Black Friday, the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, is just a week and a half away -- which means consumers are gearing up to do some shopping.
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For many, it means braving the cold to hit the stores in the wee hours of the morning, or staying in and trolling the Internet for deals. This year, it also means shopping the sales ahead of Black Friday, since the shopping season kicks off earlier and earlier every year.
“November 1 was when the deals started to come out,” says Phong Vu, chief executive of DealScience.com, a Website that aims to help consumers shop more intelligently. “The deals coming down the pike are quite similar to last year, although some retailers are being a little more aggressive.”
Whether your gift giving includes a flat panel TV or the latest toy, experts say you can save double digit percentages this holiday season.
Brand name TVs
One of the quintessential Black Friday deals has always been the flat panel TV. In years past, retailers used it as a doorbuster deal, a way to lure you in and then get you to spend more, but Mark LoCastro, a spokesman for DealNews, says deeply discounted TVs will be offered for just a handful of customers.
“A lot of door busters in the stores are now happening online,” he says.
So what should you expect to pay for a flat panel TV? Target will be selling an Element 40" 1080p LCD HDTV for $119, while Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) will be hawking a Panasonic 50" 1080p LED LCD HDTV for $200. According to LoCastro, Best Buy’s offer will be the best deal of the season. Keep in mind, these two examples are doorbuster sales, which means limited quantities.
The holiday season has traditionally been the time to stock up on apparel, whether its designer jeans or winter apparel, and that is expected to hold true this year as well. What will make it more palatable is the discounts, which DealScience.com predicts will be anywhere from 20% to 50%, depending on where you shop. According to DealScience.com, shoppers to Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lane Bryant should see 50% off site wide deals at some point in late November and early December, while The Gap (NYSE:GPS) will likely offer deals between 20% to 40% off and Banana Republic will offer site wide discounts of 35% to 45%. At Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS), DealScience.com predicts shoppers will see 25% to 30% off deals in late November and early December while JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) is likely to offer 30% off deals and Macy’s (NYSE:M) will release 10% to 20% off promo codes and a “rare” 25% off around Cyber Monday.
Black Friday hasn’t always been the best time to stock up on all the toys you’ll need for the holidays, but things are changing this year, says LoCastro. “In the past we recommended you skip Black Friday and shop for toys in December,” he says. But this year there are some “fantastic deals” for Black Friday, which means you’ll have to brave the crowds or jump online to save big.
When it comes to laptop computers, there is no better time to shop than Black Friday, says LoCastro. He says shoppers will be able to get their hands-on ultra-portable machines for around $450. Budget laptops that have simple word processing and Web browsing capabilities will cost around $100. Staples, for example, will have an Asus Intel Laptop for $100. Even a really high end laptop won’t cost a bundle. DealNews predicts high end laptops will sell for around $650.