Mobile Shopping Will Be Bigger Than Ever and Set Records
While we still think shopping on a desktop or laptop is much better than shopping on a mobile device, the truth is many more people are making purchases on Thanksgiving and Black Friday on their smartphones. Last year, shoppers spent $2.11 billion using a mobile device on Black Friday. We think mobile shoppers will spend $2.44 billion in 2018 on Black Friday, which is a tremendous and record-setting total. While you do not have to make a mobile purchase, it does pay to browse various mobile store apps during Thanksgiving week. For example, Amazon regularly lets its mobile users see deals earlier. Others stores post their Black Friday deals previews earlier on their apps.
Shipping Charges Are Easy to Avoid
We have been saying it for years, and we will repeat it for 2018 — Do Not Pay Shipping Charges. Many stores offer free shipping with no minimum order size on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, while others offer free shipping with low minimum order sizes. Two stores to watch out for are Walmart and Amazon. Unless you are a Prime member, you will likely have to pay for shipping for orders $25 and under. At Walmart, you may have to spend at least $35 in order to qualify for free shipping. While we hope both stores implement a better free shipping policy this year, we have our doubts. We expect Best Buy and Target to both offer free shipping with no minimum this year. Other stores like Nordstrom will continue its daily policy of free shipping with no minimum.
The In-Store Only Doorbuster is No Longer Necessary for a Complete Black Friday Experience
As recent as 2013 and 2014, the in-store doorbuster was still an essential part of Black Friday. While stores like Best Buy still have exclusive in-store only doorbusters for a top item or two, others offer every single item online. Since Amazon and eBay now have similar and sometimes better prices on electronics and other top doorbusters, it has kind of opened things up for every retailer to post equal online doorbusters to in-store doorbusters. Regardless, we are not saying to avoid traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Going out on Black Friday is a great experience, and you can still get all of the same deals that way. The good news is going out on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is no longer required to get the best deals, and you can feel comfortable doing all of your shopping online. While you may miss a deal or two, your overall savings will be similar to if you had gone out.
Buy Most of Your Toys in December
From September until Black Friday, you are going to hear a ton about toy lists, toy books, and toy deals on Black Friday. The toy book deals should be avoided and are really just a way to advertise the latest toys. The toy deals on Black Friday, however, are a bit tricky. While some of the prices are pretty good, you should still hold off until December. We have tracked toy deals for nearly a decade, and prices are consistently the best towards the second week of December. Since quantities may be sold out, you should not wait until the day or two before Christmas. We view the sweet spot from December 7 to December 16 this year.
Use Certain Store Credit Cards to Enhance Your Discount
Many store credit cards provide additional discounts and benefits for its cardholders. Our favorite remains the Target REDcard. It provides 5 percent off in-store and online orders. While 5 percent off is solid, the real gold is using it for purchases on Black Friday. In addition to already having some of the best discounts, Target also includes gift cards occasionally with top doorbusters. Using your REDcard for the purchase will allow you to enjoy the sale price, the free gift card, and an additional 5 percent off on top of it all. In addition to store credit cards, many actual credit cards offer great cash back for shopping. Even if it is only an additional 2-3 percent, the savings add up when combining discounts.
Do Not Just Blindly Shop at Only Walmart and Amazon
Walmart and Amazon remain two of our favorite Black Friday stores. Their ad leaks are exciting, and the deals are always really good. The problem is their deals are not always the best for everything, and too many people fall into that trap. While we never discourage shopping at either store, you should be reviewing deals from and shopping at a wide variety of different stores. As mentioned earlier, B&H Photo Video offers some of the best deals we have seen for Apple products and other electronics. Newegg routinely has great deals on electronics, including computers and video games, that many other stores just do not have. Niche clothing stores, including Express and Gap, will probably offer up to 50 percent off the entire store. A well-rounded shopping plan is essential to really get the most out of your Black Friday shopping experience. At least check out all of our posted ad leaks before formulating your final plan.