Our editors take care to highlight sales and deals on items that we think you’ll enjoy — and at prices we think you’ll like. Shop TODAY has affiliate relationships so we may get a small share of the revenue if you buy something through our links.
In order to set yourself up for success and less stress, especially if you're venturing into the brick-and-mortar battleground, you first need to know the basics of Black Friday.
When is Black Friday 2019?
Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year, is always the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, Black Friday 2019 falls on Friday, Nov. 29.
What time does Black Friday start?
Although Black Friday is technically the Friday after Thanksgiving, many of the deals actually start on Thanksgiving Day, which, of course, is on a Thursday. Black Friday hours vary between retailers, but here's what we know so far, according to Black Friday Ads:
- Best Buy: Online deals start as early as 12 a.m. on Nov. 28. In-store sales start on Nov. 28 at 5 p.m., with new deals being released throughout the weekend.
- Kohl's: Online deals start as early as 12 a.m. on Nov. 25, while in-store sales start at 5 p.m. on Nov. 28.
- Macy's: Online sales start as early as 10 a.m. on Nov. 27. Macy's stores will be open on Nov. 28 starting at 5 p.m.
- Staples: Online deals start at 12 a.m. on Nov. 28, while in-store sales start bright and early on Nov. 29, with doors opening at 7 a.m.
- Target: On Nov. 28, online deals start at 12 a.m. while doors open at 5 p.m. Stores will reopen at 7 a.m. on Nov. 29.
- Walmart: Walmart will open its doors on Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. while online sales ramp up on Nov. 27 at 10 p.m.
Note: some store hours may vary by location, so be sure to check online or call your nearest location before you head out.
Why is the shopping holiday called Black Friday?
Black Friday originally got its name in the mid-1960s. People used the term "Black Friday" to describe the awful traffic that would build up as shoppers headed to stores the day after Thanksgiving.
However, retailers didn't appreciate the negative connotation associated with the name, so they changed the name to reflect the success of retailers on that day. According to their new explanation, Black Friday is the day when retailers finally begin to turn a profit for the year. Accountants traditionally used red ink to show negative amounts and black ink to show positive amounts. Thus, stores are finally out of the red and squarely in the black (making profit) starting on Black Friday.
Now that you know the basics, make sure to follow these tips and tricks so you get the best deals out there.
Black Friday 2019 Tips
1. Check the model number
Stuff We Love
They may boast the same brand name, but not all electronics are created equally.
“Do a quick Google or Amazon search on the brand and model number to see what turns up,” said Jon Vincent, co-founder of EarlyBlackFriday.com. He admits he’s been duped in the past by a Black Friday deal on a webcam that was an inferior model lacking the standard model’s features.
“A hint that it's a Black Friday special model is that it's brand-new on Best Buy's website and it has no reviews from other shoppers," he told us.
2. Review price histories
Is the price really as low as it seems? Or was it that low just a month ago?
“Some stores will return Black Friday products to MSRP before the Black Friday sales, so you'll also want to check the item on camelcamelcamel to see the price history on Amazon,” said Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing at DealNews. “While Amazon is only one store, it will give you a good sense for whether the item has typically been cheaper in the past.”
3. Use a new browser
“Dynamic (or customer-based) pricing has spread from travel to retail over the past year, and consumers are not going to be on the prevailing side of it,” said Mike Catania, chief technology officer at PromotionCode.org. “A website can detect previous visits and browsing patterns from your cookies and couple those data points against internal records to determine how much it thinks you're willing to pay.”
He recommends using Chrome and an incognito window for holiday shopping.
4. Act fast
Don’t let hot-ticket items linger in your online shopping cart. They will sell out.
“Buy doorbusters immediately and then browse for other items at your leisure,” advised Andrea Woroch, a consumer finance expert. For a speedier checkout, Woroch recommends creating a shopper profile in advance so you don’t have to enter your payment and shipping information during crunch time.
5. Read return policies
Is there an extended return window? Will you be charged restocking fees? Do you need to keep the original shipping box and packaging? Those are all questions Woroch recommends finding the answers to before you click to purchase. Otherwise, you can end up buried in buyer’s remorse.
6. Shop with discounted gift cards
If you know you’re going to spend at least $50 at a certain store on Black Friday, search online for discounted (anywhere from 2%-25% off) gift cards in advance. Last Cyber Monday, Raise — a website and app matching buyers with unwanted gift cards to more than 3,800 retailers — sold four times as many cards as it normally does.
7. Go scouting on Wednesday
“This is a great way to get a feel for the store’s layout and figure out where the items you want will be displayed on Black Friday,” noted Lauren Gruetman, a savings expert at Flipp. Cherie Lowe, aka the Queen of Free, even recommends scoping out a spot in a less popular aisle (like cleaning supplies) where you can park your shopping cart. It allows you to dart in and out of the aisles with the best sales while other shoppers are trapped in “cart gridlock.”
8. Don’t forget about travel
“Most consumers don't immediately connect travel deals with Black Friday,” said Evan Crawford, regional marketing director for San Antonio's Hotel Contessa. “But some of the best savings during Black Friday through Cyber Monday actually come from hotel and travel industry.”
And remember, the most important thing is to set yourself up for success and have fun!
Shop TODAY takes care to recommend our favorite items chosen by trusted experts and editors, as well as inform our readers of great deals, customer favorites, and newsworthy products from around the web. For more on our process, click here.