If you're reading this, you must be as excited about Black Friday as we are. The predictions for this year's best Black Friday deals are in and retailer ads are proliferating rapidly. So, are the prognosticators correct or are they just getting consumers' hopes up? We tabulated the various predictions and studied this year's ads to see how they match up. It turns out that most Black Friday price predictions seem to be slightly lower than the advertised prices, but not all.
TVs.TVs are always a big deal on Black Friday and this year is sure to be no different. DealNews predicts that the best deals this year will be on 60-inch 1080p LCD TVs, which could go as low as $420. Smaller LCD TVs in the 32- and 42-inch range are expected to go for around $99 and $178, respectively. Brad's Deals is predicting even lower prices, such as a 32-inch 720p LED TV for just $78. The biggest savings this year may be on 4K or ultra-high-definition TVs. Prices are predicted to sink as low as $299.
So, are DealNews and Brad's Deals correct in these predictions? According to the ads we've seen from Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, the answer is yes and no. Among larger TVs there's a 50-inch Panasonic LED HDTV from Best Buy for $199.99, while Walmart boasts a 65-inch Vizio LED HDTV for $648. These prices are not quite what the deal watchers predicted. On the smaller side, predictions seem a little more accurate. Black Friday shoppers can get a 32-inch LED HDTV from Kohl's for $99.99 and a 40-inch LED HDTV from Target for $119. Target also has a 29-inch with the same specs for $79.
Tablets.Websites such as TheBlackFriday.com are predicting that 7- and 8-inch tablets and ereaders will be available for less than $30 on Black Friday. For example, a 7-inch Android tablet may be tagged in the neighborhood of $29.99, according to several sources, although this information hasn't appeared in ads yet. The lowest tablet price we found was $39.99 for a 7-inch RCA from Target and a 7-inch DigiLand tablet from Best Buy.
Apple Products.The Apple Store is expected to host a Black Friday sale, and much like last year it is likely to be underwhelming. The best place to get Apple products for under the tree looks to be other retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. Their prices are predicted to be much lower than Apple's own Black Friday deals, especially when bundled with a store gift card.
Apple has not released its Black Friday discounts, and it's questionable whether the company will do so in advance. So far the Apple deals we've seen include an iPad Mini from Walmart for $199 and the same tablet from Target for $249 plus an $80 Target gift card.
Streaming Devices.As the popularity of streaming soars, streaming media devices are being touted as the gift to buy this year. Prices on these items are expected to start around $19.99 for Chromecast and reach $79.99 for Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. But are these predictions accurate? According to our roundup of Black Friday ads, Target has Chromecast for $24.99 and Apple TV for $89 -- only slightly higher than predicted.
Home Goods.In this category, there are three things to keep an eye on, according to Brad's Deals: Keurig coffee machines, Dyson vacuum cleaners, and KitchenAid mixers. Select Keurig models may be selling for $45, while KitchenAid stand mixers are pinned at less than $199 when combining coupons and rebates. Finally, certain Dyson vacuum cleaners will be available for about $240 (when coupons are applied).
According to the ads we've seen, these predictions are mostly on the money. The cheapest KitchenAid stand mixer is at Target for $199, which matches the Brad's Deals prediction. The cheapest Dyson is an older model from Walmart -- the Dyson DC33 Multi Floor bagless vacuum for $199, which is actually less than predicted. The newer Dyson DC40 is priced at $299.99 at Kohl's in the Black Friday circular. We saw very few Keurig deals in Black Friday ads. Kohl's posted the only one worth mentioning: a Keurig Elite for $99.99.
Toys.Surprisingly we didn't find any specific predictions regarding price discounts on toys. We expect Disney's Frozen and associated merchandise to sell very well this holiday season, along with Marvel superheroes and classic Legos. With no solid predictions, consumers have to wait and see how this category plays out.
More and more retailers are using social media to alert shoppers to Black Friday deals. Twitter, Facebook, email, and even Pinterest will be major sources for finding the best discounts throughout the holiday shopping season. Be sure to follow and like your favorite retailers on social media and join their email lists.