The holiday season is bearing down on us, and so are the biggest shopping days and most unbeatable sales of the year. Black Friday 2022 is shaping up to be an event to rival Amazon Prime Day (yes, both of ‘em!), and it’s less than a month away.
In a year marked by massive inflation and the aftershocks of an epic supply chain crisis, it's more crucial than ever to devise a smart strategy to maximize savings and really stretch your dollars this Black Friday.
Shopping Strategies for Black Friday
Do your research: Ramhold advises to make a list of items you're interested in buying, then note their current prices at the retailers you like to shop. That way, you’ll be able to spot a great Black Friday deal as soon as you see it. “The most important thing is to know exactly what you want. What specs you want in a TV or laptop and which headphones you want,” says Kristin McGrath, shopping expert with RetailMeNot. “Consumers shouldn’t assume that just because a product is discounted that it’s the best price out there. I recommend checking for the product on one to two other retailers to compare the regular price with a potential “sale” price to ensure you’re actually getting the best deal,” echoes Kristen Gall, Retail and Shopping Expert for Rakuten.
Stay on top of the ads: Black Friday ads are already coming out, so pay attention, says Ramhold. “It may be helpful to follow your favorite retailers on social media and sign up for their email newsletters as well, since they may announce the ad release that way as well as other important details, like when the sales will begin.” Gall calls the ads “your Black Friday road map for deals.”
Check out holiday price guarantees. Have a few favorite retailers? “Check to see if they're offering any kind of price match or guarantee for Black Friday,” advises Julie Ramhold, Consumer Analyst with DealNews.com. The idea is that you’ll know if you can request your preferred retailer match the price of a competitor during a Black Friday event, or if you'll have to shop the competitor instead. “And if there's a price guarantee in place, it's good to know that if you buy something early on and it later drops in price if you'll be able to receive a price adjustment for the difference.”
Try to get cash back: “In addition to doing a price comparison, you can ensure you are getting the absolute best price by stacking deals to maximize savings,” says Gall. “Cash Back services like Rakuten allow you to earn cash back on top of sale prices. For extra savings, plan to apply promo codes or digital coupons, and use a rewards credit card to extra earn points or cash back.” RetailMeNot's upcoming Cash Back Day savings event on November 3 and 4 is another opportunity. It’ll feature thousands of deals from top retailers, and the potential to get up to 20% Cash Back at top brands like Best Buy, Samsung, Macy’s, Tarte Cosmetics, Lowe’s, Groupon, StubHub and more.
The best Black Friday 2022 deals to look out for
Let's get down to the nitty-gritty: Gall believes that retailers’ overstock categories will be the biggest predictor of Black Friday gold. That includes “home goods, gardening, and furniture that they may have not gotten rid of during Labor Day Weekend sales,” she says.
But she notes that Black Friday will also focus on “bigger ticket items, such as technology products, including laptops, TVs, and more.” And that seems to be the general consensus: McGrath and Ramhold agree that sales on personal tech items will be the bread and butter of Black Friday 2022. Here are some of the favorites in this race:
Laptops: Ramhold calls these “one of the quintessential Black Friday items” and says, to “watch for prices to drop as low as $90 for things like simple Chromebooks while laptops, in general, could be priced as low as $229 or see discounts up to $800 off.”
Smartphones: Ramhold predicts major retailers will offer the latest Android smartphones and iPhones bundled with gift cards worth hundreds, “which can be used on later purchases and boost the value of these deals.”
TVs: McGrath says to look to the major retailers, and study their Black Friday ads so you can pounce on the TV you want before it’s gone. “Stock sells out quickly on the best-priced sets, and there are always a few headline-making deals that get a ton of hype and sell out in minutes,” she says. “Zero in on the 4K TV you want, have some backups and get ready to shop as soon as the Black Friday sale kicks off.”
Cameras: Expect deals on everything from Instax cameras to DSLRs, says Ramhold.
Apple products: Look out for great deals on Airpods, especially Airpods Pro, which are “still immensely popular, and retailers like Walmart, Amazon, Target and Best Buy will likely offer the lowest price of the year, says McGrath. She also recommends getting ready to pounce on a new Apple Watch Series 8.
Toys: Historically, the best toy sales happen in December, says Ramhold, but “Black Friday toy deals should be pretty big.” She says to expect up to 85% off at major stores.
Kitchen appliances: McGrath says KitchenAid mixers are the products to watch. These are expensive, and Black Friday deals knock the price down to almost affordable for many shoppers. But last year, we saw deals on KitchenAid stand mixers sell out quickly.
What to expect from your favorite retailers this Black Friday
As always, retailers will be competing with each other for your business this Black Friday. While there's much overlap, certain retailers specialize in certain kinds of products.
“Check out Amazon, Walmart, Target and Best Buy for tech. Wayfair and Overstock always offer incredible home goods deals, and Bed Bath & Beyond is also a great destination for the home shopper,” says McGrath as a general rule of thumb.
”Gap, Old Navy and Target lead the pack when it comes to clothing deals. Walmart is alway strong on Black Friday in the toy department. Home Depot and Lowe's don't do as splashy sales as some of the big-box contenders, but they have great values on Black Friday for big-ticket home items, smart home devices, home security bundles, grills, tool sets, power tools and even ladders. They're also some of the best sources of appliance package deals. And do not forget about Kohl's, which often offers extra Kohl's Cash with purchase. Oftentimes they'll have the same price as a competitor on things like small appliances and smartwatches, but also throw in some Kohl's Cash to make the deal sweeter.”
Got all that? Great! Here’s a Black Friday breakdown by retailer.
Amazon: October and early November sales, like Amazon’s Prime Day Early Access Sale, “tend to be dress rehearsals for Black Friday,” says McGrath. So expect some truly compelling deals on TVs and laptops as well as Amazon-owned tech, like the Echo Dot and Fire Stick. “Amazon will likely discount things like Instant Pots up to 35% off. Watch for special promotions to drop the cost of Audible Premium Plus by 60% for three months, or for Amazon to offer a $5 coupon off print book purchases of $20,” adds Ramhold, who notes the importance of a Prime membership this Black Friday. “Prime members have the advantage as their membership can provide early access to select Lightning Deals,” she says. “These are difficult to grab as the very best ones sell out in an instant, so Prime members having an extra window of opportunity to shop is invaluable.” If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get access to new movies, free shipping and two-day shipping on many items. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here.
Walmart: “At Walmart you can find major discounts on items across a wide variety of categories, however, the biggest deals are in tech and home goods,” says Gall, who adds, “Walmart is currently hosting a large fall sale that is continuing into the holiday season.” Ramhold says to look for toys, too, like “Nerf starting at $3, LEGO starting at $7, and board games for as little as $5.”
Kohl’s: “[Kohl’s] has already shared their upcoming holiday deals, which kicked off in early October,” says Gall. “From [now] through Christmas Eve, shoppers will find items on sale or an offer at Kohl’s every single day. The retailer will also be offering a seven-day Black Friday Early Access event and of course, be offering more Kohl’s Cash than ever before.” Ramhold adds, ”Kohl's will take up to 50% off small appliances. Kohl's is especially good for clothing and shoes around this time of year, but it's going to be particularly beneficial to those who shop the store regularly and are familiar with Kohl's Cash, as that is often the element that makes some of the deals so notable.”
Best Buy: “If you’re looking to find early Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals, Best Buy has already begun hosting their early Black Friday Sales event, which runs through October 30th. The retailer is offering huge discounts on technology products such as Apple MacBook Airs, Android phones, and Samsung TVs,” says Gall. Ramhold says to expect “big discounts on iPads, with new models dropping to $279 or less while iPad Pros could be as low as $770.” You can add 4K TVs and AirPods to that list, too.
Macy’s: At this legendary department store, you can expect Black Friday deals on “a little bit of all kinds of things, from toys to dinnerware to clothing to bedding and more,” says Ramhold. “But its standout offers usually revolve around home items and small kitchen appliances, thanks to rebates on the latter that usually make them especially affordable.” Gall adds, “Shoppers can expect incredible savings for Black Friday, from KitchenAid appliances and cookware to bedding and bath essentials to furniture.”
Target: “Target is great for shopping both Black Friday and Cyber Monday,”, especially for Target super fans, says Ramhold. “RedCard members will get extra benefits in the form of 5% back and free 2-day shipping on tons of items as well, on top of Target's already affordable prices. This one is going to be best for toy deals, as we expect to see huge discounts (up to 85% off) as well as BOGO promotions to sweeten the deals.”
Lowe’s and The Home Depot: Looking for deals on tools. Black Friday could be your day. Ramhold says The Home Depot could take up to 50% off tools, while Lowe's could discount specific brands like Craftsman and offer gift cards with select purchase amounts. “Lowe’s is already hosting early Black Friday sales where you can find massive discounts on all home improvement products such as dryers, fans, drills, fridges and so much more,” adds Gall. “Home Depot and Lowe's don't do as splashy sales as some of the big-box contenders, but they have great values on Black Friday for big-ticket home items, smart home devices, home security bundles, grills, tool sets, power tools and even ladders. They're also some of the best sources of appliance package deals,” says McGrath.
Will inflation impact Black Friday this year?
Last year, consumers nearly $9 billion on Black Friday, just slightly less than the year prior — proving that the economic volatility triggered by the pandemic most likely impacted spending habits. Experts say it’s unclear how inflation will affect Black Friday behavior this year, but they have their theories.
“According to our survey, 70% of shoppers are taking inflation into consideration this year,” confirms McGrath. That means people are not necessarily waiting for Black Friday itself to maximize savings, and instead “beginning their holiday shopping earlier than ever in an effort to spread out cash flow,” adds Gall.
To meet this demand, major retailers are already launching big ‘pre-sale’ events leading up to Black Friday. “Spreading out their shopping will help to prevent [consumers’] budgets from taking a hit all at once,” notes Ramhold. One possible caveat? “If starting prices are higher, then that means [potentially] higher deal prices when all is said and done.”
Are supply chain delays and excess inventory still a thing this year?
‘Any supply chain issues we're seeing this year aren't at the same level as those in 2021, but that doesn't mean they're totally gone,” says Ramhold of the pandemic-related shortages and delivery delays we experienced last year. So, barring any worst-case scenarios, we should be fine in that regard,
“Retailers have had a year to plan to avoid the massive delivery delays we saw last year, so shopping Black Friday should leave plenty of time for stuff to arrive before the holidays,” notes McGrath. “But that's assuming no big surprises or snags. Retailers are still overstocked with pandemic-popular items, like small home goods, countertop appliances and casual clothing. So expect good deals in those categories.”