Black Friday has become more than just one day of shopping. Deals start rolling out on Thanksgiving (sometimes earlier), stretch through the weekend, and take on new life online come Cyber Monday. Lucky for you, we've spent the last couple of weeks uncovering the best Black Friday deals of 2016 at top U.S. retailers, culled from store ads and the advice of shopping experts.
One universal theme from the experts we've talked with is this: Act fast. Attractive prices can post for a brief time, especially on limited-quantity doorbusters. A word of caution, though. Act fast on what you are positive you want. With unfamiliar items, take enough time to compare prices and features. You're not getting a good deal if you snatch up an inferior product or pay more than the store down the street is charging.
Finally, beware browsing items in stores, then automatically assuming you can go home and order them online from Amazon.com for less. Brent Shelton of deals sites FatWallet.com and BFAds.net says Amazon's prices are (so far, at least) on par with other retailers’ Black Friday promotions rather than undercutting them, as many shoppers have come to expect. Shelton recommends using the Amazon app to get deal alerts when items drop in price (opens in new tab).
Take a look at some of the best Black Friday deals we could find.
Amazon's Echo Dot is kind of a big deal at just under $40, says Benjamin Glaser of DealNews. Echo Dot contains the wizardry of Alexa, the nemesis of Apple’s Siri. Both voice-command bots answer to their names and feed their owners info including news, weather, jokes, trivia, kitchen facts, music and more. I’ve been rolling with Echo Dot’s big brother, Amazon Echo, which I bought in July on Amazon Prime Day, and am digging my new housemate.
Says Glaser of Echo Dot’s Black Friday pricing, “Though this is just $10 off, we were not expecting any discounts at all on this recently released second-generation device.”
Meanwhile, Amazon Echo is also going on sale, for $140 (regularly $180). That’s a good deal, but deals experts were expecting Echo’s price to drop by $100. At one point recently, it was selling for as low as $120.
While Amazon e-reader Kindle Paperwhite will be attractively priced at just under $100 – down from $120 – that’s not the lowest price for the device. “It is often available (at Amazon or other stores) for closer to $90,” says Glaser. The expectation? Amazon will likely knock down that price even further on Black Friday.
Amazon's Fire TV Stick with Alexa remote will be priced at $30 for Black Friday. You’ll be saving about 10 bucks on this streaming media device. “This definitely beats our expectations, offering the lowest price we’ve seen yet,” notes DealNews.
Final deals aren’t in yet, but last year, they were a doozy on fashion clothing at Amazon. A 30% off coupon was floated by Amazon in 2015. That coupon was cleared to be stacked with existing sale prices. That meant some lucky shoppers scored 70% off goods from DKNY, Calvin Klein, Steve Madden, Ben Sherman, Kenneth Cole and Nine West.
If you plan to give winter apparel items, such as sweaters, coats and boots, as gifts this holiday season, you'll be able to find many of the best deals on Cyber Monday, says smart shopping expert Andrea Woroch. Typically, e-commerce sites, such as Amazon.com, Zappos.com and 6pm.com, will offer discounts of as much as 60% off sitewide plus free shipping on all purchases, she says.
On Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, deals on clothing and accessories probably won’t be as generous. An important thing worth noting is that free shipping offers available on November 24 and 25 will likely come with a minimum purchase amount. Woroch warns that these types of requirements ". . . are created to get you to increase your order total to qualify for free shipping, which may cause you to spend more than you initially intended."
Amazon is one site you should haunt for Black Friday toy purchases.
Says Kerry Sherin of the deals site Offers.com, “Stock up on Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher Price toys with select toys being on sale for up to 50% off. You'll find the hottest toys like Zoomer Paw Patrol, Hatchimals, and the Nintendo NES Classic still hard to come by.”
Walmart switches on its “Back to the Future” groove with a Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Hoverboard for $273 ($125 off), a Disney Princess Cinderella Royal Dreams dollhouse with furniture for $88 (a $61 savings) and, naturally, Hatchimals, the toy-of-the-moment Walmart is selling for $48.88 (good luck finding any in stock).
Another hoverboard, the TS Swagtron Hoverboard, is $200, available at Toys ‘R’ Us. Hoverboards continue to top many kids’ must-have lists for the holidays, says Shelton. This version, which is regularly priced at $300, is recommended for children ages 8 and up. It’s available in-store only starting at 5 p.m. on November 24. Not surprisingly, Toys ‘R’ Us will have many other deals on hot toys, such as LEGO block sets, available online starting on November 23 at 9 p.m. ET.
Costco is one retail hot spot for Black Friday deals on computers and computer-related items. Check out its sale on a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 bundle, at $250 off. (Costco only releases the dollar-off amounts for its Black Friday sales.) Deals site NerdWallet points this out as a Black Friday bargain. Pay careful attention to what’s included in the Costco bundle and the specifications. The Surface Pro 4 shown on Costco.com comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory and a 256GB hard drive. Microsoft’s recent price on a Pro 4 with similar specs is $1,599, marked down from $1,799.
Also at Costco, check out the 15.6-inch HP Pavilion 15t 1080p touch-screen laptop ($550 off; available online-only). Another bargain, according to NerdWallet. On HP’s online store, Pavilion touch-screen laptops start at $849, but can double in price depending on upgrades.
Costco also offers an Acer 14-inch 1080p IPS Chromebook bundle, at $65 off. DealNews says if you’re in the market for a Chromebook, this might be your package: “We predicted that Chromebooks would drop as low as $95, and while this particular one isn't that low, it's still the best deal we've seen for this model. This particular Chromebook has only dropped as low as $269 at other retailers, and those deals didn't include anything bundled with it. We're expecting this deal, which is bundled with an Acer wireless mouse, to be around $230.”
Walmart has corralled several bargains in the laptops and tablets category, including a 32GB iPad Mini 2 for $199 (saving $70) and “special buys” including a Samsung Chromebook 3 for $119 and a 15.6-inch HP Touch laptop for $249.
According to NerdWallet, Costco will have a slew of TVs at highly competitive prices on sale during Black Friday weekend, including:
- Vizio 70-inch class 4K Ultra HD LED LCD home theater display for $980.
Vizio 65-inch class 4K Ultra HD LED LCD home theater display for $690.
Samsung 65-inch class curved 4K SUHD smart LED LCD TV for $1,580.
Samsung 40-inch class 4K Ultra HD Smart LED LCD TV for $290.
LG 70-inch class 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV for $1,100.
- SEE ALSO: 9 Secrets to Shopping at Best Buy
Shelton of FatWallet.com points to Walmart, which has 11 models in its doorbuster stable. Included in the collection are some red-hot 4K Ultra HDTVs, discounted for the first time this year at Walmart. Walmart’s deals include a Samsung 50-inch Smart 4KTV for $398 (shaving $230 off the regular price) and a “special buy” Phillips 55-inch Smart 4KTV for $298. ("Special buy" TVs may be manufactured exclusively for the retailer and come with fewer features.)
“Traditionally, TVs are one of the best doorbuster deals to try to nab and this year 4K TV doorbusters will be very promising,” says Shelton. “This will be a good year to grab a TV doorbuster and step up to 4K at a big savings if you haven’t already. Expect to see a few stores offer doorbuster discounts on newer curved 4K OLED models, although folks should expect prices well above $1,000 for this new technology.”
Based on personal experience, I’d roll with the 50-inch Samsung for $398. Glaser of DealNews.com agrees: “Not only is this deal $100 less than the best price we've seen for this set before, it's $37 below our Black Friday prediction.”
Meanwhile, on Thanksgiving Day, Best Buy is offering a Toshiba 49-inch 4K UHD Google Cast Smart HDTV for $200. This year, the long-standing electronics retailer will open its doors at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Eager shoppers can pick up this high-definition television for more than half-off the retail price ($450), says Kristin Cook, a shopping expert at BensBargains.com.
Fitness trackers continue to be hot this holiday season, even if it seems like all of your friends and relatives already have one. The Fitbit Alta goes on sale at Kohl’s beginning 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day for $100. Holiday shoppers with a fitness junkie on their gift-giving list will want to take advantage of Kohl’s Black Friday weekend sale. This tracker is regularly priced at $130-$150 depending on model type and can be purchased online or in-store. Sherin notes that shoppers will also be able to earn $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent. That would amount to $30 in Kohl’s Cash with the purchase of this fitness tracker.
Walmart is selling the Fitbit Charge 2 for $129 (saving $20), the Fitbit Alta for $99 (shaving off $30) and a Fitbit Flex 2 for $69 (down $30).
- SEE ALSO: 8 Things Kohl's Shoppers Need to Know
Gaming consoles are always a hot item and usually available at their lowest prices during Black Friday weekend sales, Shelton says.One of the best videogame doorbuster deals he sees is the PlayStation 4 Slim 500GB Uncharted 4: A Thief's End PS4 Bundle for $250 at Kohl’s. This PlayStation 4 system (marked down from $300) comes with a dual shock wireless controller and the Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End game. Shoppers who purchase it will also earn $75 in Kohl’s Cash.
Alternatively, Walmart is selling the PlayStation 4 Slim Uncharted 4 500GB bundle for $249, plus the retailer will throw in a $30 gift card.
Prefer Microsoft over Sony? Costco offers the Xbox One S 500GB “Minecraft” bundle at $50 off. “If this deal hits $240, it will beat our predictions and be the lowest price we’ve seen,” says Glaser of DealNews.com. Microsoft’s suggested retail price on this bundle is $299.
Be warned: Walmart has a gaming console dud in one of its Black Friday bundles: The Xbox 360 500GB Forza Horizon 2 Bundle that’s selling for $129. “We've seen this same bundle for $99,” says Glaser. “Plus, Xbox One bundles will be going for around $200, while the latest Xbox One S bundles are being advertised for $249. So, for value, we suggest saving your money and buying a more current console.”
- SEE ALSO: Best Things to Buy on Cyber Monday 2016
Bob is a Senior Online Editor at Kiplinger.com. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty, and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.
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