What will be HOT for BLACK FRIDAY 2013?
The number of advertised deals in FatWallet’s Black Friday Deal Finder was up 60% in 2012 (27,000+) with more than 110 official ad scans. Add that Thanksgiving Day (again) officially kicked off Black Friday online and was more active than any other day besides Cyber Monday (on FatWallet). Thanksgiving comes late this year, so we should see volatile advertising as retailers have more days in November to drive early sales and less days for shoppers in December. Shoppers can expect the total number of Black Friday deals to eclipse 40,000 in 2013, (50% more than 2012 – not counting Cyber Monday). Walmart Stores president Mike Duke expects Walmart to have it biggest Black Friday ever, by offering a mix of e-commerce and in-store sales and plans to market heavily during NFL games on Thanksgiving (rare!). This will force other retailers to raise their game, leaking ads earlier and hosting more pre-Black Friday sales than we’ve ever seen (see recap of early 2012. Industry analysts are predicting in-store sales to be flat, but we should expect e-commerce to flourish.
Our lead prediction last year was for huge price drops on big screen HDTVs and although it will be hard to top the deals we saw for 50″ TVs under $300 in 2012, we may see 60″ TVs under $400 in 2013. With the PS4 and Xbox One finally released, we should see the PS3 and Xbox 360 prices plummet to under $150 (we saw bundles under $200 last year). Tablets are fast becoming the choice over laptops, so older but still high performing tablet models and laptops will be extremely affordable and some reputable models will dip under $200. But with shutdowns, looming fiscal “cliffs” and fragile consumer confidence, the biggest trend will be budget deals under $20 and expect these in record numbers (see recap). Smart shoppers can purchase everything from quality small appliances to coveted toys for under $20 and still have money to look for that big screen bargain. HOW? By doing their homework!
As we predicted, the 2012 Holiday shopping season was the first time we saw dozens of big screen TVs (50″ and up) on sale for 30-50% off (or more). Smart TV’s, 3D, LED, LCD and Plasma technology were all readily available and purchased in big numbers, although the real steals were more budget models w/o smart technology or WiFi. (Ditto leading up to 2013 Super Bowl.) 2013 will offer much of the same, however we expect many of the thinner, lighter and “smarter” models will be at “good deal” pricing as shoppers who missed last year’s TV sale frenzy will get another crack at upgrading their main TV, possibly bundled with a Netflix or Hulu Plus subscription!
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): …buying 4k TVs. It may seem like you are getting a deal, but as Tom’s Guide puts it, there are virtually no video sources that support this HD technology yet and we may not see 4k prices (currently 2-3x the cost of 1080p) come down much until the Super Bowl, after CES 2014!
Last holiday shopping season, we saw dozens of laptop models become available for under $400 and many under $200 for 50% or better savings and holiday shoppers can expect to see similar pricing on 14-15″ laptops again and perhaps even in early November. And as desktops all but disappear and the general public turns to tablets for their daily communication and entertainment, we expect to see some attractive price drops on 17″ models and some older ultrabook/hybrid laptops as shoppers will be looking to upgrade their main computer with a Black Friday deal.
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): Any laptop that has older Celeron CPUs, and a max of 2GB of ram. Beyond basic web browsing, and email, these machines tend run significantly slower, and lack basic things like HDMI. Even under $200, you can find a tablet that will rival needs and performance of these models, unless you just like laptop styles.
Last year the Android tablets, along with the Kindle and Nook (being considered tablets), found their place beside the iPad as legitimate holiday competition. With a Google Nexus 7 price under $200 and the iPad 2 at a final cost under $300 in 2012, it’s safe to say we’ll see more of this kind of pricing in 2013. And with new iPads, Kindles and other Android tablets being made as we speak, plus the outbreak of “Phablets” like the popular Galaxy Note III and just announced Sony Xperia Z1, last years tablet models should see sharp price reductions across the board, making it the perfect holiday shopping season for tablet-less consumers to get in the game.
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): Like cell phones (below), avoid buying very low end Android devices. They are usually running older OS, and performance is slow, which may impact your experience/enjoyment with the device, and any new coveted apps could have performance issues.
Apple’s iPhone 5S will influence this year’s holiday smartphone purchases. With this and expected discounts on iPhone 5C (and iPhone 4S), some analysts are forecasting 30+ million iPhones to sell by the end of September, meaning Black Friday may not be about cell phones deals as much as it may be about accessory deals…at least for Apple peeps. But as predicted in our TABLET/iPAD recap, “phablets” (those really huge smartphones, so fun to watch smaller hands try to manage:) are prime for a one-weekend “price reduced” competition (including Samsung’s Galaxy Note models, Sony Xperia Z Ultra, ZLPPO i6, and hopefully, the awesome Asus FonePad 7 will surface stateside). We expect these will creep into FatWallet’s Black Friday Deal Finder for 2013 with some attractive discounts.
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): …very low end Android devices running older OS, as performance is lackluster at best. If you are looking for a cheap no contract phone, check out Lumia 520 or the soon to be released Lumia 525. Performance for both of these phones is very good and you’ll get them around $80-$100 on Black Friday.
The best “deals” weren’t necessarily the “most popular”…expect this trend to continue this year. Only 5 toy deals made our list from Toys R Us’ “Fabulous 15 for 2012″. Choice may be the key to this market in Black Friday 2013. As Walmart beats Toy R Us to their annual first prediction by surveying 1,000 kids for what they want this holiday (thx to Tiffany Hsu-LATimes), expect more assorted styles and colors on a variety of items and more bundled deals and B1G1-like discounts this year, as well. With more than 150,000 products featured at the 2013 American International Toy Fair (at Parenting.com), it’s overwhelming to try and decide what will stick with holiday shoppers. Some of the hot toys we hope to be competitively priced this year are the Furby Boom, Monster High Dolls and the kids tablet market where Leapfrog’s Leapad Ultra will lead the bunch.
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): Early pricing…DON’T PANIC. There will be a select few gotta-have toys that will sell out, and if this is you, forget deal hunting and buy it! If it isn’t you and your list is flexible, don’t fret as there were over 4,00 toy deals in 2012 and we expect more this year. Take a little time to compare prices and additional savings (like cash back, store discounts and even rebates)…last year Kohl’s, Kmart and Walmart offered some of the best prices on hundreds of toys with added advantages if you’re a card holder, doing layaway or price-matching. You’ll have endless options to make toy purchases good deals.
With the new PS4 and Xbox ONE in pre-order overload and the expected hot want for video consoles this coming holiday shopping season (including new games for these new consoles as Hugh Langley from TechRadar points out…they won’t directly play your PS3/x360 formatted discs). Plus, there’s still speculation on available inventory for Christmas after pre-orders have been filled. If there is inventory, we can expect some mild discounts with Xbox ONE and PS4 in holiday bundles, and hailed as the new “do it all” streaming media resources, we can only hope they’ll follow in the footsteps of Google Chromecast and bundle with Netflix. Less bolder predictions would see these very same deals above at even better savings this year, as retailers look to make room for hopeful new console inventory for December.
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): …buying these super cheap games for the PS3 and Xbox 360 thinking they will easily be usable on your new PS4 or Xbox One…they won’t.
It would be safe to say that store sales and bundled deals were some of the most popular Black Friday deals the last few years and we fully expect this to continue in 2013. Look for more 50% store-wide sales, but for limited times and perhaps on limited days, especially on Thanksgiving as stores try to drive even bigger online sales ahead of Friday. Consumers are buying in on bundled sales, especially on home theater and gaming packages as a good way to get shopping done all at once, and these added discounts make it lucrative for the buyer and seller. With new video consoles on pre-order, this trend will continue on Xbox 360 and PS3 bundles this year. We also expect “free in-store gift cards” to be the popular bundle that brings one store’s deal down cheaper than another (plus cash back, which is our little way of bundling every deal on the planet!).
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): …buying bundled deals that look good on the surface, but offer add-ons you don’t really intend to use. The value on the pricing can fool you and you’ll be stuck with a shelf full of accessories you don’t need.
With Government shutdown and looming Debt Ceiling(s) and despite some estimates that consumers will spend more this year, holiday shoppers may be more aware of these kind of extreme savings that help meet their budgets. For the last 3 years, Black Friday deals under $20 have doubled and “Buy One Get One-like” deals were big last year with 690+ related sales (majority under $20 items). Expect this trend to continue, especially for kids clothing, toys, movies, music and video games. Look for another great opportunity to score super cheap flash drives, SD cards and tech accessories for under $5 bucks. Also look for deal sites to make additional discounts, coupons and cash back even easier to find for shoppers that want to stack even more savings to these already crazy low prices.
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): …Buy one get one half off kind of deals we see all year long. However, many B1G1 deals will serve as getting two gifts for the price of one, or two different colored shirts, sweater, jackets, etc. for the price of one.
Last year, we saw some new tactics really take hold, like offering “VIP” members not only a sneak peak, but first shot at their Black Friday Deals online days before Thanksgiving (the real day Black Friday pricing begins), including some of the doorbusters and social media channels joined in this tactic, offering their audiences exclusives and doorbusters just for them. We can expect this to continue and expand into exclusive mobile doorbusters, too! Clothing will still lead the way this year for the shear amount of doorbusters, but shoppers should keep their fingers fast on the trigger for doorbuster like deals on digital cameras, blu-ray players, GPS, and any older tech that is being replaced by tablets, smartphones and media streaming devices. They should also expect increased store-wide discounts for early shoppers, both in-store and online, as retailers compete for the sales from the mad rush.
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): …the hype. Doorbusters, although prices are always some of the lowest we’ll ever see on these products, are usually medium to lower quality items. With that said, if you’re a deal hunter, you can find extremely awesome, limited quantity deals with doorbusters, especially for clothing and home items at $20 or less (many at 75% off or better), it just depends on what you “need” (and we stress “need” to help you avoid having a stable of garage sale items a year down the road).
Most major retailers will have 1,000+ Black Friday deals…and they will price match and offer VIPs/subscribers first shot at these deals in pre-sales…take advantage.
– See Black Friday 2012 Recap of Top Stores
These are the big dogs when it comes to Black Friday deals and low prices, but don’t under estimate online sales and deals from BJ’s Warehouse, Fry’s, TigerDirect, Buydig.com and brands (Aeropastale and Levi’s will simply offer everything store-wide at 50% off). Expect even stronger competition in niche category stores like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Adorama and the like this year as well. With early predictions for a slower buying holiday season, the competition will be fierce and we expect Thanksgiving Day, even the week leading up to Black Friday to be noisy, and hopefully worth it! The early-bird (both store and shopper) may just get the worm this year.
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): …Black Friday comes at it’s latest possible date in November this year, meaning we should see massive attention to early sales. Be patient, as history shows prices keep coming down leading up to Thanksgiving Day, when big buying heats up.
As is every year (notably since Best Buy and Walmart tried to take FatWallet to court…and lose), the big retailers have allowed their Black Friday Ads to leak in early November, exposing extreme deals and doorbuster prices on mostly the major brands’ products. This has pushed some of the mid-level brands to market themselves to the big retailers, gaining their placement in these heavily sought advertisements. Thus we’ve seen the rise of Lenovo, V-tech, Under Armour, Leapfrog and Razor (to name a few) as players in a space normally reserved for just a few big brands. With that said, Apple (especially if the new iPad Mini makes manufacturing deadlines), Samsung, Sony (PS4) and Microsoft (Xbox One) should dominate the media as the “have-to-have” tech gifts again this year. With clothing coming in as the #1 purchase for most Black Friday Shoppers the last few years, expect niche apparel brands like Diesel, Kate Spade, Jos A Bank and Columbia to keep making big strides w/timely online discounting.
AVOID!!! (won’t be a deal): …the typical 20% off that we see every other weekend all year long, unless you have to have it…in that case, make sure you get free shipping and cash back (typically increased for holidays) to make it worth it.
FatWallet’s in-depth series reveals the top products and deals from last year…some you’ll wish you didn’t miss! Featuring expert deal reviews, shopping tips and predictions for 2013, series content is based on sales and shopping activity recorded from FatWallet’s Black Friday Deal Finder (and mobile app) in 2012 which featured 27,000+ deals and doorbusters, 100+ Black Friday ads, and the hot Thanksgiving Day Deals, as well as Cyber Monday Deals from last year.
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