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Experts analyze best Black Friday deals, practices

Posted November 23

As the old saying goes, a bargain is something you don’t need at a price you can’t resist. And nobody knows this better than Black Friday shoppers who come home and realize that, amidst the crazed kerfuffle, they’ve made a purchase that will be about as useful as the forgotten spinach salad on Thanksgiving.

To help shoppers avoid falling into Black Friday traps and find worthwhile holiday deals, experts have analyzed the best deals offered by the biggest retailers for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season that follows.

This year, Wallet Hub, a personal finance website, analyzed 35 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2016 Black Friday ads and compiled a list of the stores offering the largest average discounts as well as the largest discounts for each product category.

Among the top retailers are Macy’s (with the largest average discount of 63.4 percent), Stage (62.8 percent), JCPenney (62.8 percent), Harbor Freight (62.6 percent), Gordmans (61.6 percent), Kohl’s (58.1 percent) and Shopko (55.6 percent).

Best Buy is also offering one of their best discounts this year, according to Jon Vincent, founder of earlyblackfriday.com, a website that posts Black Friday deals from major retailers each year and alerts consumers to product availability.

“Really the best deal right now is at Best Buy. They’re offering a Toshiba 49” 4K Ultra HD TV for $199.99 and if you want to go a little bit bigger, Wal-mart has a Philips 55” 4K Ultra HD TV and that’s $298,” Vincent said.

While these deals are doorbuster deals and can only be found in-store on Black Friday, Vincent recommends doing the majority of Black Friday shopping online.

“I would say 95 percent of the deals you see in the ads are going to be online on Thanksgiving,” Vincent said.

Shopping online also allows the customer to price check while browsing the product options, ensuring they aren’t overpaying or falling into a Black Friday marketing trap.

“Just because something says 60 percent off, it might not be a great deal. I would just try to do a Google search and compare with different prices of various products to see, like, is that 60 percent really good or is it just a couple bucks off (the) everday price,” Vincent said.

Wallet Hub experts also recommend that shoppers avoid purchasing any product that is discounted below 40 percent. While the deals may be tempting, products with a discount below 40 percent may be Black Friday marketing traps.

“Too often consumers get swept up by the size of the discount without ample consideration of the value of, or need for the product.” Devon DelVecchio, Professor in Marketing at Miami University, told Wallet Hub. “A 70% discount on an ugly sweater just means you spent 30% too much for an ugly sweater.”

Vincent adds, however, that some smaller discounts may be worth it if the product in question isn’t normally discounted.

"Just getting 20 percent off is better than nothing at all, but if you’re kind of blindly shopping, I would go with that 40 percent rule," Vincent said.

He also recommends checking to see which day retailers are offering the biggest discounts. While Amazon is offering 10 days of Black Friday, the biggest deals are on Thanksgiving Day.

While many stores also offer a general discount on certain product categories on Cyber Monday, Vincent believes that Black Friday deals can be better.

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