Black Friday is coming — here are the 5 best things to buy and 6 things you should skip

source
Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

  • Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
  • We interviewed experts to find out what to buy on Black Friday and what you should avoid.
  • You should buy TVs, gaming consoles, video games, kitchen appliances, and smart home tech.
  • Deals on clothing, toys, Apple devices, and furniture are usually not worth it.
  • You can also check out all our deal coverage for Black Friday 2019 on Insider Picks, as well as our Coupons page.

Black Friday is coming.

Okay, so it’s still technically over a month away. But hey, it’s never too early to start planning.

Some stores have already released their deals, while others are maintaining the mystery. But you can be sure that your favorite outlets, from Amazon to Walmart to Target to Best Buy, will be offering some form of discount on just about any product you can think of. You might be tempted to grab the first deals you see or to buy anything you can get your hands on.

But be careful: Not all deals are created equal. You’ll get great value for your money on certain products – but some tend to see better discounts at other times of the year. If you go in knowing what you’re looking for, you’re less likely to be ripped off by a fancy-looking coupon or to spend money on products you don’t need.

Read more: Check out all our holiday gift guides

To help you get started, we asked shopping experts for the best (and worst) products to buy on Black Friday 2019.

Here’s what to buy on Black Friday 2019:

  • TVs
  • Smart home devices
  • Gaming consoles
  • Video games
  • Kitchen appliances

Buy it: TVs

source
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Historically, Black Friday has been a great time to purchase big-ticket electronics – especially larger TVs.

“We expect things like 75-inch TVs to be at a lower price point,” said Vivek Pandya, Digital Insights Manager at Adobe. “A larger trend we’re seeing of people creating large home-entertainment systems has driven up the demand. With technology like 4K and HDR, it’s reaching a point where we’re seeing customers pleasantly happy with that, and not being so brand-loyal.”

That said, research TV brands and models before Black Friday arrives. Major retailers will often sell low-quality electronics just for Black Friday; you want to make sure you’re buying products you’ll like, and products that will last.

If you’re looking for the best value for your money, LG is a good place to start.

“In 2018, we saw a ton of LG TV deals,” said Michael Bonebright, consumer analyst for DealNews.com. “So if you’re shopping for a big-screen set, look to LG for the best deals on Black Friday. For instance, we saw a 75-inch LG TV at Dell Home bundled with a $100 gift card for just $1,000 in 2018.”

We also saw excellent deals from Samsung, TCL, and Vizio last year.


Buy it: Smart home devices

source
Monica Chin/Business Insider

Black Friday is the best day of the year to get Amazon Alexa devices for free, according to Bonebright.

“Retailers love to bundle these gadgets into other offers,” he said. “Amazon Echo Dots are probably the easiest devices to get. They’re typically bundled with electronics like TVs or smart home devices like Ring doorbells.” And since Amazon released eight new Echo devices in October, we expect last year’s Alexa products (such as the 2nd-Gen Echo Plus and the 2nd-Gen Echo Show) to see discounts as well.

In a BlackFriday.com survey, 30% of consumers said they hoped to buy smart home gadgets this Black Friday.


Buy it: Consoles

source
Charnsitr/Shutterstock

Black Friday is usually a great time to buy older consoles, especially if you’re looking for bundles. In 2018, we saw a number of Xbox One and Playstation 4 packages featuring some of the year’s best games at their lowest prices of the year.

“We expect that the Playstation 4 will be heavily discounted in the form of bundles,” Pandya said. “A lot of strong price value there as retailers look to move their inventory of those types of system. A new generation of consoles are on the horizon.”

However, there’s one exception: Nintendo. The company didn’t offer many major deals on the Switch last year, and Black Friday sales on latest-generation consoles (namely, the new Switch Lite) are usually fairly limited.


Buy it: Video games

caption
Nintendo console game cartridges.
source
Sam Mellish/Getty Images

From “Apex Legends” to “Kingdom Hearts III,” a number of excellent video games came out early this year. Black Friday is an opportunity for retailers to clear out their stock and make room for next year’s crop.

“Gamers should expect to pay $20 to $40 for big-name video games that came out in early 2019,” says Bonebright.


Buy it: Kitchen appliances

source
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Black Friday is usually a good time to buy smaller kitchen appliances, including blenders, rice cookers, toasters, and the like. Retailers will be looking to get rid of basic, budget-oriented devices in particular.

“Department stores like Kohl’s will have a bunch of small kitchen appliances for $5 to $10 as door busters,” Bonebright said. “These toasters, blenders, etc. are cheap for a reason – don’t expect them to last forever. Still, it’s worth picking them up, especially if you’re shopping for a college student.”


Here’s what to avoid on Black Friday:

source
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Don’t buy the following on Black Friday:

  • Lingerie
  • Apple devices
  • Clothing
  • Smartphones
  • Toys
  • Furniture

Skip it: Lingerie

source
Stuart Wilson/Stringer/Getty Images

Stores that sell undergarments usually don’t pull out their shoelaces for Black Friday; they’ve already got their eye on the post-holiday period.

“While stores like Victoria’s Secret and Soma will definitely host Black Friday sales, you should hold off shopping for fancy underwear until after the holidays,” Bonebright said. “After Christmas, both of these stores will launch huge semi-annual sales that will likely have better deals – and a wider selection – than Black Friday.”


Skip it: Apple products

source
Mary Meisenzahl

While many tech companies offer deals on gadgets, we don’t expect Apple to be among them this year. The company doesn’t usually discount its own products for Black Friday; the best you’re likely to find is gift-card bundles or extra trade-in credit from third-party retailers.

In particular, beware the MacBook. “Apple products are rarely discounted to begin with, but the latest 2019 MacBook models are unlikely to see more than a few dollars off during Black Friday,” Bonebright said. “In previous years, some of the best deals for current-gen MacBooks saw the devices at list price, but bundled with free AppleCare.” Yawn.


Skip it: Clothing

source
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

You’ll see a lot of apparel on sale for Black Friday, especially if you’re shopping in stores. But be careful: Even at a discount, there’s no need to buy things that won’t last, or that you won’t wear. It takes time to find garments that are the right size, style, and material for you, and that can be hard to find in the frenzy of Black Friday.

Instead, experts recommend buying clothing later on in December. Not only will you have more time to shop carefully, but deals are also likely to be similar – if not better. Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that while women’s clothing saw steep discounts during Black Friday, the discounts offered in the two weeks that followed were nearly the same.

“Many clothing retailers now extend and introduce deals all the way into the new year, giving shoppers more time to reach a purchasing decision,” said Scott Ruzal, Senior Director of Marketing and Account Strategy at marketing firm DXagency.

Additionally, when it comes to clothing deals, there’s nothing special about the holiday period. Clearance racks are stocked with last season’s discounted clothing throughout the year. (For example, don’t buy a winter coat in December, no matter the promotion – it’ll be half off in a few months).

“Apparel and clothing, those types of areas are very much informed by seasonality, and their pricing is very much dictated by when things are coming in and out of season,” said Pandya. When it comes to Black Friday prices, “we’re not expecting to see a lot of change there.”


Skip it: Smartphones

source
Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Black Friday usually isn’t the best time to buy a new phone – unless you want one of last year’s models.

When it comes to newest smartphones, including the iPhone 11 and Galaxy Note 10 lineups, “they’ll be doing promotions, but we don’t expect to see a lot of price reduction because they’re still very much high in demand,” Pandya said.

We do, however, expect to see decent discounts on older phones, such as the Galaxy S9, as stores make room for next year’s devices.


Skip it: Toys

source
Sean Justice/Getty

You probably know many parents who are deadset on getting their kid the hottest new toy this Black Friday. Our advice: Wait it out. Not only are these products very likely to sell out, but they also see their best discounts later in the year.

“Usually we see certain items that people are really in a manic frenzy to get for their kids,” said Pandya. “Things like the Hatchimals and the LOL dolls. Discounting heavily on these items comes in much stronger during the Cyber Monday period.”

Toys also tend to see great sales about two weeks before Christmas.


Skip it: Furniture

source
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Furniture tends to see its best discounts after the holidays.

“Historically, things like furniture are cheaper in December,” said Janet Alvarez, executive editor of personal-finance publication Wise Bread. “The week between Christmas and New Years is a wonderful week to load up on furnishings, especially things like outdoor grills, and large appliances like ovens and refrigerators. Retailers are desperate to let go of anything in their inventory before the next year starts.”

Also, if you already have Christmas decorations, under no circumstances should you buy new ones on Black Friday. These will hit the clearance rack the minute Christmas is over. Your future-Christmas self will thank you.