Analysis: These Black Friday deals can't be beat
This Thanksgiving, shoppers will leave their steaming turkey dinners behind in pursuit of low-priced electronics for themselves, talking toys for their children and holiday gifts for their in-laws.
As much as you might roll your eyes at their devotion to shopping, they may be onto something. Many Black Friday prices will be drastically lower than sale prices that retailers offered earlier this month — even during other sales.
A NerdWallet analysis of Black Friday ads has found that many retailers really do reserve lower than usual prices for their Black Friday sales.
If you’ve skipped pre-Black Friday sales in anticipation of better deals, your patience will likely be rewarded. According to NerdWallet, a series of early November sales proved that, in many cases, holding off on holiday purchases until Black Friday is your best bet. This year, Black Friday falls on Nov. 25.
Take Best Buy, for instance.
On Nov. 5, the retailer hosted a one-day, in-store-only sale. The LG 50-inch class LED Smart 4K Ultra HDTV was $649.99 during that sale. But it’ll be $399.99 during the Black Friday sale. The Klipsch Reference dual 6½-inch floor-standing speakers were full price at $349.99 each. But they’ll be just $174.99 during the Black Friday sale.
Something similar happened at Wal-Mart. The store will have the Samsung 50-inch 6300 Series 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV on sale for $398 during its Black Friday sale. The TV was nearly $200 more expensive on Veterans Day, at $597.
It’s not just electronics. During Kmart’s Veterans Day sale, the 6-foot Trim A Home Alpine Spruce was on sale for $39.99. The same unlit artificial tree will be just $15 during Kmart’s Black Friday sale.
However, retailers won’t always offer their best deals this shopping holiday. After all, at least 32 major retailers this year are repeating at least one Black Friday deal, both product and price, from 2015, according to a NerdWallet analysis of Black Friday ads.
Some repeat discounts will be deep, but given that some products are now another year older — and in the case of electronics and appliances, there may be newer models — shoppers might have expected retailers to up the ante with even lower prices. At Target, the Black & Decker 8-serving electric griddle will be $14.99 this Black Friday, just like it was last year. Sticking with what works or recycling mediocre deals? You decide.
Shoppers should also watch out for price markups. Retailers tend to inflate the list price of a product to make the percentage of the discount appear larger than it is.
So how can you successfully maneuver the highs and lows of Black Friday shopping? If you’re planning to partake in the annual shopping holiday, these are NerdWallet’s top tips for coming out on top:
•Don’t buy blindly. Before Thanksgiving, compare prices on the products you want across multiple Black Friday ads. Stores like Best Buy and J.C. Penney have made their ads easily accessible right on their websites. Once you find a deal you like, search for the same product to see what it’s selling for now. Use this tactic to judge how valuable the deal is.
•Have a plan of attack. Many deals are high in demand and low in quantity on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, so get to the store early and know exactly which product you’re heading for first. You’ll need a good sense of direction and a strong power walk to get there first. Consider the Craftsman snow throwers that adorn the front page of the Sears Black Friday ad; each store will have only about five.
•Shop online when you can. Retailers like Target, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart are offering a vast selection of Black Friday deals and doorbusters online this year. Stick with cyber deals to nab low prices without losing your cool fighting the crowds.
Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @courtneynerd.
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