Update: Black Friday deals have started to leak!
Make no mistake: Black Friday will be full of killer deals. But while stellar sales on wine and cars may surprise and delight you, there are some items that only see minor discounts — or no discounts at all. Black Friday sales are time-sensitive, so wasting precious minutes looking for a deal that may not appear could make you miss a killer doorbuster.
In the interest of keeping you on track, we've rounded up 10 things that consistently under-perform during Black Friday, or just get better shortly thereafter. Whether it's furniture deals you should have grabbed in the summer or gift cards that'll be cheaper in December, read on to discover the items that Black Friday forgot.
Then, consider signing up for the DealNews Select newsletter so you know what deals are worth buying this Black Friday.
Up until now, smartphones were a great buy on Black Friday, with many flagship Android phones dropping to $0 with a 2-year contract; even iPhones got in on the discounting frenzy! However, in the last year, three of the big carriers have shifted away from subsidized phone plans, so phone deals this year will be unprecedented. Since this is unknown territory, we're skeptical that the deals will be as good this year.
Plus, in the past, Black Friday-caliber phone deals continued into December, so it might be wise to wait and see what's in store for phones before hopping on a deal this Black Friday.
Home & Patio Furniture
It's rare for a product category to go almost completely ignored on Black Friday, but such is the case with furniture. In fact, many high-end furniture shops don't even hold Black Friday sales. This is because most retailers heavily discount these items in the warmer months, with home furniture seeing a huge spike in deals in July and August, and patio furniture clearance sales dominating in August and September.
Airfare & Vacation Packages
Despite the fact that hotel sites offer superior discounts during Black Friday, this just isn't the best time to book a flight or plan a vacation. Over the past several years, Black Friday rates for airfare and vacations were mostly indistinguishable from those we saw throughout the rest of the year. Plus, January 2015 had more Editors' Choice deals than Black Friday, so it might be wise to plan a vacation in the new year instead of November.
It's not at all uncommon to find gift card deals during Black Friday, but this is one of those items where a little patience goes a long way. Discounted gift cards practically rain from the sky in December, especially those from iTunes. And over the last few years, we have seen so many gift card deals in December, we had to publish a weekly feature just to keep track of them all.
Gaming Laptops and Ultraportables
The Black Friday season makes November the best month of the year for buying a laptop — unless you're in the market for a real powerhouse. High-performance machines that boast a powerful CPU like Intel's Core i7 models, or that feature a super-slim build, actually see better prices during the summer back-to-school sales. July and September tend to be the standout months for these rigs, with deals that are 9% cheaper (about $50 on average) than even November's best deals.
Chocolates & Flowers
It is perhaps unsurprising that gifts like chocolates and flowers don't see much in the way of deals during Black Friday. The perishable nature of these treats makes them better suited for purchase close to a gift-giving holiday. We did see a few deals on these items during Black Friday 2014, but better deals on Godiva, Lindt, Ghirardelli, and 1-800-Flowers came earlier in November or later in December.
Newly-Developed, High-End Tech
If you had your hopes set on one of the much-hyped devices to debut from Microsoft or Apple recently, you might be disappointed when looking for Black Friday deals. The iPad Pro and Surface Book are completely new product categories, and historically, such items won't see deals until they near the mid-point of their life cycle. Since neither of them will be available until late October or November, it's unlikely they'll see discounts on their first Black Friday.
This also applies to the latest consumer virtual reality devices. Want a new headset from Oculus or Samsung? This technology hasn't quite gone mainstream yet, and deals will be limited at best.
Second-Hand Gaming Consoles
Second-hand consoles could be a red herring for dealhunters this year. We're predicting that you could grab a used or refurbished Xbox One or PS4 for $250 on the shopping holiday, but when you can get a brand-new gaming console bundle for $300, why would you opt for a used one? Along the same lines, the PS Vita will drop to $150 for a new unit, or $100 for a refurb, while the Wii U could hit $225 new, or $180 for a refurb. While second-hand consoles will still offer savings this Black Friday, you have to wonder if it's even worth it when there are such great deals on new units.
The Roku 4
This recently-announced media streamer will succeed the Roku 3, which didn't see any deals at all during its first Black Friday. In fact, the Roku 3 saw deals after Black Friday, in December and January. If the Roku 4 follows in its predecessor's footsteps, then shoppers will likely have to wait until December for a deal.
Of course, the competition is more fierce this year, with a new Apple TV and Fire TV in the mix. So if there are deals on the Roku 4, then expect modest discounts of $10 to $15 off, or deals that include a gift card.
Here's a category that actually sees a lot of discounts during Black Friday, but is nevertheless worth passing up. As we previously noted, excellent sitewide coupons will lead to some serious discounts on all kinds of apparel, including in-season coats, boots, and more. However, if you can wait, then you'll see the best deals on these items during winter clearance sales in January, February, and even March.
Welcome Back to Black Friday!
A lot can change in a year, and a few notable underperformers from 2014's list are now back in Black Friday's good graces. Here are a few things we advised against buying last Black Friday that we're now giving the green light.
Designer Clothes: Luxury brands used to abstain from Black Friday sales, but the shopping holiday has become more democratic of late, especially since many such brands now have outlet stores. A few outlets you can expect to participate in Black Friday sales are Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Barneys Warehouse, and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH.
Brand Name Smart TVs: HDTV deals are the meat-and-potatoes of Black Friday sales, but we had previously advised against buying brand name smart TVs, from manufacturers like Samsung and LG. Baked-in Internet capabilities were still a relatively new technology, so big brands didn't need to discount these pricey Smart sets. But now, a large portion of Black Friday TV deals will be "smart" or have a 4K resolution.
Latest Fire Tablets: Last year, we said Amazon never discounts (or barely discounts) its latest Fire tablet. And we were right; but, Amazon resellers stepped up their game. The Best Buy Black Friday sale knocked $20 off the then-new HD 6 for a price of $80. This year, Amazon has a new $50 Fire tablet, so be on the lookout for good deals — just not from Amazon necessarily.
Readers, have we dashed your Black Friday dreams? Or are you still determined to find an amazing airfare deal on Thanksgiving and grab a fistful of gift cards from Cyber Monday deals? Share your shopping strategies in the comments below!