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6 Things NOT to Buy During Black Friday
Black Friday has long been touted as the best day of the year for snagging the top deals in electronics, appliances and more. Of course, these days the biggest sales don't always take place exclusively on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, deal expert Matt Granite says the holiday shopping season will be kicking off as early as the day after Halloween, and lasting as long as five days after Cyber Monday.
But not all deals are created equal during this shopping season. Here, Granite shares six things not to buy during Black Friday.
Also See: Top Voted Black Friday Deals 2016
Opting for Cyber Monday over Black Friday might equate to better buys on toys this year. During Amazon's weeklong Cyber Monday event last year, we saw half off select toys from brands like Melissa & Doug, My Little Pony, Nerf, Star Wars and others, not to mention up to 40% off select Power Wheels toys, Nickelodeon grabs, and select board games.
That's not to say that retailers weren't offering toy deals last Black Friday — Target ran buy-one-get-one-half-off deals on select brands; Amazon promoted 60% off select Disney apparel and toys; Kohl's touted half off select brands like Fisher-Price and Playskool — it's just that this year's best deals are predicted to pop up later in the season.
"A lot of the toy sales that appear on Black Friday are actually ploys to get people to buy things at full price," says Granite, adding that this year's top deals will likely be found from Green Monday (the second Monday of December) up until Christmas.
An exception to the rule may be Toys "R" Us, which offered Black Friday deals last year of up to 50% off on some big-name brands. Shoppers can also ramp up the savings if they're enrolled in their rewards program.
2. Patio Furniture
A lot of people assume that the winter season is the best time to snag outdoor furniture and accessories; not so, according to the experts.
"They're not giving you those items at a generous discount because it's actually costing the store quite a bit of money to occupy that physical space," says Granite. "You'll still see them on sale because stores assume that people will buy anything, but the discounts on patio sets Black Friday are nowhere near as great as what you'd find Memorial Day or Fourth of July."
Our experts say that Labor Day is another great time to buy patio furniture; savings can be as high as 50% off.
Piggybacking on the above, going all in for a new grill on Black Friday probably isn't the best idea. Our research shows that September is the best time to buy a new grill, with discounts as steep as 70% off. Labor Day is the real winner here. And this is especially true for charcoal grills, which most retailers are itching to dump come September. In June, when the summer season is just getting underway, you might also find discounts in the 30% to 40% range.
4. Anything At the Apple Store
Don't waste your time hitting up the Apple store this year; the tech giant has a reputation for ignoring both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. "Last year, Apple totally snubbed both holidays," says Granite.
The good news? You can still find awesome deals by going through an authorized Apple retailer. Of all of them, Granite says that Best Buy is known for offering some of the most aggressive discounts. Last year, their Apple laptop deals were indeed on point — the 11.6" Apple MacBook Air, for example, was marked down from $899.99 to $779. But when it came to iPad deals, Best Buy got overshadowed by Staples, which offered up to 25% off on select models. Meanwhile, Target dangled Apple TVs for just over $50 (a 25% saving).
It's Cyber Monday, not Black Friday, that's known for storewide sales. So if you're planning on hitting up your favorite clothing store to load up on new threads, doing so digitally on Cyber Monday will probably get you the best deals. According to Granite, history has shown us that stores offering 30% off on Black Friday are very likely to offer 40% off on Cyber Monday. (Retailers like Old Navy and Banana Republic are both known for doing this.)
Amazon has also gotten in on the action — offering 40% off Cole Haan for men, deeply discounted Kenneth Cole bags, and 70% off select Versace watches during Cyber Monday 2014. They followed suit last year, coming through with 65% off select women's cashmere, and steep discounts on a variety of bags.
6. Core Amazon Products
More than a few shoppers were let down by Amazon's Black Friday deals last year, which, on the whole, could only be described as just ok. While some bargains weren't all that bad (like up to 45% off select Samsung and LG TVs), standout deals on some of their core products weren't showcased until Cyber Monday week. This was when we saw a couple of Black Friday repeats, like $99 Kindle Paperwhites and $25 off Amazon Fire TV, along with some much-anticipated deals — like the Amazon Echo marked down by $30, and 30% off the Fire tablet.
We can't say for sure if history will repeat itself, but if last year is any indication, Amazon's best core-product deals will come about on Cyber Monday. It's possible, however, that the Echo will be offered at an all-time low (excluding the $99 pre-order price before it was released) during either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It's been on the market for close to two years now, and the Echo Dot recently went through an upgrade and probably won't be discounted so soon. Last year you could get the Echo for $149 during Cyber Monday, so hopefully we'll see the price drop closer to $120 this year. Amazon also has a history of offering additional savings if you order via an Alexa-enabled device, but there's obviously no guarantee of that.
What About Quality TVs?
We're straddling the fence with this one. When it comes to buying a TV on Black Friday, it sometimes feels like the biggest discounts are on off-brand models.
Last year, Target featured Westinghouse 55" LED HDTVs for $249 (marked down from $599). Similarly, Best Buy was parading 40" Insignia 1080p LED TVs for just $159. These obviously aren't considered top-of-the-line TVs, but for a kids' playroom, it could equate to a great deal.
Of course, not all Black Friday TV deals are for mediocre brands. You could very well get your hands on top-brand models, if you're willing to brave long lines and crowds for true doorbuster deals. Last year, for example, Best Buy was promoting 60" Samsung 2160p 4k Ultra HD Smart LED TVs for $799. Ultimately, though, the real takeaway here is that Black Friday TV deals cover a wide spectrum, so it can really pay to do a bit of homework.
Image courtesy of Thinkstock/Ingram Publishing
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