The Truth Behind 5 Black Friday Myths
The leaked ads. The long lines. The 4 a.m. alarm. Does Black Friday live up to its hype?
Editor-in-Chief of DealNews.com Dan de Grandpre regards Black Friday specials as "both a gimmick and legit." Many items are tagged with their lowest prices of the year and the quantity of Black Friday promotions, deals, coupons, and mobile bargains keeps growing.
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But reserving all your holiday shopping for Black Friday specials isn't necessary or wise. De Grandpre recommends shopping throughout "Black November," when super sales pop up on most days. You'll also find money-saving deals right before Christmas.
Let's bust five myths about Black Friday 2012.
Myth #1: Black Friday sales start the day after Thanksgiving.
Truth: Many online vendors begin offering Black Friday specials on Thanksgiving Day. According to DealNews, a number of major retailers start their sales as early as two weeks beforehand. This year, for instance, Amazon's Black Friday sale begins on Nov. 19 and Kohl's will launch its online Black Friday specials on Nov. 21 at 12:01am. The take away: It's not unusual for products to sell out before Black Friday has officially begun, so stay on top of the deals to avoid walking away empty-handed.
Myth #2: Shopping on Black Friday is no different from shopping any other day of the year.
Truth: Black Friday is too chaotic to browse leisurely. You need a strategy, which starts with a list in hand before setting foot in a store. Without well-defined goals you're more likely to make impulse buys on those so-called must-have items tagged with Black Friday specials' low-low prices. You can avoid falling into this trap by researching every item on your list so you know where to score the best deal. There are plenty of price comparison apps to choose among; arm yourself with at least one. For example, the PriceGrabber has a barcode reader that lets you compare prices across a set of retailers. Our post on Black Friday apps highlights a few more.
Myth #3: There's no need to go to the brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday.
Truth: Steve Krenzer, President of PriceGrabber.com, admits that most Black Friday specials are available online but notes that some retailers still offer deals only at physical stores. Many "doorbuster" deals -- offers with limited availability and quantity -- are in-store only, like those you'll find at Staples this year.
Myth #4: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the only major shopping days of the year.
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Truth: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not the be-all, end-all of sales. Brent Shelton, spokesperson for FatWallet.com, says many of the most popular shopping days of the year fall after these dates. For the past seven years, however, Black Friday has grossed retailers their greatest one-day profits, according to ShopperTrak. But retailers don't depend only on Black Friday to boost sales. ShopperTrak notes that transactions recorded between Thanksgiving and Christmas make up 20 percent of retailers' annual take. Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas, is generally the second biggest shopping day of the year. And Green Monday, the Monday following Cyber Monday, is inching its way toward becoming a top shopping day.
Myth #5: Black Friday offers the best specials period.
Truth: Not true. Toys are generally cheaper starting on Cyber Monday and winter clothing is less expensive in January. Holiday dιcor is cheaper closer to Christmas, although the selection is limited. (Remember, seasonal items are always a better deal out of season.) As for electronics, lower-end products are typically discounted on Black Friday while brand-name items usually undergo cuts closer to Christmas, according to Bundle.com. Shelton says some HDTVs of lesser-known brands are super cheap on Black Friday and Cyber Monday but the very best deals on HDTVs show up shortly before the Super Bowl.