Black Friday is coming. Sure, not till the end of November, but you can already hear the hype machine grinding its gears. Best Buy, for example, just kicked off a big sale on Sony and Samsung TVs and other home-theater stuff, with guaranteed Black Friday prices. That means if a price goes any lower between now and Black Friday, you'll get a refund for the difference.
That news may seem at odds with the headline, because you don't have to wait until Black Friday to get a Black Friday deal on those particular items. Indeed, with more and more stores queuing up more and more early sales, the whole notion of "don't buy until Black Friday" feels a little obsolete.
That said, we know from past experience that certain products -- and product categories -- do tend to see major discounts on or around the day after Thanksgiving. So let's take a look at some of the most likely candidates, keeping in mind that you may not have to wait until Black Friday proper to score Black Friday deals. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
Fire TV streamers and Fire tablets. Kindle ereaders. Echo smart speakers and displays. There's no question Amazon will offer major savings on these and other devices -- including brand new ones like the Echo Show 8 and Echo Dot with Clock. The latter, despite the fact that it's not even shipping yet.
My advice: Never, ever pay full price for Amazon gear, most of which goes on sale every month or two, sometimes in line with holidays, sometimes just at random. The Echo Show 5, for example? It's, down from $90 -- same as it was last month.
The only real question is how deep the discounts will be. Come Black Friday, will Amazon match its Prime Day pricing on some or all of its gadgets? Almost certainly. That Echo Show 5 might dip to $60 or even $50. So even if you see various sales between now and Black Friday, I definitely advise waiting.
Apple iPad and Watch
Apple doesn't "celebrate" Black Friday the way other companies do. In 2018, for example, came in the form of gift cards, and it's a safe bet that'll be the story in 2019 as well. Thus you might be able to get, say, a $50 gift card with the purchase of an Apple Watch or $100 with "select" iPads.
However, 2019 marked an interesting year for both these products, as we frequently saw the Apple Watch Series 3 on sale -- from stores like Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart -- for $199 (now its permanent price) and the iPad 9.7 for $249. The latter was recently replaced with the iPad 10.2, which started seeing discounts almost immediately -- even before it started shipping. (As of right now, you can.)
All this is to say: Apple may not discount these items, but many retailers will. They're already doing it. And I'm very confident we'll see the Apple Watch Series 3 for less than $199 and the iPad 9.7 for less than $249. There will be discounts on newer, higher-end models as well, but I always like it when I get former flagship products for all-time-low prices.
In case the aforementioned Best Buy deal wasn't evidence enough, Black Friday always brings out the TV deals. This year, we'll be keeping our eyes on LG's OLED models, Vizio's M and P series and the latest TCL Roku TVs. Of course, as regular Cheapskate readers know, TV deals tend to crop up all through the year now, not just during the holidays. Just a few weeks ago, one of our favorite budget models, the for only the second time. (It's now back up to $548, but you can bet it'll get that low or lower in the weeks to come.)
Very often, the most unbeatable TV deals of the year happen on Black Friday proper, as retail stores make them a featured part of their "doorbuster" events: Super-low prices designed to get you in the door, but usually available only for a limited quantity and usually for lower-end brands and models.
That's all well and good if you're willing to get up early and wait in long lines, but there will plenty of online deals that are nearly as good. In fact, they've already started. (See the intro for news about Best Buy's current promotion.)
Video games and game consoles
In 2018, we had a hard time keeping up with console deals, as it seemed the closer we got to Black Friday (and Cyber Monday, natch), the more we started seeing discounts on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox. Very often these were bundles -- the console plus one or more games -- but often with some of the best prices to date.
Similarly, fall often brings major game releases (remember Red Dead Redemption II and Marvel's Spider-Man last year?), followed by Black Friday sales on those titles. Any game that debuts at $60 (which is most of them) will often see discounts of $15-$25. Indeed, it's already starting: The highly anticipated Jedi: Fallen Order is currently available for preorder for $50.94, around $9 off the retail price. And for a limited time, you can get the Nintendo Switch Lite and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening bundled for $219 with promo code NWD41.
Take note, however, that right after the Thanksgiving weekend, these sales often disappear -- because now retailers can charge full price as holiday-gift demand goes up.
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