As a Deals Editor for T3, it's my job to help readers like you find the best offers on products you want to buy. Whether it be through presenting you with a good deal or just sound shopping advice. And while it's easier than ever for shoppers to find deals on their own, deal prices jump around quite a bit during the year which can make it a challenge determining when the best time to buy is.
Usually, the best time of the year to buy has been during Black Friday sales. A term synonymous with savings, Black Friday has always been worth waiting for as you actually would get the best prices. The past two years, however, have changed how the holiday shopping season works and this year we've seen the impact of these changes more clearly.
In the past, everyone knew that Black Friday and Cyber Monday were the days to shop if you truly wanted to get the cheapest prices. For many retailers, this was the time of year that got them out of the red and actually made them a profit. Because of this, retailers wanted to make sure their best deals showed up at this time.
Now it's not so easy to tell anymore if Black Friday deals really are the best they have to offer. With some Black Friday savings events showing up as early as July, are we really getting the best prices during actual Black Friday savings events? Better still to ask, should you even wait for Black Friday to do your shopping if that isn't the case?
Hopefully this article will help you answer these questions as well as give a little guidance as to why you should start shopping Black Friday deals right now. To start, let's go over a few reason as to why Black Friday deals are showing up so early this time around.
Why are Black Friday sales showing up so early this year?
Last year's pandemic shook things up by changing what shoppers prioritized. Not just during Black Friday but throughout the entire year. We went from shopping for the best deals on Apple AirPods to searching for the best prices on hand sanitizers. A stark change from the previous year.
While this year has seen things return to normal slightly, we're still dealing with issues that will make shopping this holiday season a bit of a pain. From stock issues to shipping delays, port back ups and a plethora of other supply chain issues happening, the answer to the question of whether or not you should buy now becomes a little more clear.
Many retailers recognized some time ago that these issues would be rearing their heads and decided to start Black Friday savings events even earlier. Amazon's Black Friday sale, for example, started a full two months early and kicked off with their Epic Daily deals savings event in early October.
For those who understand how the industry works, this may be a bit of a red flag for those hoping to save the most on their purchase during Black Friday. In the past, the best Black Friday deals would usually show up around a week before Thanksgiving. Pretty standard for the holiday shopping season, a full week of Black Friday savings was a great way to get shoppers to buy before Black Friday even showed up.
This year, we've seen Black Friday sales show up as early as July. So how exactly can Black Friday deals be available in July? Well in most cases they aren't, and retailers may use the Black Friday term to grab your attention. Yes, these sales have some pretty incredible offers but are they actually Black Friday deals? In most cases, the answer is no.
So, should you really be shopping right now or should you wait until Black Friday shows up?
Should you shop for and buy Black Friday deals right now?
While there is a lot to consider this year, my advice for those who are unsure of how to answer this question is a simple one: yes.
Start your shopping right now, especially if you're looking to do your holiday gift buying. Black Friday in previous years was the time to do this as plenty of stock would be available and prices we're as good as they would get.
This year, however, there's going to be a few things that will impact just how well the holiday shopping season will perform. The giant machine that is eCommerce has many cogs in it, and if a single cog starts to wear down the entire machine starts to perform poorly.
Unfortunately, not just one but many of those cogs are running into issues right now which will impact how you shop. Here's just a few to point out:
- Price Increases: Yes, you read this right. Many products are going to be increasing in price soon – and not just temporarily. Resources for manufacturing are becoming even tougher to obtain, more expensive to buy and even harder to find.
To offset the additional work needed, many manufacturers and retailers have had to increase the prices of the materials needed to produce certain products. You, the shopper, are going to foot the bill for this with increased pricing.
- Stock Shortages: While this hasn't hit too hard for some shoppers just yet, you may have started to notice that some of your favorite products have been out of stock for some time at your local store.
This is due to a myriad of reasons, from supply chain issues to material shortages. What you should take from this, however, is the fact that it may be tougher to find the products in stock that you want to buy this season.
- Shipping Issues: If you've purchased anything online in the past six months, you've probably seen some sort of message that indicates extended shipping times. You've probably even had a package delayed a few times.
This is due to shipping companies running into problems of their own, from worker shortages to resource problems. This is going to impact the holiday shopping season in a big way and as a smart shopper you should be ready for it. While retailers can guarantee a product gets shipped by a certain day, they cannot guarantee it'll arrive by a certain date anymore.
- Bot Buyers: For those who aren't familiar with these, whenever a highly anticipated product is launched bots are designed to automatically buy stock as quickly as possible. These bots then turn around and resell the product at a ridiculous markup to those who got shafted in the first place.
This happened with the PS5 and is still going on to this day. There are people still waiting for their console and even worse, there are people who are still trying to buy one but can't due to bots buying up the stock so quickly. Retailers do what they can to combat this by limited purchase quantities or requiring identification, but unfortunately these guys are here to stay and will find ways around this.
Pointing these issues out is not meant to concern or scare you away from doing your holiday shopping. In fact, knowing these issues ahead of time gives you a leg up in knowing when to buy and when to skip out on a deal. Use this information wisely as you shop this season and you'll minimize any headaches and issues you'll have to deal with come Christmas morning.
What to take away from all of this
Black Friday, and what it entails, is changing this year and any smart shopper knows that with these changes will come new opportunities to save. Yes, of course we all want find that 50% off deal and save hundreds of dollars on a brand new computer.
While those deals are available now, this year try going into your holiday shopping with the mindset that how much you save doesn't determine whether or not you buy.
Consider just what is happening around us, and how shopping and buying is being impacted. While some retailers out there are guaranteeing Black Friday deal pricing right now, like Best Buy's Black Friday sale, they cannot guarantee that stock will be available or that it'll be received in a timely manner later this month. In many cases, some products won't be shipping or arriving at your door until early next year.
You can of course wait for Black Friday to see if better deals show up, and In some cases I would actually suggest it. But to be brutally honest, at this point the price drops we're seeing now will most likely match what shows up later this month, and actually getting the product in your hand takes precedence over how much you save.
So, however you take this article and whatever advice (if any) you walk away with, it helps to be aware of what exactly is going on around the holiday shopping season. You may not run into any issues while others will be dealing with problems for the next few months. All I hope for you to walk away with is a clearer understanding of how you can avoid some of the issues listed above and what you can do to get the products you want in your hands this holiday.
- Best AV receivers 2021, from Denon, Sony, Yamaha and more
- PS5 restock: Sony just saved Christmas with "phenomenal" console restock planned
- PS5 restock: where to grab a PlayStation 5 console this week and avoid the Black Friday chaos