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Thanksgiving Day Will Top Black Friday for the Best Deals

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It may seem early to start thinking about Black Friday shopping, but since the event finds its way into stores earlier and earlier every year, it is fitting that we try and make sense of the holiday now; after all, last year we saw the first Black Friday ad leak in September, so the season is nearly upon us. And as many savvy shoppers have probably observed, retailers are keen on releasing special sales and promotions in the lead up to one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.

But are these pre-Black Friday sales as good as those on Black Friday itself? And by extension, when are the best days to shop for deals during the Black Friday season? We took a look at our Editors' Choice deals from the past two years to find out when exactly retailers release their best discounts — and the results may be surprising.

Thanksgiving Day Has Better Deals Than Black Friday

For each day during October through December in 2011 and 2012, we noted what percentage of deals were marked Editors' Choice; this label indicates an exceptional deal, either deemed as such because it is the best of the year, an all-time low price, or a rare discount. (Editors' Choice offers are the filet mignon of deals, if you will.) We then matched the percentage values from 2011 and 2012 based on the day of the week, rather than numerical date, and averaged them. The results were then plotted in the chart found below.

best Black Friday Deals

Unsurprisingly, deals throughout Q4 pale in comparison to those found specifically during National Deal Week, which starts on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and ends on the following Wednesday of Cyber Monday. While the percentage of Editors' Choice deals inches up throughout early November, on the whole, this time frame doesn't see a significantly higher number of deals than October. This all changes starting on Thanksgiving though.

Thanksgiving Day in both 2011 and 2012 saw the highest percentage of Editors' Choice deals throughout the season, with a combined average of 36%. Thanksgiving Day even beat out Black Friday itself, which clocked in at 32.5% Editors' Choice. Perhaps more surprising though is that even the Sunday before Cyber Monday topped Black Friday, albeit by a very small margin: 33% of all deals were Editors' Choice. That Sunday also thoroughly crushed Cyber Monday, the latter of which saw the lowest percentage of Editors' Choice deals of the four days, coming in at 27.5%.

Stores Release Black Friday Deals Early

While we all clamor over the lure of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it appears that the days preceding both are actually better in terms of sheer volume of top-shelf deals. There are potentially many reasons for this, but a likely explanation is that retailers are releasing Black Friday deals early in an attempt to trump the competition.

Some of the deals we've listed on Thanksgiving, for example, have been offers that were originally advertised as Black Friday deals in retailer ads, and for whatever reason, were released a day in advance. Considering the fact that we've seen Amazon seemingly poach discounts from such leaked ads, then lower their own prices accordingly, it's not surprising that stores would open their doors early to keep customers from going elsewhere.

Deal Week Is Not All About Thanksgiving

After reading our analysis, it might seem like the only day worth shopping on is Thanksgiving. If all you care about is getting a hands-down fantastic price on anything, then Thursday is your target shopping day. But since most shoppers tend to enter the season with some specific purchases in mind, we recommend carefully observing deals throughout the season in order to find the best price; just because there are more Editors' Choice deals on Thanksgiving doesn't mean they're necessarily the ones that you specifically want.

And with that, the Black Friday season has officially begun here at dealnews. Soon enough we'll be releasing Black Friday price predictions, buying guides, and ad analyses to help guide you through the upcoming onslaught of Black Friday marketing. Sign up for email alerts now, to get all this information delivered straight to your inbox.

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Features Director

Lindsay Sakraida is the DealNews Features Director. She specializes in writing about shopping trends and lifestyle subjects. She's also obsessed with music, movies, and tennis. Follow her on Twitter at @LinSakraida.
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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3 comments
arashir
Actually, it does not even say what I just stated. Since you are dealing with percentages, it only says that the highest proportion of editor's choice deals published are on thanksgiving, without giving any information about how many there are, or if they are in fact better than the ones on different days. One must exercise great care when interpreting statistics.
arashir
The headline, plus the entire analysis is misleading. This analysis does not at all say that the "best deals" are on thanksgiving. It says that the most number of editor's choice deals are on thanksgiving.
ski522
Good to see America has turned into nothing more than a bunch of shopaholics! Only a matter of time before stores are opening on Christmas day so that you can exchange your gift before the torn wrapping paper has even been thrown out!
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