With an increasing number of stores offering Thanksgiving sales, Black Friday shopping isn’t as clear-cut as it used to be.
Between online deals and in-store doorbusters, the process of shopping for the best Christmas gift bargains has become a muddled process.
Shoppers may be left wondering: Is Black Friday still the best day for bargains? With the advent of online shopping, are stores still as crowded as they used to be? Will Black Friday be replaced by Thanksgiving deals a few years from now? Is it better to wait for Cyber Week?
To help shoppers in the midst of confusion on how to find the best Black Friday deals, we turned to the team at BestBlackFriday.com— a website devoted to all things Black Friday.
Site co-owner Phillip Dengler answered our questions about Black Friday myths–and how to score the best deals– via email. He and his site crew provide shopping research guides, deals, coupons, tips on how and when to shop, and analyze the latest trends for Black Friday.
Research is the key for getting the best bargains and the site’s biggest tip for shoppers to score the best deals.
Thoroughly going through ads, making a list of items to track, and comparing sale prices across stores to determine if the discount really is a good deal or not are crucial for nabbing the best bargains.
Shoppers should also note sale times and quantities and whether those deals are available in-store only or online too. Dengler recommends prioritizing which items are most important since shoppers can only be in a single store at once.
The site’s data reveals store crowds on Black Friday have lessened slightly due to the surge in online shopping and the spread of sales to Thanksgiving Day, but that the same amount of people wait in line for doorbusters as in years past.
Luxury items and premium electronics are some of the biggest items to avoid purchasing on Black Friday. Dengler notes the margins on these items are too small for stores to offer considerable discounts.
The site also recommends steering away from winter clothing and Christmas decorations, as well as jewelry, which offers better discounts closer to Valentine’s Day.
One of the biggest myths surrounding Black Friday is that “Black Friday starts on Black Friday.” This is a fairly new myth because the sales and deals begin days and even weeks in advance of Black Friday itself.
Dengler added, “Pre-Black Friday sales have already popped up on websites such as Amazon and Walmart and other similar type sales from other large retailers are going on online. With Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday now being huge events as well, Black Friday is really a couple week shopping period as opposed to a single day now.”
The second myth surrounding Black Friday is that “You have to be among the first in line at a store to get a good deal.”
Dengler notes that, “While a select few of exclusive doorbusters are only available to the first few people in line, many doorbusters that a store offers are also available on their website. Many of their other great deals are also fairly easy to get even if you aren’t one of the first few people in the store.”
Shoppers also mistakenly have the notion that “Black Friday prices are always the best of the year.”
Dengler says this isn’t the case because, “While Black Friday prices are excellent and a great time to shop and save money, there are a variety of other days during November and the holiday season where you can get similar items at the same or even better prices. Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday are two examples.”
BestBlackFriday.com predicts the hottest items for 2013 will be video game consoles, laptops, televisions, tablets, and even the Kindle Fire.
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox are projected to rank at the top of that list and Dengler advises, “Stores such as Walmart are expected to have very limited quantities of each for Black Friday so shoppers are going to have to arrive pretty early if they want to get their hands on one.“
Stores with some of the best deals this year include Walmart and Best Buy—their deals on TVs, laptops, and the Kindle Fire were among some of the best the site’s crew found. They also noted that Target is offering a lot of deals on electronics this year.
For shoppers confused whether to buy electronics during Black Friday sales or to wait for Cyber Monday or Cyber Week, Dengler noted it depends on the site and can be hard to judge since Cyber deals are all online.
He says savings will still be substantial on items such as televisions, tablets, and laptops, although discounts may not be as large as Black Friday doorbusters.
Amazon is an exception since the retailer typically discounts its Kindle on Cyber Monday and its Cyber Week Lightning Deals offer savings similar to Black Friday doorbusters.
And for those worried Black Friday may creep into and take over Thanksgiving Day entirely, Dengler doesn’t foresee that happening since store opening times conflict with when many families are eating their Thanksgiving dinners.
“We don’t see Thanksgiving Day shopping appealing to everyone as Black Friday does,” he says.
For more information on Black Friday 2013 trends, tips, deals, and predictions, visit BestBlackFriday.com.