Does it make sense to shop on Black Friday or — with so many retailers opening even earlier — risk indigestion by hitting the stores on Thanksgiving? Is it worth spending one’s day off going elbow-to-elbow with other shoppers to get to the bottom of the bargain basement? The answer, experts say, depends on what you’re shopping for.
Retailers typically slash prices for Black Friday — and not just for their “doorbuster“ deals. But these discounts tend to apply to lesser-known brands. And if a major brand is on sale, shoppers can count on extremely limited quantity, says Brent Shelton, a spokesman for deal site FatWallet.com. That means, standing in line and — in some cases — camping out overnight. And with six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas — and retailers feeling skittish about wavering consumer confidence ahead of the holidays — doors are opening even earlier the day before.
The biggest discounts tend to be for gadgets, not garments. “Major stores are buying twice as many TVs,” says Dev Shapiro, spokesman for GottaDeal.com, a site that aggregates discounts from various stores. Target has a 50-inch Element high definition TV for $229 — down from $600 — and Sam’s Club has a 70-inch Razor HDTV for $998 — reduced from $1,700. But these are not the most well-known brands in that market, he says. “But if you want a TV for a guest bedroom or a man cave, $229 is nothing,” Shapiro says.
Of course, big-box retailers are enticing shoppers with offers on some of the world’s most popular brands — but only while supplies last. Wal-Mart, for instance, has Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Headphones for $115 (down from $200) as well as deals on the Macbook Air and MacBook Pro. “People are already starting to line up at these stores,” says Shapiro, who has waited overnight himself for Black Friday bargains. “A lot of them don’t have much do. They’re single men, computer nerds and crazies like me.”
But for other holiday shopping, it often makes sense to procrastinate, experts say. Here are five products that may get cheaper after the most hyped shopping day of the year.