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

    Sprint iPhone 11 $0/mo Lease

    Best price out of the 4 carriers. Time to switch. Sprint has an Sprint iPhone 11 $0/mo Lease normally $29.17/month or iPhone 11 Pro 64GB $12.50/mo or 11 Pro Max 64GB $16.67/month and 18 month lease, new line or eligible upgrade and approved credit. Free Shipping. $30 activation fee. Excludes tax.

    • Trade-in select phones in ANY condition and score a discount on the latest iPhone.
    • 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 Plan

    • 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.

    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: September 19, 2019 10:28 AM PDT

  • Posted by: The Chief

    Costco Gold Star Membership + $20 Cash Card Sale + Free Items $60.00 + Free Shipping

    Costco has a $149 value - Costco Gold Star Membership + $20 Cash Card Sale + Free Items promotion. Only $60.00. New Costco members only.

    • A One-Year Costco Gold Star Membership, which includes a membership card for the Primary Cardholder and one additional Household Card for anyone over the age of 18 and living at the same address.
    • A $20 Costco Shop Card (gift card is valid towards any purchase, including gas)
    • Exclusive coupons for the following products ($68.98 value*):
      • Free Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean HE Laundry Detergent Pacs ($17.99 value)
      • Free Kirkland Signature Create-a-Size® Paper Towels ($15.99 value)
      • $10 off Fresh Meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish; excludes deli items)
      • $25 off an order of $250+ on

    Print application and bring to membership desk at any Costco location. Cannot be used to renew existing memberships.

    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. We like the food sampling!

    After buying this, you will receive an email that includes your Costco Membership Activation Certificate which must be activated at an actual Costco Stores. Offer not valid for renewal of an existing or expired Costco membership.

    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: September 18, 2019 8:30 AM PDT

  • Posted by: The Chief

    Free Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas PC + Free Shipping

    Free Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas PC when you download and install the Rockstar Games Launcher (Free).  For a limited time.

    Posted: September 17, 2019 9:50 PM PDT

  • Post by: Team DealRUS

    Staples $20 off $100 Coupon, $50 off PCs - Drives, PCs, Monitors, Chairs, More

    Take advantage of the Staples $20 off $100 Coupon, $50 off PCs - Drives, PCs, Monitors, Chairs, More and more. Some are online and in store, others in store only. [

    • $20 off $80 Coupon Code: 44264 Expires: 9/21/2019 - Exclusions apply
    • $50 off PCs Coupon Code: 14408 - Excludes select HP and all chromebooks

    HP P241V 24" LED monitor $109.99 - $20 off coupon = $89.99 Free Shipping ($139.99)

    Seagate 5TB Backup Plus External Drive $109.99 - $20 coupon = $89.99 Free Shipping ($129.99) $110 at amazon.


    Promo Code: 44264
    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: September 16, 2019 7:01 AM PDT

  • Posted by: The Chief

    Burger King Buy 1 Get 1 Free Coupons 2019

    Burger King has a new round of Burger King Buy 1 Get 1 Free Coupons 2019. Expires: 11/17/2019.

    New Coupons including:

    • Free Whopper Sandwich with purchase of one (BOGO) Code: 6172 Expires: 11/17/2019
    • $8.99 for 2 Whopper Sandwiches, 2 Soft drinks & 2 Small Fries Code: 8971 Expires: 11/17/2019

    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: September 16, 2019 12:01 AM PDT

  • Posted by: The Chief

    $20 off for DoorDash New Customers

    For a limited time! $20 off for DoorDash New Customers - Get $5 off your first 4 DoorDash orders over $10 - Delivery services are available at many new areas now. Max redemption value $15.

    • Hungry? Hit a couple buttons and get food delivered
    • You can also pickup food to avoid delivery fees
    • More Big name restaurants
    • Available in more Cities - Click to check if it is in yours
    Sales tax in: Yes
    Posted: September 15, 2019 12:38 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?

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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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