Black Friday is probably the last thing on your mind right now. But guess what? Fall is just a few days away and retailers are already offering Black Friday-like deals on everything from the new 10.2-inch iPad to the Apple Watch 5.
This year, we're expecting an early Black Friday "creep," meaning retailers will launch their Black Friday deals way in advance. That's because Black Friday will fall on the last week of November, meaning a shorter holiday shopping season. As a result, we predict that Black Friday 2019 will be fast, furious and loaded with tech deals.
We've been covering Black Friday deals for over a decade, and to help you make sense of the season, we're using that expertise to offer our best Black Friday secrets, tips, and all-around advice. We're also making a few price predictions so that you know when you're spotting a good deal and when it's not worth it. So, before you have that last summer BBQ, here's everything you need to know about Black Friday 2019.
When is Black Friday 2019?
Black Friday always takes place the day after Thanksgiving. This year, that'll be Friday, Nov. 29. However, Black Friday sales will begin way sooner than that. They unofficially start on Nov. 1, with some of the best deals taking place the week of Thanksgiving.
Although the name makes Black Friday sound like a one-day sale, retailers have managed to turn the event into a season that stretches from late October through December. It's the most important quarter for retailers, the time when they make the bulk of their sales.
When will we see the first Black Friday ad leaks?
Black Friday is a unique holiday in that it's the only time retailers will intentionally "leak" PDFs of their Black Friday sales. The point is to create hype among consumers. The earliest Black Friday ads usually hit the internet around Halloween. However, buyer beware. Sometimes, the leaks are false and the prices or items listed never actually arrive. Our advice: Take those early Black Friday ad leaks with a grain of salt. If the leak can't be confirmed, then don't bother with it.
What should you buy during Black Friday?
TV deals and laptop deals were once the meat and potatoes of every Black Friday sale. While these devices remain a massive part of Black Friday, retailers have discounted practically all consumer tech during Black Friday in an effort to attract more consumers. As a result, you'll find great deals on headphones, Apple iPads, and consoles, along with discounts on just about everything you can imagine. Historically, however, TVs and laptops get the steepest price cuts.
And while off-brand TVs used to dominate Black Friday sales, these days you can get excellent deals on all types of TVs, from affordable, off-brand models to high-end OLEDs. The same goes for laptops, which in the past have dropped to as low as $99 on Black Friday.
What should you avoid buying on Black Friday?
We're not bluffing when we say that everything goes on sale during Black Friday. So, rather than suggest you avoid a specific category of devices, we're going to show you how to spot the best deals and avoid the gimmicks and much of the hype that surrounds Black Friday.
Examples include vague "doorbuster" and "early bird" deals. If a retailer wants you to get in line at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to get a specific deal, that product is probably going to be available in very limited quantities and you'll have to fight your entire city to get the deal.
In previous years, we've noticed that retailers' "in-store-only" sales have always been available online. In some instances, these deals actually debuted (quietly) online before launching in store. So we suggest you stay home, enjoy that turkey wing, and shop from the comfort of your living room.
Our Black Friday 2019 deal predictions
Amazon Black Friday deals: What to expect
As the world's biggest e-tailer, Amazon will once again dominate Black Friday, with discounts on everything from the site's Music Unlimited service to the latest Echo Dot. For a sneak peek at Amazon's Black Friday deals, we're taking a quick trip back to Prime Day 2019.
Echo Dot: Amazon's entry-level Alexa speaker dropped to $22 on Prime Day. We can't see this device getting any cheaper than $19. Instead, we predict that the company will bundle this speaker free with other Amazon devices.
Fire TV Stick 4K: The 4K version of Amazon's Fire TV Stick dropped to an all-time low of $24.99 on Prime Day. Meanwhile, the 1080p model dropped to $14.99. It's unlikely these devices will be cheaper on Black Friday, so we predict we'll see these excellent prices once again, perhaps bundled with free months of HBO or Sling TV.
Whole Foods: The high-end grocer played a huge role on Prime Day. We predict Whole Foods will offer a lot of Black Friday sales again this year (exclusively for Prime members only). Expect to see discounts on salmon, produce, and Whole Foods’ in-house 365-brand of food.
Amazon services: Thinking about opening a Music Unlimited account? Don't do it before Black Friday! Amazon always discounts its services during major holidays, and Black Friday will be no exception. The catch is that many of the deals are valid only for new members. Last year, for instance, Amazon offered new members three months of Music Unlimited for 99 cents. Even better, the deal included a free Echo Dot. Expect to see similar discounts on Prime Now ($15 off your first order), Kindle Unlimited (three months for free), Prime Fresh ($15 off first order) and Amazon Photos (upload a photo, get $15 Amazon gift card).
Apple Watch 5: The new Apple Watch 5 is already on sale at Amazon. You can take $50 off the stainless steal model or $15 off the base, GPS-only model. It's an aggressive deal considering the Apple Watch 5 isn't in stores yet.
Walmart Black Friday deals: Predictions
Walmart offered some killer deals last Black Friday. From a $199 PS4 with the Spider-Man game to a $99 Samsung Chromebook 3, Walmart's Black Friday sale is worth your full attention. Here's what we're predicting for 2019.
Google gear: Amazon doesn't sell Google smart home devices, so our go-to store for Google gear has been Walmart. Last year, the retailer offered the Google Home Mini for just $24. We predict it'll drop in November to $22 (same price as on Prime Day). Meanwhile, we expect to see the Chromecast for $25, the Google Home Hub for $99 and a Google Smart TV Kit (Chromecast + Home Mini) for $45.
PS4 console: Walmart rules on Xbox One and PS4 deals. Last Black Friday, the company offered the PS4 bundled with Red Dead Redemption 2 and an extra controller, all for $199. We predict Walmart will offer a similar sale this year. As for the PS4 Pro, it hit $350 on Prime Day, so look for deals at or below that price.
Xbox One X: Walmart has been offering killer Xbox One X deals all year. At the time of this writing, you can get the Xbox One X with NBA 2K19 for $339. That's an all-time low price for this console. Is a $299 Xbox One X possible on Black Friday? We think it is, but quantities will be extremely limited.
Apple: Every November, the Apple Store announces the Apple Black Friday event. Last year, this mediocre sale lasted four days (it's normally a 24-hour event). The sale bundled an Apple gift card worth from $25 to a $200 with select Apple Store purchases. Retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, however, offered better deals, slicing from $50 to $350 off select Apple devices. We predict retailers will once again undercut the Apple Store on Black Friday. Here are the prices and deals you should look out for.
MacBook Air: Apple has two MacBook Airs on the market: the 2018 version (which has dropped to $949) and the refreshed 2019 model (which has dropped to $999). The newer system features a True Tone display and an updated keyboard. Retailers are still clearing out stock of the 2018 model, which makes that device more likely to hit $899 this Black Friday. Meanwhile, the 2017 MacBook Air (the one with the good keyboard) dropped to $699 this year.
Apple Watch: The Apple Watch 3 dropped to $169 this past year, whereas the base Apple Watch 4 hit an all-time low of $299 on Sept. 16 at Walmart. (Granted, it sold out in a minute). Both watches have been on sale consistently since the start of the year and now that the Apple Watch 4 has been discontinued by Apple, we expect it to see the most discounts this November.
Apple Black Friday deals: Predictions
From the iPhone 11 to the rumored Surface Pro 7, we're expecting a deluge of new devices in the coming weeks. Manufacturers tend to refresh their product lineups weeks before the holidays in the hopes of tempting shoppers with new shiny, gadgets. Here's what we've seen so far along with our deal prediction for that item.
Apple 10.2-inch iPad: Just a few days after Apple's announcement, Amazon already has the new 10.2-inch iPad on sale. It's $29 off the 128GB model only, but we were shocked to see a discount that fast.
Apple iPhone 11 & iPhone 11 Pro: Apple's new flagships aren't in stores yet, but you can already find a healthy batch of iPhone 11 deals. Naturally, many deals require a trade-in or that you jump carriers, but Walmart and Sam's Club have dollar-off discounts and gift card bundles to make it cheaper to buy a new iPhone.