In a year when online competition is fierce and brick-and-mortar shops are struggling, major retailers are likely to come out swinging this Black Friday.
Ron Kuntze, a professor of marketing at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, thinks Black Friday 2018 will be big for consumers — big, that is, when it comes to savings and customer service.
To maximize your odds of finding low prices, some deals are worth waiting for until Nov. 23. Based on past sales, here’s what to hold off buying until Black Friday — and what to do if you can’t wait that long.
Don’t buy electronics
We can’t know for sure what deals are coming this year, but in general it’s in your best interest to wait until Black Friday to shop for electronics (or Thanksgiving Day, when many sales actually start).
Black Friday has long been one of the best times to buy a TV. Last year, a 39-inch smart TV was $125 at Walmart. Amazon sold a 49-inch 4K TV for $159.99.
Kuntze says low-priced TVs sell out fast on Black Friday, but some stores continue to honor the sale price online or offer a similar deal on a similar TV. Just keep in mind that TVs with the biggest discounts will likely be models that haven’t sold as well as expected.
Smartphone promotions abound on Black Friday. Kuntze says retailers know you’re likely to buy a lot of extras when you purchase certain electronics, such as phones. So they’re hoping you’ll pick up accessories like cases and chargers, too.
3. Video game consoles
You can usually find video games and video game consoles on the first few pages of Black Friday ads, especially from stores like Target and Best Buy. Retailers have been known to offer all-in-one bundle deals that contain a console, controller and sometimes a game.
But you don’t have to stop shopping
Black Friday is nearly two months away; plenty of other sales will happen between now and then.
If you can’t wait until late November to buy something, or simply don’t want to shop on Black Friday, don’t feel pressured to do so. In fact, Kevin McIntyre, a professor of economics at McDaniel College in Maryland, thinks you shouldn’t wait until Black Friday to buy anything.
“Black Friday is ferociously competitive still, but I’m not convinced that there are any savings to be enjoyed on Black Friday that are unique to late November,” McIntyre says.
He says there are deals to be had throughout the year, so if you see a good sale in the next couple of months, go for it.
If you want to avoid the pressure of finding the best deal altogether, just look for a deal that’s “good enough,” says George John, a professor of marketing at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Determine what a product is worth to you, and if you see it reach that price, buy it.