Tips for Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday, for the tiny amount of people that don’t know, is the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving when retailers begin the holiday shopping season. It was based around the aforementioned “doorbusters”, discounts so impressive that bargain-crazed customers will try to break the doors down before the shop opens – although that won’t be the case this year with social distancing.

The actual date shifts every year, by the day of the week stays the same: it’s always the Friday after Thanksgiving, and like last year it’s later in the month of November.

The official Black Friday date is November 27, 2020, meaning it’s close to Christmas again (under a month before Christmas Day), and that gives you less time to shop online.

That may not seem like a big deal today, but you’ll have to factor in waiting on the best deals, pouncing on the lowest price, and factoring shipping wait times.  

As we’ve highlighted, Black Friday weekend isn’t just a four-day affair, and deals don’t necessarily follow the normal pattern of prime products to be unleashed – you can see new TV deals in the small hours of the morning or a brilliant wearable price slash just after the Thanksgiving turkey is prepped, so shoppers need to be more flexible than ever.

With the outbreak causing retailers to be less specific in their timing for unleashing deals, it could be harder than ever to spot when a new, impressive deal appears.

Last year, online sales accounted for a full 40 percent of the $59 billion in sales amassed over the Black Friday weekend in 2012, and those numbers, paired with lethargic store traffic in the brick-and-mortar sphere mean that the pressure is on to lure customers into the shops. The pressures aren’t set to go away, either, with a recent Nielson survey estimating that just over 50 percent of shoppers are planning on buying something over the internet this year, a statistic up more than 10 percent from last year, compared to just 48 percent of consumers who said they were planning on visiting a “big box” store during this year’s biggest holiday shopping weekend.

New York (CNN)Black Friday as you know it is gone this year at Home Depot.

But don’t fret. The home improvement retailer said it’s just taking a different approach to the annual one-day deep discounts bonanza that occurs the day after Thanksgiving.

Instead of a single day, Home Depot (HD) said it will offer Black Friday discounts for two months, beginning in early November through December.

The retailer, in a statement on its website, said it decided to “reinvent” Black Friday this year in order to reduce stress for consumers who typically rush to stores in droves to grab the best deals. Given the pandemic, the company indicated that maintaining safety was also a factor in its decision.

While the deals will be available both in its stores and online, it said mobile app users will get exclusive early access to some discounts in November.

The move comes at a time when retailers are rethinking their plans for the holiday shopping season as coronavirus cases rise, prompting concerns over crowds in stores.

Even before the pandemic, industry watchers said Black Friday has been losing its relevance with shoppers in recent years.

One reason is because retailers started to spread their deals out over many days instead of just one day. And consumers increasingly have turned to the internet to find even deeper deals than in-store bargains, forcing more holiday shopping to shift online.

“Black Friday has definitely transitioned more into a digital affair in the past five years,” said Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail. “The focal point is not that single day anymore. It’s an event spread out over several days.”

Saunders expects Black Friday will be even more diminished this year, especially if Covid-19 sees a second wave in the fall and winter.

“As a single day, yes, much less relevant than ever this year,” he said.

The bottom line: When it comes to items you have to plug in, Black Friday is probably the best time to get a good deal.

“Most stores will offer similar prices online and in-store, so it’s not really worth it to shop at a physical retail space,” Bonebright said. One exception is Target, which will offer some competitive in-store-only deals.

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