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

  •   REIREI Coupons

    REI Fall Sale Extra 20% Off REI

    REI has a for Members: 20% off 1 full-price item with code: MEMLOVE20 through April 10, 2017. Also extra 20% off one Garage (Outlet) item with same code.

    Also on Sale:

    Clothes, Shoes, Gear, and more.

    Shipping from $6, free ship to store, or free on orders over $50.
    Lots of great deals on outdoor gear, apparel, shoes, and more. Enter coupon code in Step 2. of Checkout: Billing.

    REI has a total satisfaction policy where you can return items at any time within 1 year. Tax in most states.

    Lifetime membership is a one time free of only $20. You get a dividend back at the end of each year for any full price items you have purchased.

    Offer not valid on special orders, package discounts, prior purchases, REI gift cards, REI e-gift cards, gift boxes, Go Pro, memberships, shop services or rentals, passes and tickets.
    Discounts not valid on bicycles, hard-shell boats, stand up paddleboards, any item with GPS technology, activity trackers, personal locator beacons, avalanche airbag products, skis, ski boots or ski bindings; snowboards, snowboard boots or snowboard bindings.

    Offer is limited to stock on hand and backorderable items, is nontransferable(oops and is not redeemable for cash.
    Merchandise purchased with this offer is not eligible for the REI member refund. Offer may not be combined with any other discount or offer. Limit one coupon per customer.

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    Promo Code: MEMLOVE20
    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: March 24, 2017 12:00 AM PDT

  •   eBayeBay Coupons

    20% off Electronics, Fashion, Outdoor, More eBay

    eBay 20% off Electronics, Sports, Outdoor, Fashion from select sellers on this page, when using Coupon Code: C20SPRING Expires 3/27/2017 - Minimum price $25, maximum discount $50. While Supplies last, so hurry. Limit 2 uses per Paypal account. 2% back in eBay Bucks.

    Click Shop Now and you will see a list of qualifying sellers. Qualifying items have the coupon list on the page.

    eBay Best Deals:

    Deals Page has the best deals from large commercial sellers.

    iPhone 7 128GB Unlocked refurbished $648.99 - 20% off coupon = $598.99 free shipping.

    Samsung S7 Unlocked Smartphone Refurbished $362.99 - Coupon = $312.99 free shipping.

    HP Pavilion 17.3in Core i3 Laptop refurbished $369.99 - 20% = $319.99.


    Schwinn Women's Sheba Cruiser Bike $109.99 - Coupon = $89.99 free shipping.

    Schwinn Men's Swindler Cruiser Bike $109.99 - Coupon = $89.99 free shipping.

    Users will be able to apply this Coupon for a 20% discount off qualifying item(s) (excluding shipping, handling, and taxes), valid from 08:00 AM PT March 23 2017 until 11:59 PM PT on March 27, 2017. Users must make a minimum purchase of $25 or more on qualifying items. The discount will be applied to qualifying item(s) only and will be capped at a value of $50. Coupon can be used twice per PayPal account within a single transaction (or cart), while supplies last.

    Only eBay members paying with a PayPal account registered with an address located in the United States or Canada can receive the discount. Any unused difference between the discount amount, as shown on the Coupon, and the purchase price of an item(s) in a single transaction (or cart) will be forfeited. Coupon is subject to U.S. laws, void where prohibited, not redeemable for cash, has no face value, and cannot be combined with any other Coupon, Gift card, or Gift Certificate.

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    Promo Code: C20SPRING
    Sales tax in: Depends on seller
    Posted: March 23, 2017 9:00 AM PDT

  • $399.99$239.99Save: $160.00 (40%)eBayeBay Coupons

    XBox One S 1TB Battlefield 1 Bundle Sale $239.99 + Free ShippingeBay

    Over 2000 bought. eBay (newegg) has a XBox One S 1TB Battlefield 1 Bundle Sale, $239.99 free shipping. Tax in NJ, TN, CA. Expires Soon

    • Better deal than Black Friday's $299.99 deal.

    This bundle includes: Xbox One S Battlefield 1: Military Green Special Edition Bundle, controller, HDMI cable (4K Capable), power cable, 14-day Xbox Live Gold Trial, The Division, and Fallout 4.

    • 4K Support
    • Stream 4K video from Netflix and amazon Video
    • Play 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray movies
    • 40% smaller package than the original console
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    Sales tax in: Depends on seller
    Posted: March 23, 2017 8:45 AM PDT

  •   KohlsKohls Coupons

    30% off plus - Extra 20% Clothes, Blender... Kohls

    Kohl's 30% Coupon Code for Cardholders - Clothing, Roku, Shoes, Coffee Maker, Appliance Sale Use Promo code: LUCKY30 when you checkout with a Kohl's Card. Expires March 26, 2017 - Exclusions apply. This sale happens only once a month. Combine up to 4 coupons per order. Free shipping $75+ or free in store pickup.

    • Free shipping for Kohl's Card holders Code: FS4MARCH Expires 3/26/2017

    Sign up for paperless billing and get $10 Kohl's Cash emailed to you in 5-7 days.

    Combinable Coupons

    • $10 Off $75 or More on Women's Clothing, Accessories, Jewelry, shoes, Beauty Promo code TRENDY10
    • $10 Off Men's Clothing, Accessories, Shoes Purchase of $50 or More (select styles) Promo code MENSTYLE10
    • $10 off $40 in Kids Clothing and Shoes Promo Code: KIDSALE10

    Best Kohls Deals

    Men's adidas Essential ClimaLite Tech Tee $19.99 - Code: LUCKY30, MENSTYLE10, and FS4MARCH = Buy 3 for $35 with the 3 codes.

    Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve Coffee Bar System $99.99 - Coupon = $70, free shipping.

    Converse Chuck Taylor High Tops $24.

    Sonicare Essence Rechargeable Toothbrush $29.99 - 30% off coupon = $20.99. Free shipping using code.

    Sonicare SimplyClean 5-pack Replacement Brush Heads $39.99 - 30% coupon - $5 mail in rebate = $22.99 free shipping using code.

    Men's Croft & Barrow Flannel Lounge Pants $4.80 - 30% code. Was $24.

    Magic Bullet 11-pc. Blending System $49.99 - 30% off code = $35. Was $60!

    Women's Fashion Boots from $34.99 - 30% off coupon = $24.49.

    40-50% outerwear for the family plus 30% off code

    30-50% off Sonoma Goods for Life Clothes for the entire family. Additional 30% off for using code

    The Big One Bath Towel $4.99 plus 30% off code. Was $10.

    Nutribullet Pro 900 Watt Blender $99.99 - 30% off code = $70, free shipping using Code. Regular $120.

    Keurig K15 Mini Plus Personal Coffee Brewer Regular $120, Now $99.99 - 30% off coupon code = $56. Free shipping using Code.

    Waterpik Ultra Flosser Regular $59.99  - 30% off coupon code = $42. Free shipping using Code.

    If you shop at Kohls and want to save, definitely get a Kohl's Credit card.

    Fine Print

    Limit one offer per customer. Dollar-off discounts, including Kohl's Cash® coupons, Yes2You Rewards® and Promotional Gifts, will be applied prior to percent-off total purchase discounts/coupons. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other percent-off discounts, including age-specific discounts. Offer not valid on the following merchandise: Gift Cards; Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise or other charitable items; prestige brands of cosmetics, skincare and select prestige brands of fragrance; Columbia; Dyson; Levi's; Nike; select electronics/electrics; consumables; and select online-exclusive merchandise. For a complete list of these merchandise exclusions, go to or look for signs in our stores. Offer also not valid on price adjustments on prior purchases; payment on a Kohl’s Charge account; taxes, shipping and/or handling fees.

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    Promo Code: LUCKY30
    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: March 23, 2017 12:00 AM PDT

  •   6pm (Amazon Company)6pm (Amazon Company) Coupons

    6pm Free Shipping Week - Nike, Ugg, More 6pm (Amazon Company)

    6pm Free Shipping - North Face, Nikes, Uggs, and More Shipping is normaly free on orders over $50 or if you buy 2 or more items. (Cheap Items)

    Never heard of 6pm? 6pm is owned by amazon and is where Zappos clears out merchandise.

    Wide selection of apparel, shoes, boots, handbags, sunglasses, and accessories on sale. Great time to get ready for the rest of winter and the approaching spring with some new shoes or apparel!

    Nike Shoes and more on sale up to 50% off, plus free shipping.

    UGGs and more on sale up to 80% off, plus free shipping.

    UGG Cassis Boots
    $87.50, was $250.

    The North Face Jackets, Clothes and more for Men, Women, Kids. Up to 70% off

    The North Face FuseForm Cesium Anorak $58.99 free shipping. Was $199

    The North Face FuseForm Dolomiti 1/4 Zip Hoodie $43.99 free shipping. Was $149

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    Sales tax in: CA, KS, KY, ND, NY, PA, TX and WA
    Posted: March 23, 2017 12:00 AM PDT

  •   Papa Johns PizzaPapa Johns Pizza Coupons

    Papa Johns Free Large Pizza w/$15 Purchase Papa Johns Pizza

    Baseball snacks. Papa Johns Free Large 3 Topping Pizza with $15 Order when you use Promo Code: SWISH Expires April 4, 2017 - Or while supplies last.

    1) Sign in or create a Papa Johns reward account

    2) Enter the Promo Code at the top - Promo Code: SWISH  then place an order for $15 or more

    3) You will have 25 Papa Johns Rewards Points to added to your account on the day after your order

    4) You are ready to order the free Large 3 Topping Pizza

    • Offer valid at participating US locations.
    • Must redeem points by 4/16/2017

    Speaking of pizza.. Here is the best pizza we've had: Starita, Naples Italy

    Checkout our Food Coupons App for Android and iOS.

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    Promo Code: SWISH
    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: March 20, 2017 6:40 AM 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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