By: Dannie Phan | August 18th, 2020
As summertime comes to an end and kids head back to school, many shoppers’ thoughts turn towards planning the coming holidays, including shopping for gifts. This year, everything is complicated thanks to COVID-19, and holiday shopping could be no different.
But what about Black Friday? Will there still be a Black Friday? Sure there will be, we haven’t suffered an apocalypse just yet. Still, the annual shopping day may look a little different this season.
What is Black Friday
Black Friday, also called Big Friday in some countries, refers the day after Thanksgiving in the US which has become the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season. In 2020 the shopping event will fall on November 27. Historically, the term and the day weren’t associated with shopping and good deals at all. Black Friday is a term associated with a 19th-century gold market crash, and then with an annually chaotic day in Philadelphia before an Army-Navy football game.
However, as shopping became more of a focus on Black Friday, the name became associated with retailers getting “back to black” (as in the black ink accountants use to denote a profit margin). In the past few decades shopping on Thanksgiving weekend and on Black Friday, in particular, has become a bigger and bigger part of people’s holiday plans.
Retailers now spread “Black Friday” deals over several days throughout the week before and after Thanksgiving weekend. Some shoppers line up in front of stores hours before opening time to be the first to gather up their favorite goods marked at a deep discount for the event. Huge crowds rush to stores, and it’s not unheard of for fights to break out between shoppers over prized items. The stakes are high.
Is Black Friday unique to the US?
No matter how far back you trace Black Friday’s origins, it’s definitely a US phenomenon. However, many countries across the globe have caught on to this trend and are drawing people in with their Black Friday sales.
How does Black Friday compare to Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday?
Black Friday isn’t limited to one day anymore. Other associated days have earned their own shopping holiday nicknames, like Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, falling on the first Saturday and Monday after Thanksgiving, respectively. In fact, in the past few years Cyber Monday, during which online retailers offer their best e-commerce deals, has surpassed Black Friday as the biggest shopping day of the year.
Some stores also open their doors on Thanksgiving Day itself, although it’s a contentious topic, as many people would rather see the day retained as a family holiday and organize boycotts to shopping on the holiday.
Will Black Friday shopping continue on as normal this year? Likely not – how could it, really? Considering the concerns surrounding COVID-19, there won’t (or shouldn’t) be the same draw for crowds to gather in huge numbers to pack a physical store on the busiest shopping day of the year.
Still, Black Friday is not dead. In recent years there were plenty of deals available through online shopping, and with recent commercial shutdowns, retailers have become adept at offering other options, like curbside pickup, to avoid physical contact with large numbers of people.
Major retailers are already starting to spread the word about deals to come on the big day. With things changing to focus even more on online sales, what are the methods for scooping up the biggest deals?
How to Get the Best Black Friday Deals
To get the most out of the Black Friday sales, you should be prepared ahead of time: know what’s on your list and when it goes on sale to scoop the best deals, because there will be competition for the best deals, even in an online setting.
Stores don’t keep their doorbuster sales secret – research your items so you can focus on getting exactly what you want. Looking for a new laptop? In past years Amazon’s had some of the sweetest deals. Looking for a 4K TV to watch the Christmas firelog this year? Try BestBuy or Walmart. Phone deals on Samsung Galaxy Android phones and Apple products like the iPhone 11 are best found from BestBuy or Amazon, as the Apple Store usually doesn’t offer great big sales. Home Depot has been known to offer up to 40% off of appliances.
Nearly every store will offer some kind of discount, but some will be better steals than others. Many department stores will continue with sales between Black Friday and Christmas, so if the deal doesn’t look worth your while, consider putting the purchase off until you find a better one.
If you find the perfect deal, consider trying a smartphone flyer app, like Flipp, which can put mobile phones to work organizing all the sales you want to hit.
Don’t forget to make use of gift cards to amp up your savings. That long-forgotten gift card at the bottom of your desk drawer could save you those couple extra bucks that make the deal worthwhile. Some websites sell discounted gift cards to savvy shoppers that could help make your Black Friday a success.
Is Black Friday the Best Day to Shop?
Black Friday has become a big deal for a reason. Motivated companies and excited customers have created a perfect storm, and many big discounts are offered specifically on Black Friday. Many others will offer deals between the Monday before the shopping holiday, and through the week after Thanksgiving, so don’t focus too much on a single day.
Here’s where your research will come in handy: is Black Friday really worth all the fuss for you to bust out your credit card on a holiday weekend? It depends on what you’re looking for and what kind of deals are being offered. Since many of the deals will be moving online this year, you can take advantage of the sales without the panic and big crowds, so that may tip the scales for you.
There will be more sales between Black Friday through the end of December for you to get your Christmas shopping done, you can count on it. November 27 may offer the very best deals on the items on your loved ones’ holiday wish lists, but some professionals suggest waiting until December 27 for items you don’t plan to gift, will get you much better prices.
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