Most Americans already know what they need to know about Black Friday — it’s a day to use up all of that stored energy from consuming turkey and sides on Thanksgiving by shopping for as many deals as possible. What you might not know is that you can get some pretty good deals in the days and weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, thanks to retailers kick-starting the holiday shopping season earlier in recent years. And despite its gross show of consumerism that may make you cringe, Black Friday can be an important day for those who want to buy thoughtful, useful gifts for their loved ones while also sticking to a strict budget. If that sounds like you, or you have just vowed never to pay full price for something when you don’t have to, we’ve got some tips and buying advice that can help you prepare for Black Friday 2023.
When is Black Friday 2023?
Black Friday 2023 lands on November 24 this year, with Cyber Monday 2023 following up a few days later on November 27. However, the early deals have already begun. If you’re organized, you can shop some decent pre-Black Friday sales as soon as mid-October. The entire month of November might as well be renamed Holiday Shopping Month as that’s when companies really start to get serious with their discounts.
Black Friday shopping strategies
Use a price history tracker
This is just good shopping advice, period — especially when it comes to consumer electronics. Price history trackers like CamelCamelCamel and Keepa monitor price changes and can show you things like the lowest price an item has ever been and when it was last discounted that much. The main catch here is that both Camel and Keepa only work on Amazon listings. That’s extra convenient if you shop on Amazon often because both have pretty handy Chrome extensions you can install to make price monitoring super easy.
But even if you’re not an Amazon aficionado, you can still reference those price history charts when shopping elsewhere on the internet — that way you’ll know if one retailer’s “hot deal” is precisely that, lukewarm or ice cold. Another similarly handy tool is Honey, a browser extension that lets you compare product prices across many retailers, apply digital coupons easily and more.
Sign up for company newsletters
Listen, we wouldn’t tell you to intentionally clutter your inbox if we didn’t think it would be seriously beneficial. Now more than ever, companies offer things like exclusive and early-access sales, special discount codes, free expedited shipping and other perks to their inner circles of customers — namely, those that sign up for newsletters, text alerts and the like. If there’s a particular item you want to snag on sale, like a pair of Sony headphones or a Razer laptop, we recommend signing up for the company’s newsletter just for the duration of the holiday shopping season. That increases your chances of being among the first to know about exclusive deals and other offers, or, in the case of early-access sales, among the first to actually buy what you want before sales diminish or things sell out. Don’t immediately trash those emailed sale alerts either. Once you get the goods you want, you can go back to that message and immediately unsubscribe from the newsletter if you wish.
Use any membership or credit card perks you already have
There’s a good chance you have perks and benefits from services you already use that you’re not taking full advantage of. Amazon Prime and Walmart+, for example, both offer early access to specific sales and deals throughout the year and we expect there to be similar exclusive sales at both retailers ahead of Black Friday. You may have a credit card that gives you additional cash back on certain product categories, or integrates seamlessly with retailers so you can use your accumulated cash back immediately when placing orders. Take stock of the services you use regularly and check to see if they’re offering anything additional during the holiday shopping season, or if there are benefits you may not have needed to use until now.
As mentioned previously, retailers have already started throwing deals and sales online in the lead-up to Black Friday. As we get closer to the actual day, we expect to see even more early Black Friday deals pop up across the web. If you have items on your list that are absolute must-haves — maybe you thought of the perfect gift for your hard-to-shop-for parent — don’t wait to buy those things. We estimate that you have the best chance of getting a truly good deal within two weeks of Black Friday, so start looking in earnest then. There’s always a chance an item is marginally cheaper on Black Friday than it is one or two weeks prior, but with all of the early deals we’ve seen over the past few years, there’s less of a chance that the Black Friday price drop will be so significant that you’ll regret your early purchase.
Our advice: make a list of all the gifts and other items you want to pick up during the holiday shopping season and then designate each of those items as “high” or “low” priority. High-priority items should be the ones you buy first as soon as you see them go on sale, while low-priority things can wait until closer to Black Friday.
The best early Black Friday deals to look out for
While some sales have already begun, we believe the best early Black Friday deals will begin in November. The bigger the retailer, the more likely it is that they will have early Black Friday deals going on throughout the entire month of November. We expect to see companies like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and others roll out early deals once November hits, with an uptick occurring within a week or two of Black Friday proper.
As far as the types of items that will go on sale before Black Friday, it’ll be a bit of a mixed bag. Since we focus on tech here at Engadget, we can confidently presume that most of the big, flagship items you may be itching to buy — a pricey smartphone, a new OLED TV or a high-end pair of headphones — will probably not be significantly discounted until, at the earliest, a week before Black Friday. Sure, gadgets will be peppered among the early holiday sales at the start of November, but the best deals on (what we consider to be) the best tech will likely come closer to Black Friday. In the past, we’ve seen some of the best Black Friday deals drop on Thanksgiving — with some selling out before Black Friday proper even began.
We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention Cyber Monday. Over the past few years, Cyber Monday has almost become “Black Friday 2.0,” with most of the best Black Friday deals carrying over through the end of Cyber Monday (if they don’t sell out first). There are always a few Cyber Monday exclusives, particularly in the tech space, so the shopping event is not without its own unique offers. But make no mistake: most of the best deals will be available on Black Friday, with a couple of extras thrown in on Cyber Monday.
Engadget will be covering the entirety of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping period. That means you can come back to Engadget over the next few weeks to find the best early Black Friday deals on headphones, laptops, gaming gear and more as we inch closer to the actual sale dates. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, expect us to surface only the best tech deals that the internet has to offer — that means the lowest prices we can find on the tech we think is actually worth your money.