With advertisements for discounts on items ranging from air pods to cars already filling our mailboxes and TV screens, shoppers might be wondering if Black Friday, the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season , is always the best time to grab the best deals.
But while sales kicked off as early as early October, the week culminating with Black Friday is still prime time for the biggest discounts, retail watchers say.
“Be prepared to shop Black Friday deals on the Sunday or Monday before Thanksgiving,” says Kristin McGrath, editor of deals and cashback search site RetailMeNot. “Being prepared gives you the best chance of getting 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 great deals. But McGrath says that for the most part super low door-to-door “still happens, because retailers know Black Friday has a huge historical gravitational pull for shoppers and that gets people excited.”
Is Black Friday still a one-day event?
No. Black Friday, the shopping bonanza that officially occurs the day after Thanksgiving, is a years-long event 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 these deals don’t start on Black Friday,” says McGrath. “They mostly start on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and run all week. ”
Are items cheaper on Black Friday?
According to experts, the week leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s tech-focused business day are probably your best bet for finding the biggest discounts.
“The rollout of Black Friday and Cyber Monday feels more like 2019 than the past two years,” says Ali Mierzejewski, editor of The Toy Insider, noting that buying and selling habits are stabilizing after being devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What items are worth buying on Black Friday?
Whether you want new headphones or a big TV, Black Friday is the place for the best deals.
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“Electronics in general, especially small consumer electronics like headphones, earbuds… go down very low on Black Friday,” McGrath says. “We are seeing some of the best prices of the year.”
Also look for great prices and even bundles 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 better quality TV for maybe a few dollars more.
Last year’s best toys could be a bargain
Last year’s hottest toys could save you money this holiday season.
Toy shipments delayed by supply chain bottlenecks at the height of the pandemic must now be pulled from shelves to make way for new merchandise, says Mierzejewski. So, “really hard to get things in 2021, we might see clearance promotions to eliminate that inventory.”
One of the most popular toys in 2021, for example, was the Magic Mixies magic cauldron, while the Magic Mixies magic crystal ball is among the hottest toys this year.
“Maybe you can’t get the crystal ball,” Mierzejewski says, “but you can get a cauldron, and fans of these toys will love them too.”
How to buy on Black Friday?
Check out the ads and start making your list.
“Right now, shoppers should start watching official Black Friday ads from retailers that are dropping,” McGrath says. “It tells you what 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 discount offers in retailers’ Black Friday advertisements as well as on their websites.
“For example, Kohl’s is offering extra Kohl’s Cash on specific products during its Black Friday sale,” McGrath says. “If you can make a point of spending that Kohl’s Cash, these deals could make their prices ‘better’ than other retailers.” ‘
If the price drops, can you get money back?
Probably not. While most retailers have policies that they match the cheapest price on a product you’ve already purchased, they generally won’t do this for items purchased during a Black Friday sale, as the prices are already so low, says McGrath.
Check out smaller local retailers for deals
Even before Black Friday, consider visiting local businesses.
“Big box retailers aren’t the only place you can get great toys and gifts,” says Mierzejewski. “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 though they don’t have a specific sale for Black Friday, the seller may let you know of an upcoming price drop later during the holiday season. Small local retailers have more flexibility when it comes to sales, she says, because “they are not tied to any nationwide business promotions.”
Set stock alerts
When there’s a must-have gadget, toy or accessory, consider signing up for a retailer’s in-stock alerts. This way you will receive a message when the item becomes available.
But when you receive the notification, act quickly. Supplies of popular items will go quickly, and you may have to try more than once to find what you want.
Follow Charisse Jones on Twitter @charissejones
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