The Truth about Black Friday Sales


Last Update: 10/1/2018

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. With dilution of the term Black Friday, the best sales are saved for the day itself.

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 new and old.

In fact, the opposite is true -  a recent study found that 90% 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 from no names, 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, Cedar Rapids, Iowa as: "Wednesday's 8 o'clock doorbusters"

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

Some Black Friday Deal examples from 2017:

iphone 5s

Hottest Deals

  • Posted by: The Chief

    $100 App Store - iTunes Code with Free $15 Starbucks Gift Card $100.00

    Sale. Target has this $100 App Store - iTunes Code with Free $15 Starbucks Gift Card with free Email Delivery.

    Save Money on Netflix, Apple Music, Audible

    • If you pay for Netflix, Apple Music, or Audible in your iTunes account, add these cards instead of a Credit Card, to save every month!

    Security Tip

    • It is much safer to use these cards than to leave a credit card registered on your iTunes account. Did you know you can remove all credit cards from your iTunes account once it is setup?
    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: May 31, 2020 6:47 AM PDT

  • Posted by: The Chief

    Target $20 gift card with $100 in Baby Supplies/Diaper/Wipes Sale

    Target $20 gift card with $100 in Baby Supplies/Diaper/Wipes Sale using same day services - Items that qualify are marked as such. Expires: 6/6/2020 - Must select same day order services such as in store pickup Extra 5% discount for using Red card.

    • Wipes, feeding, Cleaning products, diapers, and more on sale.

    Target e-gift cards will automatically added to the shopping cart when you purchase qualifying items and select In store pickup.  Do not check out until you see the cards added.  Look for: Promotional Email GiftCard $15

    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: May 30, 2020 11:00 AM PDT

  • Posted by: The Chief

    Expiring Today: Apple Watch Series 5 Sale $299.00 + Free Shipping

    Graduation gift? Amazon has an Apple Watch Series 5 Sale, starting from $299.00 after instant discount. Free Shipping. Save $100 over the Apple Store. Highly rated at 4.9 out of 5 stars.

    Apple Watch Series 5 Smartwatch features an always on Retina display, new WatchOS, new electrical heart sensor. New and Improved health features like on the back of the watch give more accurate heart monitoring as well as unique heart ECG.  Fall sensor and more.

    Sales tax in: All Except AK, DE, MT, NH, OR
    Posted: May 30, 2020 7:00 AM PDT

  • Posted by: The Chief

    Burger King Buy 1 Get 1 Free Coupons 2020

    Burger King has a new round of Burger King Buy 1 Get 1 Free Coupons 2020. Expires: 7/12/2020.

    New Coupons including:

    • Free Whopper Sandwich with purchase of one (BOGO) Code: 6172 Expires: 7/12/2020
    • $8.99 for 2 Whopper Sandwiches & 2 Small Fries, 2 Small Soft Drinks Code: 8971 Expires: 7/12/2020

    Download our Free Food Coupons App for iOS and Android - To Save money with Food wherever YOU are.

    Coupons are valid at participating locations. Please mention coupon before ordering. Not valid with any other promotion. Coupons Not Valid in PR, AK, & HI or outside US.

    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: May 30, 2020 12:01 AM PDT

  • Posted by: The Chief

    Expiring Today: Switch to Sprint New iPhone SE $5/Month Sale

    Sprint+T-Mobile are joining! Best price out of the 4 carriers. Time to switch.

    Sprint has a Switch to Sprint New iPhone SE $5/Month Sale normally $16.67/month with 18 month lease.  Free Next Day Shipping. NO activation fee. Excludes tax. In several colors, some colors are out of stock.

    • New iPhone SE is as fast as the iPhone 11 Pro!

    iPhone 11 $0/month with trade in. (Normally $29.17)

    Sprint will even cover your switching fees up to $650/line.

    • On approved credit
    • At month 18, return it & upgrade to a new model, or buy it (via one lump payment or 6 monthly payments)

    Sprint Unlimited Basic

    • 1 line $60/month, 4 lines $100/month (With autopay discount)
    • DVD quality SD Streaming 480p
    • 500MB LTE Mobile hotspot
    • Free Hulu

    Unlimited talk/text, 2GB Plan only $40/month.

    Sprint is merging with T-Mobile, so the network will only get better.

    With approved credit, 18-month lease & new line of service or eligible upgrade. If you cancel early, remaining balance due.

    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: May 29, 2020 6:28 AM PDT

  • Posted by: The Chief

    Expiring Today: Costco Executive Membership - Free $20 Costco Gift Card $120.00 + Free Shipping

    Costco Executive Membership - Free $20 Costco Gift Card for a limited time.

    • Executive Member ship adds 2% reward on eligible purchases and extra benefits
    • Or: Gold Star Membership $60 with free $10 Costco Shop Card

    Costco is a great place to find good deals on food, electronics, home products, liquor, tires, eyeglasses, and more. Their return policy lets you return anything at anytime. Electronics are limited to 90 days. Join the 100 million members.

    Posted: May 28, 2020 9:00 AM PDT

We look back at last year to see what was in sale.  Why?  Because this year, we should see similar types of promotions.

Apple Black Friday Deals

Apple had these promotions:

  • Up to $50 Apple Gift Card when you order iPhone
  • Up to $100 Apple Gift Card when you buy selected iPad models
  • $25 Apple Gift Card for Apple Watch purchase
  • $150 Apple Gift Card for select Mac computers
  • $25 Apple Gift Card for Apple TV purchase

Apple offered similar promotions the previous year, but at least increased the iPad gift card amount. The Apple deals at other stores including Best Buy, Target, etc where far superior to the Apple Store.

So - one would think the best strategy for Apple products 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 Sales

Gap has a “50% off Everything” sale. 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 general merchandise.

Black Friday Laptop Deals

Black Friday is a great time to buy a new laptop. Most of the deals were on lower end, budget notebooks. Here were the top items on sale then.

PC Laptops

Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/23/17 Thursday 11am ET

Dell Small Business Doorbusters - 11/23/17 Thursday 11am EST

Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/23/17 Thursday 6pm ET

  • Inspiron 14 3000 Notebook Celeron 2GB/32GB Windows 10 $129.99 ($249.99) Free Shipping

Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/23/17 Thursday 9pm ET

Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/24/17 Friday 8am ET

Dell Small Business Doorbusters - 11/24/17 Friday 8am EST


Black Friday Video Game Deals

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.



  • Best deal: PS4 1TB System $199 free shipping ($300) plus Free $50 Gamestop Gift Card!

Xbox One S

Microsoft Store:



Black Friday HDTV Deals

TVs are always a bright spot for Black Friday. Some of the best deals can be had then.


Best Buy Doorbuster


Black Friday Smartphone Deals

Everyone wants a better phone, Black Friday is a great time to upgrade.

AT&T Wireless

Best Buy:

iPhone Deals


  • In store: iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Free $250 Gift Card with qualified activation - AT&T, Sprint, Verizon


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?

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


One response to “The Truth about Black Friday Sales”

  1. Elly says:

    This is both street smart and intelligent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.