With ads for discounts on items ranging from air pods to cars already filling our mailboxes and TV screens, shoppers might wonder if Black Friday, the traditional kick off to the holiday shopping season, is still the best time to grab the best deals.
But while sales kicked off as far back as early October, the week culminating with Black Friday is still prime time for the deepest discounts, retail watchers say.
“Get ready to shop the Black Friday deals the Sunday or Monday before Thanksgiving,’’ says Kristin McGrath, an editor with the deal-finding and cash back site RetailMeNot. “Being ready gets you the best chance at snagging the lowest prices on popular items before they sell out.”
Target began offering week long Black Friday deals, as well as daily discounts on particular items, weeks before Halloween. Walmart and other retailers are also already offering bargains. But McGrath says that for the most part, super low doorbusters “are still coming, because retailers know that Black Friday has a huge historic gravitational pull for shoppers and it gets people excited.’’
Is Black Friday still a one day event?
No. Black Friday, the shopping bonanza that officially occurs the day after Thanksgiving, has been a days-long event for several years as retailers try to maximize buzz and shopping traffic.
“Official Black Friday deals will intersect with Black Friday itself, but it’s important to remember that even those deals don’t start on Black Friday,” says McGrath. “They’re mostly kicking off the Sunday before Thanksgiving and running all week.’’
Are items cheaper on Black Friday?
The week leading into Black Friday and the tech focused deal day of Cyber Monday, are still likely your best bet to find the deepest discounts, experts say.
“The Black Friday, Cyber Monday rollout looks more like 2019 than the last two years,” says Ali Mierzejewski, editor-in-chief of The Toy Insider, noting that shopping and selling patterns are settling down after being upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What items are worth buying on Black Friday?
Whether you’re wanting some new headphones, or a mega sized TV, Black Friday is the sweet spot for the best bargains.
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“Electronics in general, especially smaller consumer electronics like headphones, earbuds … go really low on Black Friday,” says McGrath. “We see some of the best prices of the year.”
Also look for great prices and even package deals on smart home products like speakers, thermostats, and doorbells, McGrath says. TVs will also likely be a good buy, though she cautions that instead of going for the biggest doorbuster, be on the lookout for sales that offer a higher quality TV for perhaps a few dollars more.
Last year’s top toys may be a bargain
Last year’s hottest toys might prove to be a money saver this holiday season.
Toy shipments delayed by supply chain bottlenecks during the height of the pandemic, now need to be moved off shelves to make way for new merchandise, says Mierzejewski. So, “things really tough to get in 2021, we might see clearance promotions to clear that inventory out.”
One of the most popular toys in 2021 for instance was the Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron, while the Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball is among the hottest toys this year.
“Maybe you can’t get the crystal ball,” says Mierzejewski, “but you can get a cauldron and the fans of those toys will love those equally.”
How should you shop Black Friday?
Check out ads and start making your list.
“Right now, shoppers should start looking at retailers’ official Black Friday ads which are dropping now,” says McGrath. “This tells you the deals you’re going to see for Black Friday, so you can compare deals ahead of time and make your game plan.”
There are also ways to save a few extra dollars on top of the main discount by looking for special promo codes and additional savings offers in retailers’ Black Friday ads as well as on their websites.
“For example, Kohl’s offers extra Kohl’s Cash on specific products during its Black Friday sale,” McGrath says. “If you can make a point to spend that Kohl’s Cash, those offers might make their prices ‘better’ than other retailers.”
If the price drops, can you get money back?
Probably not. While most retailers have policies where they’ll match the cheaper price of a product you’ve already bought, they typically won’t do that for items bought during a Black Friday sale because prices are already so low, says McGrath.
Check out smaller, local retailers for deals
Even before Black Friday, consider checking out local businesses.
“Big box retailers aren’t the only place you can get great toys and gifts,” Mierzejewski says. “Your local toy store is a great way to beat the crowds.”
In addition to supporting your local community, you can get a more personalized experience, she says.
And even if they don’t have a specific Black Friday sale, the sales person may give you a head’s up about a price markdown coming later in the holiday season. Small, local retailers have more flexibility when it comes to sales, she says, because “they’re not tied to any nationwide corporate promotion.”
Set in-stock alerts
When there’s a gadget, toy or accessory that you’ve just got to have, consider signing up for a retailer’s in-stock alerts. That way you’ll get a message when the item is available.
But when you get the notification, act fast. Supplies of popular items will go quickly, and you may need to try more than once to nab what you want.
Follow Charisse Jones on Twitter @charissejones
Story Credit: usatoday.com