Back in Black: The Black Friday Deals Myth

21 Nov

America has rewarded the continued commercialism of the holidays to companies by going out at these family unfriendly hours and spending more money they do not have. Retailers tell us “Black Friday” marks the beginning of the time when many people spend the most due to Christmas and other holidays where gifts are exchanged.

What many people do not know is the supposed deals on “Black Friday” are simply a myth. In fact, better deals can be found through out the year if people keep an eye out and know what to look for. The Wall Street Journal did some number crunching and found some very interesting data. [1] They partnered with Decide, a consumer-price research firm, and found the following results (from the article):

  • Citizen men’s black watch … the best time to buy it was early March,
  • Decide’s data show the best time to buy Uggs during the holiday-shopping window is in September or October.
  • The best holiday-season time to buy a flat-screen television is in October. Flat-screen televisions also become more expensive closer to Christmas, Decide’s data found.

In fact, there is quite a bit of data in the article showing where the price actually increased on “Black Friday” or through out the holiday shopping season. There are some items which come out out to be a bargain during this time though. Video game systems, especially previous generation versions, get discounted as well as some kitchen appliances. The main items discounted are those which a retailer has over bought expecting a huge run but barely sold any. Those can vary from chain to chain.

Why do people line up outside stores days and days before just to get some specific item?

According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Kurt Salmon, says chains have much more insight into margin and sales than they did in years past because of technology, and they’re using it to carefully craft Black Friday deals that maximize the promotional benefit without wiping out profit.”

And Mr. Salmon isn’t the only one who sees retail companies taking advantage of their new found data and metrics. Arnold Aronson, a former CEO of Batus Retail Group, “They have to provide value on the day, but they engineer it in a way that they can control their own destiny rather than fall victim to it.”

In other words the retailers are no longer the victims, we the buying public are, out of our own willful ignorance.

Source –
Wall Street Journal – Black Friday Myth


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