crowd maxes out on family dynamics around the Thanksgiving dinner table, but yeah, they want to get away from Grandma and Grandpa and go hang out with their friends around what’s become a cultural event: shopping.
Retailers want to confuse the bargain hunters
Ten years ago Black Friday was the lone day for sales, and only the most hardcore shoppers would cull all the newspaper circular ads, compare prices, and then go from store to store, cherry-picking the best deals. These days, websites devoted to Black Friday like BFads.net, Dealnews.com, and Blackfriday.com database all the products, letting you easily compare prices. Stores sell many of the deeply discounted items at a loss so they can get you in the door and sell you other products at a profit. They can’t afford to have shoppers who only buy the loss-leader sale items. So by moving sales all around the calendar, retailers can confuse shoppers into paying more. A tag at the beginning of November may say Black Friday sale, but may not really be the rock bottom price.
What to Buy Early
Android Phones: For two weeks before Black Friday we expect great deals on Android phones. Even some of the newest models will be free with contract and in some cases, stores will even throw in a gift card; you make a profit on the phone. Look for these deals at Amazon Wireless, BestBuy, Walmart, and other big chains.
Clothes and Shoes: Look for big discounts online over the next few weeks, with specific items marked down, and then site-wide discounts that stack up an additional 30-50% off. Look for these deals directly from merchant retailers like Abercrombie, J.Crew, and Banana Republic.
True Black Friday Deals
Even though plenty of merchandise will be on sale early, waiting until Black Friday will still yield a lot of good door-buster deals:
TVs: The biggest discounts will be on 55-inch LCDs and 3D LCDs. Deal News predicts they will be priced around $425. That’s half what these TVs cost last year on Black Friday.
Appliances: The last few years have seen an increase in discounts on the big-ticket items like washers and refrigerators at Best Buy, Lowes and Sears. I expect this trend will continue with 10-30% off normal prices. On the other side of the price spectrum, lots of retailers will roll out $10 small appliances. Macy’s has already advertised a $10 coffee maker, and Target almost always has a suite of $10 toasters, waffle makers, and crockpots.
Apple Products: Whether it’s an iPad or a new laptop, Apple has its one sale of the year on Black Friday. Apple.com and the Apple retail stores traditionally offer 10-15%off many popular items (though rarely the newest iPhone). But the best deals usually come in the form of gift card add-ons with Apple purchases from larger electronics resellers. Last year if you bought an iPad at Meijer they gave youan $80 store gift card with your purchase. If you bought an iPod touch at Toys RUs they gave you a $50 store card. Best Buy almost always has similar deals on iPods and bonus iTunes gift cards.
And about the iTunes gift cards: Costco, Sam’s Club and Toys R Us almost always sell them at a 10%-20% discount on Black Friday.
[Related: Buy or Don’t Buy – The New, Thinner iPad]
What Not To Buy On Black Friday
Unless it’s a must-have toy, prices always come down as December 25th starts creeping up. And while gaming consoles may beon a few wish lists, this is an item to avoid buying unless it’s bundled with extra games and accessories.
I’ll be tweeting deals as I find them this holiday season, I’m@ bworley on twitter.