Planning to get in line for Black Friday? Expecting to spend next Monday glued to your computer? Boy, have we got some big advice for you:
Sleep in on Black Friday and skip the Cyber Monday hype.
That was the results of our exhaustive research into historical prices of holiday items over the past two years. We found that the deals you see aren’t deals at all. Nine of the 11 major consumer product categories averaged a lower price during this week leading up to Black Friday and the week right before Christmas.
We tracked millions of price movements from dozens of the top retailers—including Amazon, Best Buy, Sears, Walmart and more– during the 2010 and 2011 holiday shopping season. From all that data we compiled a list of products you’re better off buying at other times during the holidays.
Here’s what to buy before Black Friday:
- Cameras: From point-and-shoots to more sophisticated models for professional photographers, the best time to buy is before Black Friday.
- Expected savings: 5 percent, an average of $27.61.
- Espresso Machines: Buy before the holiday season.
- Expected savings: 6 percent, $14.
- Vacuums: Best time to buy: the week before Black Friday.
- Expected savings: 14 percent or $23.
- TVs: To get the lowest price on a TV, the best time to buy is the week leading up to Black Friday. On Black Friday, consumers will see plenty of lesser-known and lower quality TVs offered as doorbusters, but few major brands will go on sale. If a major brand is on sale, you can count on waiting in line for an extremely limited quantity.
- Expected savings: 8 percent, an average of $75.
- Hot toys: Buy those hot toys as early as possible. For toys that might be hot this season, waiting until Black Friday or the peak holiday season can run you the risk of missing out if the product sells out. Even if that hot toy you’re holding off on buying is still in stock later, it can also be much more expensive (no longer offered a discount), sometimes up to 200 percent of its original price, especially if only a few sellers are offering the product.
- Example: Furby, Tickle Me Elmo, Wii U
- Luxury and Staple Items: Buy these as early as possible before the holiday rush. Prices often continue to rise to a high in mid-December and are at a premium during the holiday season:
- Examples: Ugg Boots, Citizen Watch, name brand purses.
The week before Christmas is the best time to buy:
- Blenders and juicers: Although you will find Black Friday deals on blenders, they are mostly the hand-held versions, not your full set-top type.
- Expected savings: 16 percent or an average of $16.50.
- Microwaves: Mid-December is the best time to buy name brands. Cyber Monday only the best time to buy for smaller knock-off and store-owned brands.
- Expected savings: 10 percent, $16.
While most everything you could buy on Black Friday would be better purchased any other time, there are two major exceptions:
- Home Fitness Equipment: Black Friday is a great time to buy exercise equipment like treadmills and exercise bikes. Beware that you could pay quite a bit more buying in the height of the holiday season.
- Expected savings: 30 percent or $81.
- Video Games and Video Game Consoles: Black Friday is a great time to buy. You can also see great deals before and during the holiday season. This is a highly volatile product.
- Expected savings: 16 percent or an average of $30.
Here’s some tips for shopping smart during the holidays:
- Stay in bed on Black Friday and skip the hype of Cyber Monday.
- Buy online for the lowest prices, up to 44 percent lower on popular items.
- Check price predictions (Decide.com shows you the future price of a product up to two weeks in the future). If prices are predicted to drop by a meaningful amount, set an alert on them to catch the price drop.
- Don’t go in blind looking for deals. Have the knowledge or a good smartphone app that can help before making a purchase so you can quickly see if the advertised deal is a real savings or just an advertisement.
- Think about negotiating in-store. Forty-eight percent of retailers will match or beat a lower price online.