Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) is a key destination for millions of holiday shoppers not only because of its massive variety -- you can get hundreds of millions of items on its site -- but also because it offers some of the best deals (not to mention free shipping if you're an Amazon Prime member).
The e-commerce giant got a jump on the holiday shopping season this year by launching some of its Black Friday deals as early as Nov. 17. But huge selection, free shipping, and great deals aside, there are still some gifts that you're simply better off not buying Amazon. Here's a quick rundown for this year.
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It's smart to buy your smartphone elsewhere
Yes, Amazon does sell lots of smartphones. The problem is that many of them are sold through third-party vendors -- as opposed to the manufacturers themselves -- and that means some of the phones are priced above their original retail prices.
Not only are they more expensive, but if you buy a smartphone on Amazon, you could be missing out on some amazing holiday deals being offered by retail stores. For example, Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy are all offering special gift cards -- up to $300 -- when shoppers buy popular smartphones like Apple's new iPhone X, Google's Pixel 2, or the Samsung Galaxy S8 devices.
Just keep in mind that these deals vary by store, come in limited quantities, and also have a few strings attached. For example, you'll have to sign up for Verizon or AT&T if you buy iPhones from Wal-Mart, and you may have to sign up for installment plans that require you to pay back the gift card amount if you switch carriers.
It's also worth scouting out the deals the carriers themselves are offering over the holidays. If you buy two new flagship Samsung, Apple, or LG phones from T-Mobile you'll receive the price of your second phone as a pre-paid gift card (essentially, making the second device free).
Stay away from Amazon for major appliances
Sure, small appliances like coffee makers and air purifiers can be good to purchase on Amazon, but large and expensive appliances are not the website's forte. You'll have a hard, if not impossible, time finding big ticket appliances on Amazon -- and even if you do, they won't be as competitively priced.
Instead, shop the usual suspects like Lowe's, Home Depot, and Best Buy. These retailers offered double-digit percentage discounts on some of their appliances on Black Friday (and will likely have more deals throughout the holiday season), so shop the ads to find the best deals -- just don't waste your time on Amazon.
Leave the jewelry to the professionals
Jewelry is always a popular gift idea for the holidays, and while Amazon does sell jewelry -- and even has holiday deals happening right now -- it's probably best to go the old-fashioned route for these special gifts and get them in a store.
First, you'll know exactly what you're getting and how it looks. Sure, you could say that about anything you buy online, but since jewelry is something that another person -- or yourself, if you're into self-gifting -- will wear, it's best that you see the jewelry in person before you buy it.
This is especially true if you're buying any type of jewelry that's even remotely expensive. Buying a $1,000 necklace on Amazon while you binge-watch Stranger Things isn't going to win you as many points as going into a jewelry store and picking it out.
Gaming is best left to the retailers
And finally, some of the best gaming console deals this year can be found in the major retail stores, and not on Amazon. You can get Microsoft's Xbox One S with 500 GB of memory for only $190 from major retailers starting on Black Friday. Kohl's was offering $45 in store credit with a purchase while Target was offering a $25 gift card.
Of course, Amazon is still a great place to buy many holiday gifts. But if you're looking for any of the items listed above, then stepping into a store -- or buying online from a major retailer -- is probably your best bet.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten is an employee of LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Chris Neiger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Amazon. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2018 $170 calls on Home Depot and longy January 2020 $110 calls on Home Depot. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot, Lowe's, and T-Mobile US. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.