Best and Worst Things to Buy on Black Friday
Electronics will sell out the fastest on Black Friday, says Sara Skirboll, resident Shopping & Trends Expert for RetailMeNot. “If you see a good deal on TVs—Apple TVs and 4Ks are hot!—computers or phones, pick [them] up immediately,” she advises. Electronics are going to be heavily discounted—some up to 40 percent, which means people will start shopping super early.
And then there’s the Apple sale. “Apple’s one and only holiday sale historically happens each Black Friday,” says Kurt “The CyberGuy” Knutsson, senior tech contributing anchor for Fox & Friends.
Apple’s 2019 event featured Apple Store gift cards ranging from $25 to $200 with the purchase of select Apple and Beats products, but note that many third-party retailers had stronger deals with actual discounts rather than bonus gift cards. With new iPhone models out, you can expect deals on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
- Amazon: Holiday Dash! Up to 50% Off Epic Deals Daily
- Best Buy: Early Black Friday Sale!
- Target: Black Friday electronics deals up to 50% off
- Walmart: Get up to 75% off in the pre-Black Friday electronics sale
The gift that keeps on giving? Appliances. They’re one of the best things to buy on Black Friday, says Josh Elledge, founder of SavingsAngel.com. “This is because retailers make more mass orders than they usually stock, and prices drop 40 to 50 percent lower than normal retail.” Savvy shoppers will find items like coffeemakers, air fryers, KitchenAid mixers, slow cookers, toasters, blenders, rice makers and every other must-have kitchen gadget. “Watch for name brands like Instant Pot, Oster, Black & Decker, Farberware, Crock-Pot and Hamilton Beach to go on sale, so you know you’re buying a high-quality product,” Elledge says.
- Best Buy: Save up to 40% off appliance hot deals.
- Home Depot: Up to 40% off with appliance special buys.
- Macy’s: Shop Black Friday Early Access deals on appliances.
- Target: Save $20 off an Instant Pot 6-Quart.
Gearing up for the cold months ahead means getting your winter game on point now. Luckily, thanks to Black Friday, you can keep yourself and your loved ones toasty for less.
Puffers and quilted jackets are a favorite on-sale outerwear essential to keep in mind for big discounts. “Retailers increased the number of these products they stock by 18.7 percent, and so far, discounting and sellouts are behind on last year,” says Katie Smith, retail analysis and insights director at EDITED. “Prices will drop dramatically over Black Friday to help retailers clear overstock.”
- Kohl’s: Get up to 70% off new markdowns.
- Columbia: Black Friday sale! Get 40% off almost everything + free shipping when you spend $99.
- Maurices: Lots of early Black Friday doorbuster deals online on sherpa, fleece and more.
With features like stainless-steel construction, weather-resistant coating and double-vacuum insulation, thermoses are more like performance bottles 2.0 — and we’re putting them high on our list of the best things to buy on Black Friday. “They’re an easy gift item that will be hot this season,” says Rob Boirun, CEO of Reviewstar. “While Yeti is the king in this space, there are plenty of lower-priced options that offer nearly the same quality overall; brands like RTIC, Ozark Trail and IGLOO are comparable alternatives to Yeti but are all under $20. You’ll also find Black Friday deals on the Ozark Trail at Walmart,” he says.
- Bed Bath & Beyond: So many new holiday deals daily! Plus, Take 20% off one item instantly.
- Cabela’s: Black Friday all month long! Up to 50% off!
- REI: Up to 50% off camping and hiking gear!
- S’well: Free personalization on $50+ at S’well bottles.
- YETI: Free shipping!
Blame it on slow sales in September and October, but sneaks tend to take a price dive in November, making them one of the best things to buy on Black Friday, Smith says. You might even get some pumped-up kicks like the Nike Air Max 270 and the Adidas AM4 sneakers for a steal. “Retailers are likely to apply a widespread 20 to 30 percent reduction on full-price styles,” Smith says. The moral is: Shop it like it’s hot. Get an extra discount on sneakers using adidas cash back.
- adidas: Up to 50% off in the early Black Friday sale for Creators Club members.
- Finish Line: Get $15 off $150+.
- Foot Locker: 30% off sitewide + 50% off sale.
If ever there were an excuse to buy some serious arm candy, this it. “Black Friday week is definitely the best time to buy a designer bag,” Smith says. In the past, the most common reduction bracket for Black Friday was 30 to 40 percent off. Shoppers even scored an average of 34 percent off couture brands like Stella McCartney.
- Coach: 50% off select bestsellers + cash back from RetailMeNot!
- Dooney & Bourke: Up to 55% off bestselling gifts for a limited time
- Kate Spade: Up to 60% off in the surprise sale!
If you’re able or willing to travel, know you will find discounts during this time, especially in 2020 for obvious reasons. “Hotels and car rental companies, as well as travel packages, will pump out time-specific sales,” says Travelzoo senior editor Gabe Saglie. “Ski destinations, for example, which see peak visitor numbers December through March, are likely to push Black Friday/Cyber Monday bargains for their ‘need’ periods, which are the first and last few weeks of ski season.”
This means you can score a ski trip for a great price in those “need” periods, which are late November through mid-December and late March through mid-April. Theme parks also have specific “need” periods, such as fall through mid-December, when kids are in school but before the holidays, Saglie says.
- Hotels.com: Get up to 50% off your bookings + an extra 7% off hotels.
What Not to Buy on Black Friday
You may find ads for doorbuster deals on furniture from your local department stores or retailers, but don’t give in to the hype. Black Friday is not the time to buy these items, Knutsson says. Indoor furniture is at its lowest in January and July through August, while the best discounts on patio furniture happen between August and September, he says.
The latest-gen gaming consoles
“One of the sucker deals I usually advise staying away from on Black Friday is the latest-gen gaming consoles,” Boirun says. “These are usually used as bait, as many shoppers want to check them off their lists.” But don’t expect any discounts on new models.
Typically, the best deals on a next-gen console or gaming PC, like Nintendo Switch Lite, will happen the final week before Christmas as a last-minute push. Because there’s plenty of inventory this year, Boirun recommends waiting until then. This Black Friday, you’ll see deals on last year’s gaming consoles, such as the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Contrary to popular belief, buying airline tickets far in advance does not always yield the best airfare. And this goes for booking spring travel on Black Friday. “Wait until after January to purchase airline tickets for spring travel,” Saglie says. The optimum window to lock in airfare for this time of year is about six to eight weeks out. “But flights to sought-after spring break destinations like Orlando and SoCal will likely not come down as you head closer to spring break,” Saglie says.
Although you wouldn’t dare dash your tyke’s dreams of seeing L.O.L. Dolls, Baby Yoda, CurliGirls or Blume Dolls under the tree this year, it’s likely you won’t find any big sales on these items come Black Friday. What you will walk away with? A giant headache after waiting in an endless line to scoop them up. “The best deals on toys are found about two weeks before Christmas, at around 20 to 25 percent off,” Skirboll says.
Word to the wise: If you are on the hunt for this season’s hottest toys, buy them ASAP. Waiting in that long line to buy the toy you’ve been eyeing means it might sell out, she says. Translation: Don’t trade your superhero-parent status for a major meltdown.
You can never go wrong topping a giftee’s stocking with a good ol’ gift card. The best thing about going this route is you can get more value for your money—just not on Black Friday. Gift cards are usually cheaper in December, leading up to Christmas, Knutsson says. For example, iTunes has offered $100 gift cards for $70 to $80, and Boirun says bulk retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club also sell them for less than face value.