Black Friday traditionally kicks of the holiday shopping season and for many of us, a day of deals and discounts is a holiday unto itself. But before you camp outside of your favorite store in the cold, keep in mind not every sale on this day is the ultimate bargain. Here’s what not to buy on Black Friday.
HDTVs are a hot holiday item, and on Black Friday, retailers will offer them at some of the lowest prices ever seen. DealNews.com, a site that compiles the best online deals, predicts 32” LCD TVs will go for as low as $159 – but these rock-bottom prices will only be available on lower-end brands. High-end HDTVs are actually priced lower in January, before the Super Bowl.
Doorbusters may be the exception, but of course there’s not always enough to go around. Retailers typically advertise extreme deals on a few items just to generate buzz and get shoppers through the doors. For example, last year Best Buy offered a Sharp 42” HDTV for $199 but only 10 sets were guaranteed per store.
While it may be tempting to buy early, DealNews says you can save up to 63% on popular toys by waiting until the two weeks leading up to Christmas for the lowest prices of the season. But of course don’t wait until the last minute. Decide.com, a site that helps consumers know when to buy, warns that some of the most sought-after toys could sell out quickly, rising by as much as 200% if they become scarce.
Looking for something sparkly for that special someone? It may already be too late to get the best price. According to Decide.com, watches and jewelry increase in price steadily from October through December. The best time to buy these items is actually during spring and summer months, when demand is typically lower.
The same goes for luxury items and staples, such as winter clothes. Decide.com tracked prices on a popular style of Ugg boots at the suggested cost of $160. They found the boots sold for as little as $85 in September and October but soared about 59% around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Ask About Price Matching
If you do brave the crowds this Friday morning, just keep in mind that major brick-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy and Target are willing to match the prices of some online competitors like Amazon and WalMart.com.
Too Tired? Shop Online
If you’d rather sleep in (and who’s to blame you) you don’t have to worry about missing the sales. DealNews reports that 70% of in-store Black Friday offers were also available online last year at the same price or less. But don’t assume that just because you submit an online order the item is yours. On high-traffic shopping days like Black Friday, it’s not unusual to find websites that reflect inaccurate inventory or pricing. Last year, Best Buy mistakenly sold discounted, $100 iTunes gift cards at just $60. The orders were cancelled and customers were asked to purchase the cards at the intended $80 price.
Still, online retailers do offer the best prices. Decide.com tracked holiday sales over the last two years and found that electronics, for example, are priced up to 44% cheaper online. In fact, online prices beat in-store competitors 94% of the time on products ranging from TVs to laptops, tablets, cameras, video game consoles and GPS devices.
As always, we want to hear from you. What are you shopping for on Black Friday? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh, using the #finfit hashtag. Happy holidays.
Special Thanks to DealNews, Direct.com and West Side Kids for making this video possible.