Is Black Friday Losing Its Appeal?

Black Friday sales are happening weeks before it's actually Black Friday, which has diminished the buzz around this shopping holiday.
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Best Buy line on Black Friday
Consumers look forward to Black Friday as the best time of the year to find great deals on big ticket items, such as TVs, tablets and other electronics. However, in recent years we've seen less excitement among our deal-savviest members, as they learn that Black Friday weekend has become a bit overhyped and diluted.

Black Friday has Become a Month-Long Event

Analysts will argue that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are generating more sales every year, and that it's not losing its appeal among the general population. That might be true, but Slickdealers aren't really the average consumer and that's why they know better than to put all their money on one weekend of the year to buy what they need. Or want. Sometimes the lines are blurry.

In recent years, retailers have launched their sales earlier and earlier, so great deals can be found weeks before Black Friday comes around. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does make Black Friday a bit anticlimactic. If kids started getting Christmas presents in early December, Christmas Day wouldn't be as exciting for them. The same goes for us adults when it comes to finding great bargains. Last year there were 50-inch LED TVs from Panasonic selling for $200 and 65-inch Vizio's for $650 on Black Friday, but those were all doorbusters that very few people were actually able to get. Not to mention the hoops you have to jump through to get them for that price. A couple of weeks before that there were great TV deals that required less effort and you could buy them from the comfort of your home, like this 50-inch 4K Smart TV from Samsung for $800. If you want to buy that TV today, it'll cost you $1,500. Even if your budget only allows for doorbuster-type deals, you can find those during pre-Black Friday sales as well. They will probably not be from well-known brands though.

Black Friday

 Shopping Post Black Friday

What about holding off and seeing what's left after Black Friday and Cyber Monday? It's a very similar situation to pre Black Friday. Not always the same killer deals you see advertised during Black Friday, but still good considering you don't need to deal with people who'd punch you for $5 headphones. User ashcampbell summarizes most Slickdealers sentiments when it comes to Black Friday shopping, saying "I'd rather spend a few bucks more online than deal with people that shop BF."

Most people would probably have passed on the $399 PS4 bundle from Dell last year that included GTA V and The Last of Us: Remastered if they knew there would be $350 bundles available by Christmas. Take this one, for example, that included one game and a Sony wired headset. You could sell the two games from the Black Friday bundle and end up spending less than $350, but is it worth it?

In some cases being patient could pay off, though. eBay had a Black Friday deal on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (i3 64GB) for $699 last year, which was in the top 20 for visited Black Friday deal threads on our site. However, people who waited until December got the same tablet for $599 at Staples thanks to combining a coupon and Visa rebate.

Turning a Good Black Friday Deal Into an Even Better One

target1 There are still situations that can make Black Friday deals as epic as all the marketing hype wants them to seem, it'll just require some effort and some luck. A big money saving tip is to prepare in advance which credit card to use. See which cards you have that offer the most cash back, and which stores qualify for potential extra cash back bonuses. The Discover It card, for example, can net you 10 percent cash back at certain stores every quarter. Target's REDcard will give you 5 percent off anything you buy at Target, and if you have any Target gift cards you bought at a discount, just combine the two and you got yourself a slick deal.

Actually visiting a store on Black Friday can have its advantages though, since seasonal workers may not be up to date on store price matching policies. Slickdealer gopi316 was able to get a 16GB iPad Air 2 plus a $140 Target gift card for $410 total (which really comes out to $270 when you take the gift card into consideration). It was advertised for $499 in Target's ad scan, but he was able to buy it at that price by first getting Target to price match Best Buy's $100 off iPad Air 2s promo and then using his REDcard for an additional 5 percent off. The price match actually went against Target's price match policy during Black Friday, but the store employees weren't aware, and they gave it to him even after double checking with a store manager. Some other people reported getting the same deal, but many more said they were denied the price match.

What the Average Holiday Shopper Doesn't Realize

There are several shopping events throughout the year where certain items are deeply discounted, such as grills during Labor Day and electronics during Black Friday. However, if you know where to look (hint: it begins with "Slick" and end with "deals") you can find amazing deals throughout the year. Want a big TV? We see top brand 60" LED Smart TVs for $900 several times a year, like this one from February. Need a laptop? There are too many to list; just check out how many Frontpage deals we've had in the past six months. The same goes for anything from paper towels to headphones. Great deals can be found all the time. Black Friday can definitely work out in your favor, but don't feel the need to jump on something you're on the fence about, especially since you'll probably see a similar deal again in the near future.

Black Friday Sound Bites From the Community

"BF hasn't been the same the last several years. People used to camp out and queue up, or plan/plot their travel routes. What killed all this is first Wal-Mart went 24 hours, so it became simple to wait inside the nice comfortable store. Then others started opening earlier and earlier. Finally, stores began limiting their door busters to X quantity which was ALWAYS depressingly low compared to the demand. The thrill is gone . . ."  -- VorlonFrog

"Before it always seemed like an experience, now it just seems like shopping on any normal day except that it's dark out. Plus, I've found that you can find (most) of the same deals or even better deals online. And half the time those same or better deals pop up all the time the closer to Christmas it gets. So many times I've bought something on BF thinking I got a great deal...then 2 weeks before Christmas it goes on sale for way cheaper." -- Autumn

"Being a slickdealer for so long, I tend to get great deals all year long. My Black Friday purchases are usually impulse buys. Deals sell out so fast, there's no time to decide or research. Do all your research before and decide which brands you are willing to buy if the right deal comes up. Also, I find that there are better deals during the week rather than just Black Friday. Retailers are having more special sales that it almost seems like Black Friday Week now. I recommend setting some deal alerts on things you are looking to buy. Also keep an eye on the Adscans and make a list to compare prices." -- BostonGirl

"Hard lesson learned - the line going into the store is not the issue, the line checking out is HELL." -- noungning

Image courtesy of ©iStock.com/P_Wel


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About the Author

Johan Mengesha is the Editorial Director at Slickdeals in Los Angeles, Calif. Mengesha has written for print and online media outlets since 2003 and has a journalism degree from Cal State Northridge. Published work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Daily News," the "Daily Sundial" and eHow.com.

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