By almost all estimates, this Black Friday could be bigger than ever.
Almost 2 million more people are expected to shop this year from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday (November 29), according to the National Retail Federation.
“We look forward to another record-breaking holiday season and Thanksgiving weekend will play an important role,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.
But just because it could be a record-breaking Black Friday doesn’t mean the deals will be bigger.
In fact, sales of some products will not be as good as in previous years.
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For example, video game consoles are in high demand and low supply, which means the markdowns will also be lower if you can buy them at all, according to Julie Ramhold, needs analyst at DealNews.com.
“You will want to buy this PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or S as soon as you get it,” she said. “They’ve been hard to keep in stock for the past year, so they’re selling out in no time.
“If you run the risk of waiting for Black Friday, you might completely miss out on the opportunity,” added Ramhold.
Supply chain disruptions slow the delivery of many popular gift items and make it difficult for retailers to manage inventory during the high season.
According to Casey Runyan, managing editor of Brad’s Deals, an online discount retailer, this could lead to some items only arriving in stores after the holiday hype dies down, which means there could be more favorable discounts.
“At some point, their pending orders will arrive, and they will have much more than they need,” Runyan said. “This is where we can see some great late discounts on marquis products such as televisions, branded kitchen electronics and toys.”
Runyan recommends buying the gifts you need now, but sticking to the checks so you can make adjustments if the price drops in December.
Many retailers are offering additional insurance for early adopters this year (although there are exceptions).
At Target, for example, you can request a price comparison if the price falls before December 24 or earlier; however, the offer only applies to select competitors and the item must be in stock.
Walmart and Best Buy have similar policies, but Best Buy specifically excludes competitor special pricing for Black Friday from the Friday before Thanksgiving to the Monday after Thanksgiving.
“If you want to make sure you don’t have the panicky hunt for last-minute gifts, shop early and then block them, but be aware of the return policy in case you find them at a lower price later,” Runyan advised.
And, as always, there are categories that are never worth buying in November, regardless of the offer.
The best deals right now will be on toys and electronics, especially TVs, tablets, phones and phone accessories, as well as cosmetics and fall clothing.
But the other items are worth the wait, Ramhold said. Outerwear, winter clothing and coats, holiday decorations and exercise equipment will be cheaper in January. Interested in a Peloton bike? They also get significant price cuts.