Black Friday used to fall on just one day of the year. Shoppers would camp outside of stores, eagerly awaiting the chance to bust down some doors and save a ton of cash. Over time, the sales event has grown. Now, the entire month of November is a hydra where the heads are “slashed prices” and the sword-wielding hero is an overwhelmed customer.
Stores are offering more deals than ever online, meaning you don’t need to leave the couch to participate. But it can all get confusing. How can you tell if a deal is worth your time and money? When do sales start and end? Do you need that gadget? We’re here to help.
Updated November 2023: We’ve added advice for this Black Friday.
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When Is Black Friday?
This year, Black Friday officially falls on November 24, and it’s followed by Cyber Monday on November 27. Most of the official sales start late on Thanksgiving, though some of the best deals start on Friday, usually at midnight. (A handful of stores provide exact start times.)
I have been Black Friday shopping for nearly two decades. My advice, if you’re on the hunt for killer deals, is to stay up late the day before Thanksgiving to check for online sales starting around midnight eastern time on Wednesday, November 22. WIRED will also cover major sales later in the day on Thanksgiving. Early Black Friday deals have kicked off, and retailers like Best Buy have a price-matching guarantee in place if an item gets cheaper on Black Friday.
Can You Get Black Friday Deals Online?
You can—and should. We exclusively cover online deals here at WIRED because the majority of Black Friday deals are available on the web. The best deals don’t stick around for too long, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to your favorite store’s sale pages (and our coverage).
Make a list of what you want to buy ahead of time—this can help you keep a clear head when it’s time to start shopping. You shouldn’t buy things just to buy them. Everyone’s on a tighter budget these days; sales will happen again. Take a deep breath and don’t get sucked into the frenzy.
Which Retailers Will Have Black Friday Deals?
Nearly all of them. There are obvious stores, like Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy, but chances are every retailer and brand will have some sort of sale, whether they offer clothing, shoes, books, electric scooters, tech, health and beauty items, or fitness specialty goods. There might even be promotions going on at your favorite coffee shop or restaurant. When in doubt, visit a retailer’s website. Usually, Black Friday sales are highlighted proudly on the homepage.
Here are a few Black Friday sales pages from major retailers:
Is Black Friday Worth It?
TL;DR: usually. Long answer: Most of the time, Black Friday deals are the best we see all year, and they set the precedent for what dictates a good price in the months that follow.
However, some Black Friday deals aren’t all that great or are repetitive from year to year. For instance, you’ll predictably see low prices on some smart-home tech, like the Amazon Echo Dot or Google Nest Mini. In previous years, those speakers have sold for around $20 or $25 every single November. This year, they’ll probably dip to the same price. Even if a price is technically a historic low, consider whether you truly need another cheap little speaker before you place your order—especially considering that these deals tend to pop up repeatedly throughout the year.
Some discounts aren’t jaw-dropping because the products tend to go on sale every few months, and the fact that stores repeat deals so frequently says a lot about the nature of discounts these days. Still, the deals are worth it if you are in the market for a specific item and want to save some cash. Just keep in mind that price research is important, and if you miss out on a deal, don’t fret; there’s a strong chance it will come around again at some point in the future.
How Much Money Can I Save on Black Friday?
That depends on what you’re shopping for. There are so many deals up for grabs in so many categories that it’s impossible to list them all here.
For example, TVs are usually a great purchase to make around Black Friday, if you can find the right model. They are at their cheapest this time of year and through the holidays. In the same vein, you’ll be able to save on clothes, toys, and home goods, but those deals may not be as enticing when you look at specific dollar amounts. They’re certainly cheaper than usual, though.