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Emac's Bottom Line

Black Friday Not the Best Day for Shopping

A customer gets pepper sprayed in the face by another shopper at a JC Penney in West Michigan, a customer threatens to stab others in line at Kmart in Sacramento, gunfire a few years ago in a Toys R Us in Palm Desert, brawls, assaults and for what?

The competitive retail Super Bowl known as Black Friday—really Black Thursday-- isn’t worth it, says ShopAdvisor.

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While big box chains like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target began Black Friday deals as early as Thanksgiving night, ShopAdvisor, which tracks retail trends, found Black Friday is actually not the best day of the holiday shopping season to get deals.

“Black Friday was among the worst sales days of the 2011 shopping season,” it says.

ShopAdvisor says it tracked the sales prices for 252 toys from “the first day of autumn and found that in the 54 days spanning Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, “the day with the lowest percentage (46%) of products on sale” was Black Friday. It says it drew its list of toys from a database of 6.5 million shoppers who get email or mobile phone alerts when prices drop or out-of-stock products become available.

"Our experience tracking more than a hundred million products shows that although Black Friday may be a good day for shopping, there are 'blacker' days to be found during the holiday shopping season," said Scott Cooper, CEO of ShopAdvisor in a statement.

ShopAdvisor says in a release that instead:

-- Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, was the day with the highest percentage (59%) of products on sale.

-- Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, (about a week after Black Friday) was the second best day with the next largest percentage (57%) of products on sale.

-- Price spikes actually occur on Black Friday 2011--24% of the toys on ShopAdvisor's list were priced above their initial holiday season price.

-- Dec. 23, 2011, two days before Christmas was the day after Black Friday with the most toys (40%) selling at a high, premium price.

ShopAdvisor says in its statement that holiday shoppers should "watch for sudden price drops and avoid price spikes that often last only a day or two before plunging back down to their original price or lower.”

It also says shoppers can expect steep discounts in the two weeks before Christmas, and then again after Dec. 28.

"Avoid day-after-Christmas shopping; wait until Dec. 29. If the toy you are giving does not have to be under the tree on Christmas day, it pays to wait until Dec. 29 when 17% of all the toys in the ShopAdvisor Watchlist were available for 30% less than their pre-Black Friday prices," it says.

Here’s more detail: “National Products' 6 Volt Pink Hummer H2 started the holiday season selling for $186. For two days it dropped as low as $132.  On Thanksgiving Day it spiked to $227, fell to $190 on Black Friday, and then spiked back to $227 eight more times before Christmas day. In between those spikes, shoppers could find it for $160 on six different days,” ShopAdvisor says.

Also, “Hasbro's popular Sesame Street Let's Rock Elmo was a bargain for almost the entire season, selling below its initial holiday season price of $59 on 60 of the next 65 days. The only question for shoppers was how long should they wait for the best deal, which was a 49% discount on Sunday, Dec. 18 when it was available for $29,” it says.

And ShopAdvisor found that “steep discounts of 30% or more begin to appear the Sunday before Thanksgiving. For example, the $117 LEGO Ninjago Fire Temple dropped 38% to $72 for three days from Nov. 18-20.”