How to Beat Black Friday

Black Friday entices everyone, from year-round shopaholics to the more frugal among us. Long-awaited deals on the hottest items bring holiday shoppers out in droves every year. As usual, electronics sales have spiked during the month of November. Top-selling items include Samsung, Apple, and LG TV products. While gadgets take the biggest chunk, home appliances, apparel, and accessories also constitute a large portion of holiday revenue. The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics anticipate that this year more than 164 million consumers will shop over the Thanksgiving weekend into Cyber Monday, with Millennials and Generation Z shoppers leading in digital purchases.  

If you ask these prime demographics, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Best Buy, Macy's, Argos, and Tesco Direct, to name a few, are going to be the right places with the right prices. WalletHub uses comparative data to provide a list of stores with the best promotions. Those offering discounts on electronics get the top bill, with home appliances following. Both online stores and physical shops often make their discounts publicly available before Black Friday even begins, spicing up regular promotions by throwing giveaways, coupons, and other types of sales into the mix.

In-store and online shopping each come with their own perks. Going into a store means that you can inspect and test the product to make sure it fits your requirements, avoiding the frustration that comes with misleading sizes or items that aren’t quite as advertised. This way, flawed products are easier to identify and avoid. Moreover, shops may spring surprise deals and discounts that are exclusively available in-store. Above all, Black Friday shopping with the whole family is still viewed as something of a tradition. Bustling nights spent at the mall with loved ones remain part of a priceless holiday bonding experience for many families.


However, online retail has its own appeal for shoppers. Older generations and TV news coverage give testament to the uniquely stressful atmosphere of a traditional Black Friday - long lines full of tired, irritated people, limited-time offers and rapidly dwindling supplies that make shoppers frantic. Making all of one’s purchases from the comfort of home, away from traffic and the notorious chaos of holiday shopping crowds, holds an obvious allure for many people - especially those for whom gift-buying may be just another to-do item.

There are a few simple steps that will help consumers this year tap into the magic of Black Friday deals without getting overwhelmed. The first step is to make a plan for the next few days. Plan out the items you expect to buy in advance, and be as specific as you can. That way when D-Day comes, you won’t be swayed by persuasive marketing tactics to buy something you don't really want. Set financial limitations and stick to them. Prioritize “must-have” items over “nice-to-have” items. Another tip is to know your products and sellers. A little research goes a long way, helping you compare prices and inform yourself about important product details that might influence your purchasing decisions. For example, if you prioritize longer battery life, buying a Google Pixel 2 XL may be better than purchasing an iPhone X. You can also research previous promotions as most retailers tend to repeat them, and read about the store’s price-match and return policies. Dig around social media sites, newsletters, and other “insider communications” for bargains. Finally, be alert. Check the authenticity of the websites you plan to shop at, as well as the fine print of the deals they are offering. If you are ordering online, don't let delivery schedules and fees take you by surprise.

For many, Black Friday is a mixed bag of incredible deals and unwanted stress. Some careful planning will ensure that you approach this year’s holiday shopping season with a cool head and a clear sense of what you want. Whether you’re braving the crowds outside or curling up with a laptop to buy this season’s hottest items, a smart strategy can make this year’s Black Friday all of the fun with none of the headache.


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