Black Friday is Dead: Welcome to Black November
Shoppers are going to miss out on killer, Black Friday caliber deals throughout November by waiting for doorbusters.
You read that title correctly. Black Friday is dead! Kaput! Finito! Don’t get us wrong, it’s still going to happen on November 29. Giant crowds of shoppers will still ramble aimlessly through stores. Major retailers will still put out a limited stock of highly sought-after doorbusters. Retail employees will still have to work during extended holiday hours.
So what’s been destroyed? In a word: timing. Retailers haven’t just pushed Black Friday into Thanksgiving—Black Friday has already begun. It started the second Halloween ended. The discounts that we have seen over the first week of November have been extremely aggressive, many of which are at Black Friday prices.
Major retailers have no choice but to spread Black Friday sales across the entire month due to a few reasons:
- Shoppers are starting earlier. Consumer survey data from the National Retail Federation and Google show that consumers are starting their shopping even earlier this year, some before Halloween. We saw a similar trend in our Ben’s Bargains Holiday Survey of 2,900 consumers, with nearly half starting long before Black Friday arrives.
- Retailers are making up for weak back-to-school sales. Noted by the L.A. Times, retail sales prior to the holiday season were weak, particularly the back-to-school sales. Weak sales lead to a glut of product inventory, thus retailers have to become more aggressive to move existing stock out of the stores.
- Traditional holiday shopping season is shorter this year. Researchers at Morgan Stanley predicted that holiday sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas will hit a five-year low this year. This prediction is based off a combination of low consumer confidence as well as the fact that the holiday shopping season is six days shorter than it was last year.
These shopping trends have combined to form a torrential downpour of deals released by retailers desperate for consumer attention. Retailers simply can’t wait for Black Friday or even the week of Black Friday this year. Black Friday has become Black November.
So What Deals Have You Missed Already?
Amazon has been at the forefront of this transition. For instance, Amazon recently offered a 15 percent discount on the new Kindle Fire HDX tablet as well as reduced prices on the previous generation Kindle Fire HD and the traditional Kindle.
While it was a one-day only event celebrating the FAA’s recent ruling on portable electronics on planes, the quality of the deal equaled the same discount offered on the Kindle Fire line between Black Friday and early December of 2012. It’s unlikely that pricing will fall any lower during Black Friday, unless it’s an Amazon Gold box event with extremely limited stock.
Other deals that have rivaled 2012 Black Friday pricing include a 50% discount on the LeapFrog LeapPad2 tablet, a 40% discount on a no-contract Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, a 25% release-day discount on Call of Duty: Ghosts, a 35% discount on LEGO Star Wars sets, 70% discounts on REI outerwear and a 40% discount on a Sony VAIO T laptop in the Microsoft store.
“It was sort of inevitable that retailers would push Black Friday deals earlier and earlier since the Internet is always on,” said Ben’s Bargains managing editor Joe Warner. “Since the start of November, Black Friday-quality deals have appeared out of the blue with no association to specific Black Friday promotions. I expect that trend to intensify over the coming weeks.”
When comparing announced pre-Black Friday sales this year versus 2012, retailers have expanded into more product categories. For instance, Walmart focused mainly on discounted home goods during early November 2012, but the retailer has already expanded out to home electronics and toys as of the past week.
Some of the discounts included a $299 42-inch television, $399 50-inch television, $70 tablet and tons of reduced prices on toys. Like last year, Amazon is also matching this shift by running a Countdown to Black Friday Week promotion featuring Lightning deals on televisions, digital cameras, tablets, toys and entertainment.
“Every retailer is getting into it,” Warner said. “If you see a great deal between now and Thanksgiving, don’t wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Chances are it’ll be the last time you see it, and if you do, it won’t get any better.”
Start Shopping Like a Deal Pro
Based on everything we have seen up to this point, the myth that the best sales begin on Black Friday has been busted wide open. If you haven’t started holiday shopping yet, you really need to dive in and take advantage of big savings this month before the deals disappear. Here are some tips to help you along:
Pro Tip 4: If you know exactly what product you want, set up a Deal Alert with us. The second that we post a deal on that product that meets your price point, you will receive an email in your inbox about it.
Pro Tip 6: During the week of Black Friday, wake up in the middle of the night (if you can) to check out the deal feed. Some of the best deals frequently appear before dawn, then get sold out quickly.