Do you refuse to even think about Christmas shopping until Black Friday arrives on the assumption that the best deals are available then, or maybe just because you are tired of seeing holiday decorations in the stores at the beginning of October? You may want to rethink your strategy. Black Friday certainly can be the best time for deals — but without preparation, you will not be able to take full advantage of them.
Once you have gift ideas in hand, it is time to start checking prices to get reference costs. Some items may already be on sale or go on sale before Black Friday arrives.
How do you know whether Black Friday prices will be better than any reference prices or deals earlier in the year? You can make your best guess based on your own shopping experience, or you can consult websites like BestBlackFriday.com.
BestBlackFriday.com has done some of the work for you through extensive research on ads and prices for thousands of products. Their recently released lists of Black Friday Predictions are categorized by product for easy reference.
Here is a sampling of some of BestBlackFriday.com's predictions for 2015.
- Overall Spending – Black Friday spending is actually predicted to drop over 3% to $8.8 billion as Thanksgiving spending picks up the slack and then some. Thanksgiving spending is expected to rise from $3.19 billion to $3.79 billion.
Online spending will take a much bigger share. Black Friday online spending is expected to rise almost 23% to $1.85 billion and Thanksgiving online spending will rise over 48% to $1.5 billion. Perhaps people are finding better deals online, or they could just be getting tired of camping out by big box stores in order to engage in hand-to-hand combat with rival shoppers.
- Televisions –TVs are traditionally one of the most discounted items as retailers clear out older models and lesser-known brands. 32" HDTVs are predicted to be available for as low at $70, most likely at Amazon, even though WalMart and Target may decide to match. If size matters, various non-premium brands of 50" HDTVs are likely to be available near $175.
- Smartphones – The recently released iPhone 6S should still be available for $99 with a two-year contract, although subsidized contract sales are a dying breed. Without a subsidy, it is predicted to be available for as low as $449 — but not at the Apple store.
- Toys and Games – For your 8-12 year old, how about a LEGO Minecraft Creative Adventures Crafting Box for $39.99? Perhaps they can build a noise-cancelling device to counter your teenager's Guitar Hero Live, expected to be available for $89.99.
- Retailers – Which stores are expected to give the greatest Black Friday discount? Target's expected average discount on Black Friday deals is 35-40%, topping the expected 30-35% average of Wal-Mart and 25-30% of Amazon. However, JCPenney is expected to be the highest at an average Black Friday discount near 60%.
This year, Black Friday falls on November 27th. That may seem far away, but it will be here before you know it. Start your planning now, and use sites like BestBlackFriday.com to keep up on sale developments and other pertinent info.
We end with a word of caution — don't get so caught up in Black Friday planning that you forget about your gift budget. Going into Black Friday with deal and shopping preparations but without goals and budgets is like doing your grocery shopping when you haven't eaten for two days straight. Impulse buying will take over. It will not go well for your wallet, and your stomach will ache when you total up the bill.
Photo ©iStock.com/Catherine Lane>