Best buys, worst buys on Black Friday 2011
Black Friday 2011 guide: You'll find great deals on second-tier electronics, apparel, and more, but wait a week for the best buys on all but the most popular toys. Avoid jewelry on Black Friday 2011.
With Black Friday 2011 drawing near, you may be wondering how to get the most out of your post-Thanksgiving shopping. It can seem overwhelming, but here are a few tips and a guide to help you take advantage of the best buys and avoid the worst ones.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
1. Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always the best. Indeed, while many products will be deeply discounted on Black Friday 2011 to lure in shoppers and give retailers a boost in the competitive holiday buying season, others won’t be at their lowest prices until later on – some long after the holidays have wrapped.
“Black Friday is about cheap stuff at cheap prices,” says Dan de Grandpre, CEO at dealnews.com. "Appliances will be second tier. You might be able to get a cashmere sweater at Walmart for $15, but it’s not the same cashmere sweater that you’re going to get at Saks. It’s about cheap stuff in every sense of the word.”
2. The best Black Friday buys are going to be on less coveted items, such as dorm room furniture, seldom-used kitchen appliances like fondue pots, lower-end electronics, and non-brand name clothing. Luxury items, like brand name clothes, jewelry, and top-end electronics might be worth a longer wait.
3. Avoid being tied to a specific store. “No one store has the best prices – there will be hits and misses with each one,” DeGrandpre says. “Figure out the products you want, and then do your comparison shopping online before going out.”
4. Make use of the wide array of smartphone apps, which make comparison shopping and looking up inventory at specific stores a breeze – even while waiting in a long checkout line..
5. To get the best prices, you may be better off shopping from home. “So many of the doorbuster deals are on the websites,” de Grandpre says.
Does the prospect of doing your shopping from the couch seem a little unexciting? Happily, you can do your Black Friday shopping online and not miss out on the late-night rush of jostling through the crowds at the bricks-and-mortar stores: Many of the online deals are released in the middle of the night, and they tend to go quickly. Sign up for e-mail and “push” notifications for specific stores, and be ready to wake up.
What should you get on Black Friday, and which things are worth a longer wait? Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular gift categories:
The TVs and laptops you’ll find deeply discounted on Black Friday are cheaper for a reason: they are generally more cheaply manufactured. “It’s a good time to buy a TV for a bedroom or a den, a laptop that will only be used for email,” de Grandpre says.
Amazon.com and Best Buy tend to go head to head in terms of competitive pricing on these items. This year at Best Buy, you can get a 42-inch Sharp HDTV for $200. But be sure to check Walmart as well.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this paragraph reported a 42" Samsung TV for $200, when in fact Best Buy is offering a Sharp HDTV for $200. The correction has been made above.
Target, too, will reportedly have some of the best deals on HDTVs, including a 32’’ Samsung LCD HDTV for $287, as well as competitively priced gaming bundles (they usually include a console, controllers, games, and various accessories), which are key if you want to buy a gaming system over the holidays.
Black Friday is also the Apple Store’s only sale of the year. But the discounts tend to be modest. Cheaper Apple deals are usually available at third party retailers like MacMall and Best Buy, which bundle gift certificates with Apple merchandise.