We know: Black Friday is the last thing on your mind right now. However, Black Friday 2020 will be here before you know it and this year's holiday season promises to be dramatically different.
Not only are we living through a pandemic, but various stores have filed for bankruptcy protection. Meanwhile, others have announced their brick-and-mortar locations will be closed on Black Friday. Even New York's Thanksgiving Day parade is going virtual!
As if that weren't enough, Amazon Prime Day is rumored to occur in October, which puts Amazon's massive retail holiday just weeks before the official kick-off to Black Friday deals. All of this means one thing: Black Friday 2020 will see a massive surge of online deals like we've never seen before.
And while Black Friday has always started weeks before its official date, Black Friday 2020 will absolutely bleed into October. In fact, Walmart and Home Depot have already announced their Black Friday deals will start significantly earlier this year.
Regardless of what happens, the entire Tom's Guide team will be here to bring you the best Black Friday deals from the moment it starts. So sit back and relax as we take a look at last year's best Black Friday deals and predict what we expect from Black Friday 2020.
Black Friday 2020 date
Black Friday is November 27. However, Black Friday deals will start way in advance of the Black Friday 2020 date. In fact, some retailers have confirmed that their Black Friday deals will start in October. In addition, the pandemic will keep people from gathering outside brick-and-mortar stores after Thanksgiving, so we expect to see more Black Friday deals than ever this year.
Black Friday curbside and in-store pickup
The pandemic has led to a summer of social distancing and the Black Friday 2020 holiday season will be no different. Many stores have announced they will be closed on Black Friday, which means gone are the days when you'd have to line up outside a Walmart for that killer TV deal.
Instead what you'll find this Black Friday season is plenty of same-day curbside and in-store pickup. This way consumers can get their purchases in a safe manner without having to spend hours inside a store or a mall. It also cuts down on shipping costs and ensures consumers can get their devices on time.
During the early stages of the pandemic stores like Best Buy would limit the amount of people who could enter at once. Expect to see this procedure replicated at brick-and-mortar stores across the country.
Black Friday 2020 ads
You can't have Black Friday without proper Black Friday ads. These digital circulars are a way of teasing consumers with holiday deals. They're also great for building up hype. The earliest Black Friday ads we've seen usually debut mid-to-late October. However, Black Friday 2020 is going to be a whole different beast.
Black Friday 2020 ads could appear as early as October 1. In fact, we think they could even start right after Prime Day. Keep in mind, these are Black Friday ads and not actual Black Friday deals, but the momentum will definitely start earlier than ever this year.
Black Friday deals — what to expect
Black Friday 2020 will be exclusively online this year. That means online sales will likely break records (yet again). The rise in online sales isn't too surprising — it's something we've seen in previous years. Last year, shoppers spent $7.4B on Black Friday alone, reports Adobe Analytics. That's a 19.6% increase from the previous year.
In terms of what people purchased, the most popular Black Friday items last year included Frozen 2 toys, FIFA 20, Madden 20, and the Nintendo Switch. With new consoles slated to debut in the coming weeks, it's likely video games will once again dominate Black Friday deals.
Best Black Friday deals we saw last year
HP Pavilion 15z: was $1,299 now $399 @ HP
Last year, HP's 15z hit an all-time price low of $399. It was particularly noteworthy because it packed a 10th-gen Core i7 CPU, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. We predict more epic laptop deals this year, since they're the bread and butter of most Black Friday sales. View Deal
Expedia: Up to 67% off travel deals
The holidays are the best time of year for travel deals. With the pandemic still in full effect, we expect to see absolutely epic travel deals for those comfortable enough boarding a plane.View Deal
Hulu: was $5.99 per month now just $1.99 per month
This top streaming service offers network shows in addition to popular originals including The Handmaid's Tale, and is available for next to nothing for Black Friday.View Deal
Google Home Mini: was $49 now $19 @ Walmart
By now, everyone who wants a smart speaker probably has a smart speaker. However, we still expect retailers like Walmart and Amazon to discount smart speaker to all-time price lows as they did last year. View Deal
MacBook Air 13" (128GB): was $1,099 now $799 @ Amazon
We don't expect to see the 2020 MacBook Air to get a $300 discount like last year's model, but we do think it'll break the $899 barrier ($100 off) we've seen so far. A $799 or $749 MacBook Air 2020 sounds very tempting if you ask us. View Deal
Sony PS4 Pro Call of Duty Bundle: was $399 now $299
One of the best Black Friday deals we saw last year got you the PS4 Pro Call of Duty Bundle for just $299. This may drop even lower as new consoles make their debut in 2020. View Deal
Xbox One S All Digital Console: was $249 now $149
A sub $149 Xbox One S console sounds like a pipe dream, but once again — new consoles will make their debut during Black Friday 2020, so anything is possible. View Deal
Vizio 55" Quantum 4K TV: was $498 now $398
55-inch 4K TVs are the new standard for gamers and tech enthusiasts. We predict we'll see plenty of cheap TVs in this price range with many retailers making larger 75-inch TVs cheaper than ever. View Deal
Apple 10.2" iPad (32GB): was $329 now $229
Apple's most popular iPad hit an all-time low of $229 ($100 off) last Black Friday. (A price we haven't seen so far in 2020). Expect to see equally impressive Black Friday deals from retailers like Amazon and Best Buy once again this year. View Deal
Apple Watch S3 (GPS/38mm): was $199 now $169 @ Walmart
The Apple Watch 3 may drop to $149 or less this holiday season. We also expect to see a generous price cut on the Apple Watch 5, now that the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE have entered into the picture. View Deal
AirPods Pro: was $249 now $199 @ Staples
The AirPods Pro saw modest discounts during Black Friday. However, so far in 2020 they've dropped as low as $199 at Staples/Amazon. We don't see them selling for less, but we expect to see that $199 price point again from Staples, Amazon, or Verizon. View Deal