Black Friday arrives on Friday, November 23. Do you plan to join the frenzied early sales with hundreds of your fellow consumers, scour the Internet for online bargains as soon as you've digested your Thanksgiving turkey, or wait until the first shopping wave dies down and take your chances a little later in the day?
Whatever your strategy, a battle plan is important – and battle planning requires reconnaissance. Here are a few Black Friday predictions to consider as you formulate your plans.
Spending Increases – Here's an easy prediction – people will spend more over the period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday than they did last year. BestBlackFriday.com predicts an average spending of $340.33 per consumer, up almost $5 from last year.
The online spending component is exploding. Last year marked the first time that Black Friday online shopping topped $5 billion. BestBlackFriday.com predicts $5.8 billion, an increase of more than 15%.
What's your spending limit? Set one before you shop, or you'll regret the post-holiday bills. If you want more credit, check out our list of credit card offers.
Earlier Ad Leaks, and More of Them – Black Friday is early this year. Ad leaks will be, too. By the time you read this, many major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy are likely to have released early-November ad leaks, ahead of the deluge in the week prior to Black Friday.
The Biggest Retailers Won't Have the Lowest Discounts – The 800-pound gorillas of commerce – Walmart and Amazon – are predicted to have average discounts of 30%-35% and 35%-40%, respectively. Target matches the 35%-40% expectations for Amazon's discounts. That's not bad – but, as in past years, other retailers should top those discounts.
Both JCPenney and Kohl's are expected to have average discounts of 65%-70%, the greatest of the major retailers. Sears should provide 50%-55% average discounts, while Macy's comes in at 45%-50%.
While these discounts sound great, ask yourself – discounted from what? The list price for products can be marked up to make the discount appear higher. Consider using websites like CamelCamelCamel that allow you to scan historical pricing and look for inflated seasonal discounts.
Battle in the Toy Aisle – Toys "R" Us is no more. Who will pick up the slack? Expect Amazon, Walmart, and Target to wage a fierce battle for that market share – but don't expect prices to be the lowest on Black Friday. You may find more deals than usual due to increased competition, but most toys reach their lowest prices just prior to Christmas.
Meanwhile, the hottest toys are likely to be gone by Black Friday. If you must follow the herd, buy early and at whatever price you can find.
Black Friday Deals Will Repeat – Wasn't that the same deal as last year? It happens more than you might think. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 that the 2014 and 2015 Black Friday ads from JCPenney, Kohl's, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and Macy's featured 83% of the same products – with 43% at the same price. Smells like overstocks and excessive markup to us.
To check deals that look familiar, consult Black Friday Archive for past years' Black Friday ads from major retailers. (If you can consult your own collection of fourteen years of advertising flyers, seek help. It's intervention time.)
Last year's overall holiday sales (November and December) reached nearly $688 billion, and the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts 2018 holiday sales will reach almost $721 billion. Start your holiday spending with a solid Black Friday strategy and get the greatest value for your shopping dollar. You don't have to fulfill the NRF's prediction by yourself.
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