The Truth about Black Friday Sales


Last Update: 9/19/2017

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 2016:

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 2016 Deals

For 2016 Apple had these promotions:

  • Up to $50 Apple Gift Card when you order iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, or iPhone 6s and pay for the phone in full
  • Up to $100 Apple Gift Card when you buy selected iPad models (iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4)
  • $25 Apple Gift Card for Apple Watch Series 1 purchase
  • $150 Apple Gift Card for select Mac computers (offer does not include 2016 MacBook Pro models)
  • $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 in 2017 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 2016 Sales

Gap has a “50% off Everything” sale in 2015 and 2016. 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 2016 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.

Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/24/16 Thursday 6pm EST

Inspiron 11 3000 Note book Celeron 2GB/32GB Windows 10 $99.99 ($199.99) - amazon $178


Samsung 11.6in Chromebook 3 16GB 720p $119 Free Shipping ($199) - amazon $139(4GB Ram)


Asus 13.3" Chromebook Laptop $159.99 Free Shipping ($230) - amazon $229
Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/25/16 Friday 8am EST

Inspiron 15 3000 Notebook Celeron 4GB/500GB $199.99 ($299.99) - amazon $267

Best Buy Doorbuster:

Sold Out: Dell Inspiron 15.6 Core i3 Windows 10 Laptop 6GB/1TB $249.99 Free Shipping ($350) - amazon $419


HP 15z Quad Core AMD E2 APU 15inch Laptop 4GB/1TB Memory $229.99 Free Shipping ($370)


HP 15-ay065 15" Laptop Intel Core i3 6GB 1TB Windows 10 $299.99 Free Shipping. ($469) Item 2273828 - amazon $367

Office Depot:

HP Laptop, 15.6" Touchscreen, Intel Core i5, 8GB Memory, 1TB Hard Drive, Windows 10 $329.99 ($599.99) Free Shipping Model 15-ay195nr

Black Friday 2016 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.

Playstation 4 - PS4

PS4 Slim Uncharted 500GB Bundle $239.99 Free Shipping. Tax only in CA, GA.


PS4 Slim Console with Uncharted 4 $249 with Free $30 Gift Card In Store Only ($330). Free Shipping.

Gamestop Friday only:

PS4 500GB Uncharted 4 Bundle $249.99 ($300) PS4 plus Last of Us Remastered or Rachet & Clank Is Now Sold Out
Best Buy:

PS4 Uncharted 4 Console Bundle with 2 free games $249.99 Free Shipping. ($300) - amazon $249. With no extra game.

Sam's Club:

PS4 Slim 500GB Uncharted 4 Bundle $249 ($299)


Sold out: Xbox One S Battlefield 1 or Minecraft Bundle $249.99 Free Shipping with $40 Gift Card ($300)


eBay Daily Deals has occasionally has discount PS4 consoles.
Playstation 4 Pro - PS4 Pro


PS4 Pro 1TB $369.99 Free Shipping. Tax only in CA, GA.
eBay Daily Deals has occasionally has discount PS4 Pro consoles.

Best Buy:

Sony Dualshock 4 Wireless Controller $39.99 Free Shipping ($60) - amazon $47.
Xbox One S

Microsoft Store:

Xbox One S Console Sale $249 plus free $25 Gift Code


Xbox One 500GB Deep Blue Special Edition with Gears of War 4 $249.99 ($300)


Xbox One S 500GB Battlefield 1 Bundle $249 Free Shipping ($300)

Black Friday 2016 HDTV Deals

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

Most deals were active Thursday 11/24/16 12:01AM PT

1080p LED HDTVs - We Recommend people invest more and get 4K that is futureproof
Note: Stores use unique model numbers, so you cannot directly compare prices. Sale Price - (Original Price)

Walmart: Budget

In store: Element 40in 720p 60Hz HDTV $125 Free Shipping. ($198)
Hisense 40in 720p 60Hz HDTV $125 Free Shipping. ($198) - amazon $177


Element 50in 1080p HDTV $225 Free Shipping. ($368)
Emerson 50in 1080p HDTV $225 Free Shipping. ($368)

Best Buy:

LG 40 1080p HDTV $149.99 Free Shipping.
1080p LED Smart HDTVs

Best Buy Fri Doorbuster:

Sharp 55in 1080p LED Smart TV with Roku $249.99 Free Shipping ($500) - amazon $50.

Best Buy Doorbuster: HOT!

Toshiba 49 4K Smart Ultra HD TV $199.99 ($450) 49L621U - Maybe In store only


Element 43inch Smart 4K Ultra HDTV $199 Free shipping($349) - E4S4316H -
In store:Hot! Hisense 4K 50in Ultra HDTV 60Hz $249.99 Free Shipping - 50CU6000

Black Friday 2016 Smartphone Deals

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


Best Buy Doorbuster:
Samsung S7 or S7 Edge Verizon, ATT or Sprint - Free Gear VR plus $250 Best Buy Gift Card with installment billing
LG G5 4G LTE 32GB Smartphone - Free $300 Best Buy gift card with new activation.

Best Buy:

Samsung S7 S7 Edge - Free Gear VR, up to $250 gift card with installment billing - AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon
Sam's Club:

Samsung S7 Price too low to show


Free iPhone 7 or Samsung S7 when you trade in an eligible phone (iPhone 6S, Samsung S6, etc..)
Free Galaxy S7 + Gear VR & $50 in Oculus Content when you trade in an eligible phone.


$250 Walmart Gift Card on any Apple or Samsung smartphone purchased with AT&T Next or Verizon Device Payment Plan


Best Buy:

iPhone 7 - up to $250 gift card with installment billing - AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. iPhone SE from $9.99/month - AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon


iPhone 7 or 7 Plus $0 down with new installment plan. Free $250 Gift Card


Free iPhone 7 or Samsung S7 when you trade in an eligible phone (iPhone 6S, Samsung S6, etc..)


$250 Walmart Gift Card on any Apple or Samsung smartphone purchased with AT&T Next or Verizon Device Payment Plan

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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