Black Friday 2015 started earlier than ever, with online sales starting as soon as the week before Black Friday. We've seen some people start to call Thanksgiving "Grey Thursday", since stores seem to be foregoing typical holiday traditions and bringing long lines with aggressive shoppers as early as they can. We expect that stores will once again push the envelope with earlier opening times this year, potentially starting in-store doorbusters on Thanksgiving afternoon. In fact, our first rumor of the year is from a reader in Milwaukee showing that his local Kohl's might be starting their Black Friday sales at 6PM this year. Read on for our predictions regarding this year's hottest Black Friday items.
Every year you'll find at least one person hunting down the best TV deal as Black Friday seems to be the time everyone is looking to buy. However, unless you're willing to stand in line for hours (sometimes even days) or you have lightning fast reflexes to quickly purchase online, then you may miss out on the biggest and best TV doorbusters. Last year we saw 29 4K 50" deals under $500, and while we expect to see that number double this year due to the gaining popularity of 4K, we're also expecting the prices to be about the same. However, you'll get more bang for your buck since the sets will have more tech involved as well as bigger screens. If you're not looking for a 4K TV then you can expect to purchase a 55" TV for $200 or less.
Video Games and Consoles
While Microsoft's Project Scorpio and Sony's big PlayStation update may be a year away, the mid-cycle console refresh this year means there will be tons of deals on video games. We've already seen Xbox One S bundle deals as low as $300, as well as more expensive deals in the $350 - $400 range with games and gift cards included. Expect to see Xbox One bundles as low as $200 - $250 with extras to sweeten the deal. In addition, since Microsoft stopped manufacturing Xbox 360s, we'll see the lowest prices ever for those games and consoles. If you have a little one with an itch for a console, that might be your best bet. Sony is releasing the PS4 Pro, which adds in the option to play games in 4K. However, if you don't care about 4K content, then look forward to discounted PlayStation 4 bundles. We're betting that they'll stay around $300 but more extras like games and gift cards will be thrown in. With the buzz around the NES Mini, the rising popularity in VR, and the newer players from PlayStation and Xbox, this year video games are the category to watch.
There have been some leaps and bounds made in the world of technology since Black Friday 2015. This year, we expect to see deals on Smart Home devices, like the Philips Hue LED Bulbs and Light Strips. Tablets will be available at their best deals ever across all price points. While there might not be drastic discounts on VR technology like the HTC Vive, we expect to see a Steam Sale discounting VR-ready games for those who already own the device. There will also be great deals on smart fitness trackers like Fitbits, but if you don't absolutely need one, you can likely wait until New Years Resolution season to get a good deal as well. Amazon will offer their proprietary devices at huge discounts; we expect to see the Kindle Fire back at $35, the Kindle Fire Kid's Tablet for less than $60, and Fire Sticks for $20. There will also be great deals on the new Echo Dot Bundles, Amazon Tap, and other Alexa-enabled devices. We also expect to see great signup bonuses for new contracts on the iPhone 7, either with store gift cards, accessories, or no money down.
Online is the New In-Store
Last year we saw more doorbusters available online than ever before, and that trend will continue for Black Friday 2016. From huge stores like Walmart and Target to smaller niche merchants, stores are realizing that opening earlier and earlier means more of their customers are opting to shop online. We saw doorbusters that would typically only be in-store available online for Black Friday 2015, as well as bigger inventories to account for higher demand. In addition, big-box stores like Best Buy, Sears, and Kohl's competed with each other so heavily that if you missed an item at one, there was likely an equivalent at their competitor. This isn't to say that everything you want will be available online, but for the first time in Black Friday history, you won't be sacrificing much if you shop from the comfort of home.
Oh, to be a kid again. Every year the toy selection gets cooler and cooler; is it bad that we're jealous? Expect to see discounts on favorite brands like Doc McStuffins, Paw Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, FurReal Friends, and Pokemon. Collectible items such as Funko POP Figures, blind bags, and Shopkins are on trend this year. We'll see classic brands come back with new items, like Disney Descendants Dolls, the 2016 Lego Christmas Train Set, and Lego Dimensions. Star Wars continues to be hot and we'll see deals on everything from lightsabers to the Hasbro AT-ACT. Board games are back - Exploding Kittens and Pie Face Showdown are two popular examples this holiday season. Little ones won't be left out, and their ever-expanding educational toy selection includes the Play All Day Elmo and Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar. Expect to see stores vying for customer attention with more exclusive items, like Walmart's Disney Princess Carriage or the Toys-R-Us Exclusive Shopkins Tall Mall.
Classics are Here to Stay
We expect to see some old favorites return again for another Black Friday season. Macy's will offer great deals after mail-in rebate on small kitchen appliances. Target will offer gift cards with the purchase of Apple devices, and they'll fight with Kohl's over the best KitchenAid deals of the season. Sephora will have another $10 Black Friday bonanza and JCPenney will have $20 leather boots. Expect to see deals from Kohl's with Kohl's Cash stacking on top of them. We also think that Sears will be upping the ante with up to 100% back in Shop Your Way Rewards points. These deals are oldies but goodies, and Black Friday remains one of the best times of the year to purchase soft lines like clothing and homegoods.
Black Friday ad scan leaks are the most exciting parts of the holiday season aside from actually shopping for the Black Friday deals. Last year, the first ad leak was on October 1st, which is consistent with years past. Half Price Books, Harbor Freight, and Sears Canada are the herald of the Black Friday ad leak extravaganza. We expect to see them in the first week of October, with more ads following every few days after that. We'll see more spooky takedown letters ahead of bigger ad leaks. Walmart has leaked between November 8th and November 12th every year since 2011, and we expect to see the same trend this year. Click here to see our ad scan leak timelines from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011. Also of note, this year there are 29 days from Black Friday to December 23rd. Since Christmas Eve and Christmas fall on a Saturday and Sunday respectively, combined with the short shopping season, we'll see better deals pop up more quickly than in the past.
BFAds is Here Every Year!
Black Friday 2016 will be our biggest and best yet. We have less than 100 days to go until our favorite day of the year, and we're spending every moment up until then preparing to bring you the best experience possible. We've recently undergone stability improvements to our website, with better search functionality and fewer bugs. We're working directly with merchants to bring you exclusive ad leaks
before anyone else. Our ad scan team is training hard to bring you accurate information as quickly as possible. We're ordering over $25,000 in prizes for our annual November Giveaway Contest, as well as thousands of dollars in gift cards for our daily November social media contests. We've started figuring out our yearly Black Friday 2016 T-Shirt designs, and for the first time in BFAds history, you get to pick the color! We're working with a team of writers to bring you more Black Friday Buying Guides and articles, as well as lists of the best deals we see this holiday season.
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