The Truth about Black Friday Sales


The truth about Black Friday? Black Friday has morphed into Black November, and retailers - both traditional and online, begin running their Black Friday deals on November 1st. That’s right - as soon as you finally hit the bed after a fright filled night of collecting candy from your neighbors, retailers are gearing up to relieve you of your holiday shopping budgets.

Be sure to look at our Black Friday Ad Scans and Deals Page

Questioning Black Friday

Still, many shoppers assume every Black Friday deal is awesome; but is the listed merchandise truly a hot deal? Should you wake up early and battle the throngs of consumers standing in line at your favorite store? Are these sales really limited time deals, or can better pricing be had at other times?

To answer these questions, we dug deep into last year’s Black Friday deals to see if the deals were really as good as advertised. For instance, was there a deal offered later in the year that beat Black Friday’s pricing? Is there a reason to give into the hype?

Recycling Deals

Many retailers “recycle” Black Friday ads and do not change deal pricing on some products from year to year. While this might make sense if their inventory levels are high, consumers have come to expect deeper discounts each year on a wider variety of products.

In fact, the opposite is true -  a recent study found that 92% of stores had Black Friday “doorbuster” deals that existed the previous last year. The same study found retailers would often try to trick consumers on Black Friday with knockoff deals, shady rebate offers, and misleading original prices. The upshot? Use a website like BuyVia to compare prices before shopping - a little homework can really pay off in the end.

Where did the Doorbuster come from?

The doorbuster is a limited time super cheap deal designed get shoppers into the store. They are often available early in the morning and sell out almost immediately. More organized stores hand out vouchers to those in line to prevent mass hysteria from occurring from when the doors open up.

Doorbusters have been around far longer Black Friday. These "loss leaders" first appeared in an ad in August 1917 for Killian's Department store: "Wednesday's 8 o'clock doorbusters"

A bargain item was sold at a tiny fraction of its regular price. This brought in the crowds long before the store opened. Other stores in Iowa continued this tradition throughout the 1920's.

Some Black Friday Deal examples from 2015:

iphone 5s

Hottest Deals

  •   LidsLids Coupons

    Lids Upto 75% Off Clearance Sale - NBA, MLB Lids

    Lids Upto 75% Off Clearance Sale - NBA, MLB, College etc. Free shipping $50 or free in store pickup, otherwise $4.99 flat rate shipping. Rare discount for Lids. Prices reflect markdown.

    Men's  - Women's  - Kids


    World Champ Golden State Warriors hats and shirts much cheaper than at the ballpark store. Wonder why?!

    Novelty Goods from $0.30.

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    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: June 21, 2017 2:00 PM PDT

  •   T-MobileT-Mobile Coupons

    T-Mobile Simply Prepaid Plan - Unlimited $50 T-Mobile

    Back on Sale! T-Mobile Simply Prepaid Plan - Unlimited $50/Month  That's the lowest we've seen for this plan.  Limited time only.  Normally 6GB of data costs $55.

    • Must purchase $10 SIM Starter Kit
    • Bring your own Unlocked Phone or buy a new one

    T-Mobile Simply Prepaid Plan

    • 10GB 4G LTE Data
    • Unlimited Data
    • Unlimited Calling/Text

    Read our blog post: How to Find the Best No Contract Smartphone Plan and save a ton.

    Plus taxes & fees. Limited-time offer, subject to change. Compatible device and qualifying plan req’d.

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    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: June 21, 2017 10:34 AM PDT

  • $299.99$199.99Save: $100.00 (33%)eBayeBay Coupons

    Xbox One S 500GB Console Bundle Sale $199.99 + Free ShippingeBay

    Lowest price. Over 1700 bought. eBay (newegg) has a Xbox One S 500GB Console Minecraft Bundle Sale $199.99 free shipping. Tax in only CA, TN, NJ. Expires soon. $250+tax at amazon. Highly Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars. 30 day returns.

    • This cost $250 for the console alone during Black Friday.

    Xbox One S Specifications

    • 4K Support
    • Stream 4K video from Netflix and amazon Video
    • Play 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray movies
    • 40% smaller package than the original console
    • High Dynamic Range
    • Experience the enhanced comfort of the new Xbox Wireless Controller, featuring textured grip and Bluetooth technology.

    Includes these titles: Minecraft

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    Sales tax in: Depends on seller
    Posted: June 21, 2017 10:20 AM PDT

  • $40.00$5.00Save: $35.00 (87%)TargetTarget Coupons

    Target Father's Day Beauty Box $5.00 + Free ShippingTarget

    Target Father's Day Beauty Box on sale for $5.00 with free shipping. Extra 5% discount for Red card holders. This will sell out FAST. Limit 1 per customer.

    NIVEA Men Creme- 1 oz
    Specifically designed for men, this multipurpose creme moisturizes without feeling greasy.Olivina Men All-in-One Body Wash- 2 oz
    Balanced cleanser for face, body and hair removes dirt and grime without overdrying skin or scalp.
    Psst! This makes it so much eaiser to simplify your daily regimen.

    Schick Hydro 5 Men's Razor- 1 ct
    Built-in skin guards help reduce friction, while a Hydrating Gel Reservoir lubricates for protection.

    Dove Men+Care Elements Deodorant- 1.7 oz
    Skin-strengthening formula with minerals and sage offers 48-hour sweat and odor protection.

    Colgate Optic White Radiant Toothpaste- .75 oz
    Enamel-safe paste whitens the inside and outside of your teeth with hydrogen peroxide for a radiant smile.

    Yes To Natural Man Cleansing Wipes- 10 ct
    Made with 97% natural ingredients, like soothing aloe and coffee seed extract, to refresh in seconds.
    Hint: Keep these in your gym bag or glovebox for a pick-me-up on the go.

    Axe Adrenaline Cool Charge Body Wash- 1 oz
    Cleanses with touch-release technology for a chilly burst of freshness whenever you touch your skin.

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    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: June 21, 2017 8:10 AM PDT

  •   Kate Spade New YorkKate Spade New York Coupons

    Kate Spade Upto 60% Off + Extra 30% Off Sale Kate Spade New York

    Kate Spade Up to 60% Off + Extra 30% Off Sale with coupon code SUNNY. Plus, shipping is free. Ends June 29, 2017.

    Hot deals on wallets, handbags, jewelry, and more.

    Cedar Street Maise
    only $135.80 after code (reg. $298) with free shipping.

    Cedar Street Stacy
    only $42 after code (reg. $100) with free shipping.

    Primrose Hill Nisha
    only $67.90 after code (reg. $198) with free shipping.

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    Promo Code: SUNNY
    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: June 21, 2017 6:30 AM PDT

  • $699.99$424.99Save: $275.00 (39%)SamsungSamsung Coupons

    Samsung S8 Plus or S8 Unlocked Sale $424.99 + Free ShippingSamsung

    New Release, time to upgrade. Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus or S8 Unlocked Sale with $200 off for trading in ANY smartphone, for a limited time. Free shipping. Expires Soon - $708+ tax from amazon from unknown 3rd party. Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars.

    • Samsung S8 Unlocked $624.99 - $200 trade in = $424.99  free shipping. Available in several colors
    • Samsung S8+ Unlocked $724.99 - $200 trade in = $524.99 free shipping. Available in several colors

    Important Information:

    Perfect for T-Mobile, StraightTalk or AT&T Wireless. Add a line or replace and older phone.

    Learn: No-Contract Plans, Unlocked Smartphones

    Be sure to read our article: iPhone vs. Android: Making the Best Choice

    Consider purchasing an unlocked cell phone if you are on AT&T or T-Mobile and want a new Smartphone without a contract. Unlocked Smartphones allow you to subscribe to low cost carriers mentioned below and function internationally, so you can use the same phone abroad.

    Samsung Galaxy S8 Specs

    • 5.8in Infinity Screen
    • Quad HD+ 2960 x 1440 Native Resolution
    • New Bixby assistant
    • Wireless fast charging
    • Water resistant
    • Android 7 Nougat
    • 4K Video - Front 8MP and rear 12MP F1.7 camera with autofocus and optical image stabilization
    • 802.11ac wireless
    • MicroSD Slot
    • 4G LTE
    • International Variant/US Compatible LTE
    • IP68 Waterproof to 4.9'

    Samsung Galaxy S8+ Specs

    • 6.2in Infinity Screen
    • Quad HD+ 2960 x 1440 Native Resolution
    • New Bixby assistant
    • Octa-Core Exynos 8895 Chipset
    • Wireless fast charging
    • Water resistant
    • Android 7 Nougat
    • 4K Video - Front 8MP and rear 12MP F1.7 camera with autofocus and optical image stabilization
    • 802.11ac wireless
    • MicroSD Slot
    • 4G LTE
    • IP68 Waterproof to 4.9'
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    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: June 20, 2017 11:00 PM PDT

Apple Black Friday 2015 Deals

Although Apple offered free gift cards with the purchase of select products - iPad Air 2 ($75), iPad Mini 4 ($50), Walmart and Target both had way better gift cards available on the same day. Target esd  offering a free $150 gift card with an iPad Air 2. The same thing happened in 2014.

So - one would think the best strategy for Apple products in 2014 is to ditch the Apple store in favor of major retailers? Maybe, but better deals showed up just 14 days after Black Friday - with deeper discounts and zero sales tax. And finally, Apple did not even offer a sale on CyberMonday.


Gap Extra 50% Off Sale

Gap Black Friday 2015 Sales

Gap has a “50% off Everything” sale in 2015. The later had many other sales of the type Save up to 50% off plus an extra 40% off. These were better on the select sale items, but the 50% off was a lot better on generate merchandise.

 Black Friday Apple Product Deals

iPad Air 2 from Best Buy $100 - $125 off. Better than Apple plus it is a real discount.

Free Target Gift Card with iPad Mini 4 ($100), iPad Mini 2 ($80), iPad Air 2 ($150), or Apple Watch ($100) - These were better than Apple and were not matched until well into 2016.

Staples had an iPad Air 2 64GB $449 ($599) Apply Visa Checkout $25 off = $424. A stellar price

Also an iPad Mini 4 16GB $299 ($399), much better than a gift card.

Target had Apple TV 25% off - New 2015 version $149.25 ($199) - Also a very good price, not matched until 2016.

Black Friday Tablet/E-Readers Deals

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7in 8GB Tablet from Best Buy - $34.99 – Cheaper than Amazon until 2016.

Target had a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7 16GB Tablet $229 ($299) Free $30 Gift Card. A very good price not matched for 6 months.

Black Friday Laptop Deals

Best Buy had a Dell Inspiron 15.6 Touchscreen Laptop Core i3 8GB/1TB Windows 10 $299.99 free shipping. A solid price even to this day.

Staples had very good laptop deals which sold out quickly. Each of these 3 deals were not equalled until mid 2016.

HP 14-ab166us 14" Laptop Intel Core i3 6GB 750GB Windows 10 $299.99 after $50 rebate. ($599)

Toshiba C55-C5380 15.6" Laptop Intel Core i5 8GB 750GB Windows 10 $399.99 after $250 rebate.

Toshiba C55-C5381 15.6" Laptop Intel Core i7 8GB 1TB Windows 10 $499.99 after $250 rebate.

Preowned Xbox 360 S 250GB Console w/Kinect Sale

Black Friday Video Game Deals

Near everyone was selling a PS4 Uncharted bundle for $299.99, save $50. This was beaten only after 5 months.

Xbox One $299 bundles were all over the place. The best deals from Microsoft, threw in a $60 gift code and game.  Nothing equalled this.

These deals can be of good value, if and only if you like the bundled games. The prices of these holiday bundles held steady, probably due to minimum advertised pricing restrictions. On the other hand, there are plenty of video games on sale, making this a great time to buy software.

Black Friday HDTV Deals


Target Doorbuster Thursday: Westinghouse 32 LED HDTV $99.99 ($189) sold out fast and is just now being beat.

Best Buy Doorbuster Thursday: Toshiba 49L310U 49in 1080p HDTV $149.99 ($429.99) In store only. - Very cheap and still not beat.

Target Doorbuster Thursday: Element 43 LED HDTV $169.99 ($199) - Still not beat

Target Doorbuster Thursday: Westinghouse 55in 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV DWM55F1G1 $249.99 ($599) (15830724) - Still not beat

Sears Doorbuster Thursday: RCA 40" Class 1080p 60Hz Rear-Lit LED HDTV $269 ($350) - Price beat after 6 months.

TVs were a bright spot for 2015 Black Friday.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Unlocked Smartphone

Black Friday Smartphone Deals

Best Buy Thursday Doorbusters: $250 Gift Card with Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ plus they are on sale Verizon, Sprint, AT&T - With installment plan. A great deal and not really matched for 6 month.

Walmart in store: $100 savings, $100 Gift Card on any iPhone. AT&T Next Plan or Verizon Device Payment. Was a decent deal, but equalled in early 2016.

Camera Deals

Go pro HERO4 Silver Action Camera $80 Gift Card, 64GB Memory Card $399.99 ($500) - Very good at the time.

We can see from the sample hot deals from Black Friday that most deals are good, but if missed, often come back around quickly.  No need to fret.

Sometimes items are one off that are brought in for holidays. Video game bundles and cheap console games are a good bet during Black Friday.

Black Friday is No Longer the Best Sale of the Year

As we have shown, similar or better deals can be had throughout the year. So what’s the point of Black Friday?

We at Buyvia still believe Black Friday can save you money - but you have to set your expectations. If you expect to find the lowest possible price of the year on your favorite items, you are in for a disappointment. But if you are looking for good deals on your holiday list, Black Friday is still a great way to save money.

If you are looking for the best possible price on specific items, do your research. Often web based retailers will trump their retail competition because they pass the decreased cost of overhead onto their consumers. For the best possible deals, sign up here to receive personal deal alerts from Buyvia.

Do you have a comment or a different experience with Black Friday?

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One response to “The Truth about Black Friday Sales”

  1. Elly says:

    This is both street smart and intelligent.

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