At this point, Black Friday feels as much an American tradition as Thanksgiving. Turkey and Detroit Lions football on Thursday and Doorbuster on Friday.
But in recent years, at least in part because of the pandemic, Black Friday has expanded from one day to an entire sale season. And if you haven’t noticed, it’s already started.
“It actually started in October,” says Louis Ramirez, deals editor at Tom’s Guide.
This year, Amazon added a second Prime Day in October to coincide with its annual July sale. “The way they spun it was, ‘This is for everyone who wants to get their holiday shopping done early,’” says Ramirez. “It opened the floodgates for other retailers to do the same.”
It’s never too late to get great deals. Here’s how trading experts say the rules have changed for Black Friday shoppers, and how to take advantage of it.
Different timelines for each deal
Finding the deal you’re looking for can mean hitting a moving target. “Some of the deals that started in October have expired. Some have come back,” he said. “There will be a new round of deals before the end of the year.”
So how do you know when to act? Depending on where you shop, the sooner you buy, the more likely you are to save.
According to DealNews consumer analyst Julie Ramhold, some stores, including Target, offer guaranteed prices during the holiday season. “If you shop now and the price drops by December 24th, you can get a price adjustment,” she says.
She expects a series of new deals to roll out on Friday, but if it’s currently being advertised as part of a Black Friday sale, it might be wise to rush for discounts. ‘s current discount list is unlikely to change on Friday, she said.
“If we sell out, there’s no guarantee it will be restocked,” says Ramhold. “Black he doesn’t want to sit around for too long on something labeled a Friday deal. If you have the ability, go ahead and hop on it.”
No need to wait in line: “All deals are available online”
Some retailers refer to their Black Friday sales as doorbusters, but experts say there’s no need to storm the place.
“There are always people waiting in line after Thanksgiving dinner, but the situation is reversed. All deals are available online,” says Ramirez.
That’s the landscape for the last few years, says Ramhold. “We saw in-store exclusive deals disappear before the pandemic, but the pandemic really ruined that,” she says.
There may be some exceptions to “meaningful things,” says Ramhold. “The Warehouse Club sells perishable items in-store and may not ship them.”
Otherwise, you are likely to find the same deals online and in stores.
Cyber Monday is no longer a reality
When Black Friday was the domain of big retailers, Cyber Monday was an internet shopping holiday that gave smaller online retailers a chance to take action.
But today, with the likes of Target and Walmart offering online deals all weekend long, it’s unlikely you’ll find anything special or different on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Some retailers will have separate branding for Cyber Monday, while some may create phrases that cover the entire weekend.
“Some stores have different sales every day. No,” says Ramhold.
In short, everyone and their mothers will have their wares on sale all weekend, and probably already. To get the best deals, the retail expert suggests his two big strategies.
- use price tracker: Whether you’re shopping early or just in time for Black Friday, knowing how things usually go can help you decide if you’re getting the best discounts helps. If a site such as CamelCamelCamel shows that the price of the item you’re looking at is near the bottom of its range, you can rest assured that you’re getting a good discount.
- Filter your options: “Make a list of things you want to buy: things you give to others and things you want to buy for yourself,” says Ramirez. “That way, you can stick to your listings and it’s easier to track and compare prices.”
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