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Black Friday 2015 Cheers & Jeers: What Store Had the Best Deals?

This year's Black Friday boasted tons of hits and notable misses. Find out which retailer ran a 2.5% off coupon!
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Black Friday

Everybody take a deep breath: Black Friday has come to an end. While there are still some Cyber Week sales to consider, and an onslaught of holiday promotions on the horizon, we can at last close the door on Black Friday 2015.

But before we go, we've got some amusing tidbits and major gripes to share from good ol' #BF2015. We polled the people in the trenches, DealNews' own writers and editors, and then consulted our deal records from the past week to come up with this year's list of Cheers and Jeers. Which retailers made the week awesome, and which ones just made things more difficult? Read on to find out!

Black Friday Cheers

  • The Top 5 Stores: So who won Black Friday Week? Amazon once again takes home the crown for sheer numbers, with nearly twice as many deals as the next best, Target. Rounding out our top five are Newegg, Walmart, and Kohl's. (Honorable mention goes, as always, to eBay, which was way ahead of Kohl's, but isn't technically a single store.)

    Of course, quantity doesn't necessarily promise quality. Although Dell Home played host to far fewer deals than any of the retailers above, this computer merchant boasted one of the finest Editors' Choice averages we've seen for a Black Friday season, with a whopping 67% of its deals being hot enough to be given the distinction. The honorable mention goes to Best Buy, with a 55% average.

  • Target Bets Big with Early Discounts: Target came very close to winning Black Friday this year. Although Amazon had more deals overall during the Black Friday season, Target had a higher percentage of Editors' Choice deals than the online giant — 37% to Amazon's 33%. What's more, Target struck first, busting out three stacking coupons in the days before Black Friday that delivered game-changing prices on toys.

    That said, Target couldn't keep those pre-Black Friday good vibes going. The retailer also made our Jeers list below.

  • Cold, Hard Kohl's Cash: Although its "$15 earned per $50 spent" Kohl's Cash promo is an annual Black Friday offering, this year those credits were easier to earn than ever. PS4 and Xbox One bundles both bagged hundreds in Kohl's Cash, alongside the usual Dyson vacuum and KitchenAid stand mixer deals. But you can't spend Kohl's Cash if you never shop at Kohl's, making these deals pretty hollow for lots of shoppers.

    Then again, it was totally worth a trip to your local Kohl's on Black Friday; the first 100 shoppers at every store scored a pair of tickets to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

  • Tuneful Headphone Steals: According to our resident audio nerd Will Lardinois, Black Friday 2015 was an especially excellent time for mid-fi cans (in the $500 to $999 range). Discounts in this class are rare, but Sonic Electronix chopped prices on several audiophile-worthy headsets. Lardinois was especially fond of this massive discount on the Fostex TH500RP Planar Magnetic Headphones (still $349, a $232 savings), calling it the "single-best mid-fi headphone deal I've seen."

  • Deals in Toyland: The real winner this Black Friday season was anyone selling gifts for kids. A massive 33% of all toy deals were marked Editors' Choice during the shopping holidays — along with 56% of all video games.

    Unfortunately, those incredible toy steals came at a cost: increased demand. Offers on the hottest toys sold out very quickly, leaving even the savviest shoppers in the dust. Sadly, this reporter was a casualty; I lost out on all my first-choice kid gifts during Black Friday. But there's always December!

Black Friday Jeers

  • That Amazon TV: You know the one. The app-only deal for a $150 50" 1080p HDTV that we all lost our minds over. Seriously, did anyone actually get that deal? We want to know! According to this Reddit thread, the TV allegedly "sold out instantly."

  • Target Stumbles on Cyber Monday: What happened, Target? That's the question that nearly every DealNews writer and editor was asking on Cyber Monday. At some point during online shopping's biggest day, Big Red decided to stick shoppers in digital "waiting lines" if they tried to add an item to cart. In the words of writer Dan Leadbetter, "This is the Internet, people! There are no lines!"

    And that's assuming you weren't affected by the crashes.

  • Expedia's Black Friday Coupon Goes MIA: This one comes from our very own travel guru, Paula Bradley. She "spent all day waiting for a coupon on their app that either died after a few minutes, or didn't come live at all. I was talking with several people on Twitter about it. There was quite a bit of anger, and I only saw reports of one person who was able to use it." Yikes!

  • Oy Vey, Visa: Newegg had a slew of quality deals during Black Friday, many of which owed their Editors' Choice status to a handy coupon that required Visa Checkout to work. This killer promo knocked $10 off $100 or $25 off $200, so it delivered some significant price lows. Sadly, it expired four days earlier than advertised. Oops!

    As if that wasn't enough, editor Elizabeth Zimmerman pointed out another Visa snafu to us: "Zulily has had free shipping with Visa for forever, but it disappeared on Black Friday."

  • NordicTrack's Worst (Best?) Coupon Ever: Lots of stores put out mediocre coupons during Black Friday; there's no law saying it has to be a retailer's biggest sale of the year. But NordicTrack's coupon was different, taking off a whopping 2.5% — that is not a typo. The treadmill retailer took 10% off sitewide for St. Patrick's Day for goodness' sake, so this coupon left us all scratching our heads.

Last, but certainly not least, a big CHEERS to the DealNews staff! Our writers and editors worked long hours to research the best deals for our bargain-loving readers. We hope you all found something you wanted this Black Friday!

Okay readers, who do you think won Black Friday? Did any retailer "lose" the shopping holiday? Did you score any amazing deals? Sound off in the comments below!


Related DealNews Features:
Editor

Marcy pens consumer news stories of all sorts, in addition to adding pithy prose to many of the roundups you see every day. Her work for DealNews has appeared on sites like Lifehacker, the Huffington Post, and MSN Money. She is by far the most metal member of the DealNews staff, and you can see why by following her on Twitter @ThatBonebright.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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17 comments
Scroogus Maximus
Jeer: To two idiot customers waiting in line at Cabela's. Stayed in front of their firepit all night drinking. At 4 a.m., tents were removed from line, so these two bozos decided to put the pit in their truckbed- STILL ON FIRE. Ignoring the 10" snow pile right next to their truck, they drove away with the flames shooting up from the truckbed...to fill up on gas at the gas station next door. Some people are too dumb to deserve Darwin Awards.
yvranjeesh
Great Job on posting the deals for us guys...

I grabbed Xbox Ones at the Microsoft store with the Kinect. I knew online was going to be crazy so went in store and found almost every deal that I wanted waiting for me. No lines and nothing.

B&M Shopping on BF rocks. Especially when You dont have to wait in line for the items you want most. :)
heini100
Walmart did the whole let you buy and send you a confirmation only to turn around and cancel the order on you. Sad part is I sent the confirmation to the family I bought the gift for (ps4 bundle). I called the customer service person and they couldn't tell me why. They said it must be an inventory thing. When I told them it was interesting since they have the same bundle online now for $20 more, the rep didn't have an answer. Wouldn't price match to correct the issue. Then they proceeded to tell me it was my financial institution was the issue. I have no debt and an 845 credit score. Survey says, I shouldn't have an issue. I even used the same method of payment for two other higher end things in their site an no issues. Nice try Walmart. So I cancelled the other items. I'll take my business elsewhere for now.
TheDaveFL
I'm with Highfather on this one. Dell posted an unbelievable deal on the Xbox One and I fell for it like a sucker. I camped out on their website and waited patiently for it to become available, refreshing my page every 30 seconds. The second it became available I tried to add it to my cart, only to find out that it was already out of stock. Dell pulled the old bait-and-switch on us this year and I will be hard pressed to buy from them again in the future.
bjturk512
It appears that Walmart might have been trying trying to drive traffic to stores by limiting online inventory, but it may not have worked. This may hurt, @chocolatedeath, but over 90 minutes after their 40" and 50" TV doorbusters went on sale in-store on Thanksgiving night, they were there for the asking at my local store, wristband or not. I got one of the $149 40" sets (and picked up a $25 Roku SE as well). Incredibly, I saw in another store around noon the next day that the 50" TV remained available at the $269 doorbuster price, and people just walked on by like it was nothing!
NaPra
Thanks guys! you're awesome as always :)
jtiberiusk
I thought Dell really had the best game console deal for an online deal.It was so good it was gone like most of new years resolutions will be in a NY MINUTE.
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@DeletedUser169775 Oh man! I wish I had seen that, there's a coat they sell that I reeeeeeally want but didn't go on sale last year, and probably won't this year either. Wonder if it was included.
DeletedUser169775
I think a well deserved shout out goes to JCrew, who had tiered %'s off, from 50,40 and 30. However they took 30% off of items they literally never put on sale, including a $450 blazer of high end English spun wool. I've watched their high end blazers for years and never did they go on sale. 30% on black friday was rock solid. This is spoken from someone who, for the most part, despises JCrew.
boilers
I think this is first year I bought absolutely nothing in past week. Saw some things. But frankly not making enough money to afford my four other people in this household even withOUT other expenses. But, I suspect some good deals were had.
hillcrest
My jeer award goes to Dell. Waited for practically weeks to purchase the 60" Vizio 4K TV for $800. Hand on mouse at the stroke of midnight (when deal went live). The SECOND it went live it could not be purchased. Seriously. The. Second.

Agree with Highfather...Dell can rot in hell...lol
Highfather
Amazon was awesome on Black Friday. I got a few good deals particularly the Kindle Fire.

Dell offered a XBOX One deal that was really sweet. You got the Gears of War Bundle, Fallout4, and an extra controller for $299.
The deal went live at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. I was ready at my keyboard and was on the site at the proper place, refreshing my screen every 60 seconds. When it was time to act all I had to do was click the order button. I did that at the moment the clock struck 6. And got a message that it had sold out. How could it have sold out within 10 seconds!!!!

I think Dell pulled a fast one. They are dead to me now.
billstewartiii
My honorable mention goes to the Microsoft Store. They had some fantastic deals on computers and xbox hardware and software. Target & Toys'R'Us also did well in my book.
Amazon (which I love most days) has sales that have too little notice and often very short lived. You have to check non-stop all day long to score deals there - no thanks.
HeyTiger
I refuse to shop on Black Friday. I'm voting with my dollars to help those poor, underpaid workers who have to leave their families to support corporate greed.
chocolatedeath
No single customer won. The retailers always win since they get your money. Once again I only saw one tv on Amazon and it sold out in seconds. Walmarts site left my in cyberhell while trying to get their 40 inch tv at 3am.
This was the first time in two years that someone had a good price on a bluray player that wasnt sold out in minutes.
This was the lest amount of money I have spent in about 5 years due to lack of being able to get to sales before they were gone.
No Nexus 6 for me even if I did want it. Amazon sold out fast.
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
I successfully found deals for several friends this year. A TV for my bestie, a game console for my sister, a video game and Kiehl's stuff for my boyfriend, and I even got a few gifts in this year. I feel accomplished!
codelemur
Advance Auto Parts supposedly had % off sitewide, but I couldn't get the coupon to work on anything I tried it on.
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