The Truth about Black Friday Sales

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Last Update: 8/1/2021

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

Covid-19 Pandemic’s Effect on Black Friday

We are in the middle of the Pandemic, so 2021 will not be a normal year.  Here are the main issues affecting shopping:

  • Supply Chain disruptions = Less products available
  • Do not look for Killer deals of yesterday year
  • Make your list and buy early, very early, like in October
  • Expect more in store sales than 2020, but not a return to normal

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 the past:

iphone 5s

Hottest Deals

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 2020 Deals

Apple had these promotions:

  • Free Apple Gift Card up to $150 with select items
  • $50 Gift Card with Apple TV 4K - Free 1 year AppleTV

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 offered same sale on CyberMonday.

 

Gap Extra 50% Off Sale

Old Navy Black Friday 2020 Sales

Old Navy 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  2020 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

Best Buy

 

Black Friday 2020 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 Buy:

 

Black Friday 2020 HDTV Deals

Amazon

 

Black Friday 2020 Smartphone Deals

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

AT&T Wireless

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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