The shopping frenzy some people wait for all year long is still seven weeks away. And yet, we already have the first predictions about Black Friday sales prices.
The shopping experts at dealnews.com studied what happened last year and they expect many popular electronic items to be at their lowest prices ever during what they call the “Black Friday Season” — mid-November to Cyber Monday.
“Typically, people think of Black Friday as a bargain bin event, but we’re seeing hotter items get discounted,” said Lindsay Sakraida, features director at dealnews.com.
If you want a great price on a TV, that’s the weekend to shop. Dealnews research found that television sets of all sizes are typically at their lowest price around Black Friday.
“For example, we’re predicting you’ll be able to find a 47-inch TV for around $299, which is actually a very aggressive price,” Sakraida said. “We expect that to be the size that retailers use as the door-buster deal to get people into the store.”
Of course, this “rock-bottom” price is for third-tier manufacturers. If you want a high-end model, expect to pay more.
Apple tends to offer discounts of 5 to 10 percent on Black Friday. Free shipping for online purchases is also a traditional incentive. Sakraida told me she believes third-party merchants will once again beat Apple’s prices with discounts of up to 25 percent.
“We predict deals around Black Friday on both the new third-generation iPad as well as the iPad 2 from a variety of stores, at prices lower than what Apple will charge,” she said.
Dealnews predicts the new iPad (16GB with WiFi) could be offered for $499 and the iPad 2 (16GB with WiFi) for $299. If this happens, these iPads will get snapped right up, so you’ll have to watch the ads and act quickly if you see a discounted price.
Black Friday is also the time to snag some super deals on videogames. Games released early in the year could be slashed to $15 – that’s 75 percent off the retail price. Some of the hot new titles (ones that were just released in October) should be marked down 50 percent on Thanksgiving weekend. That’s what happened last year. Keep in mind, prices on some videogame titles may go even lower the two weeks before Christmas.
Toy stores slash prices on Black Friday with discounts of as much as 50 percent on some of the most popular toys and games. But you’ll probably see better deals later in mid-December on what’s left. Of course, if it’s a must-have toy that’s in demand, don’t wait too long.
Don’t forget, Black Friday also means deals on clothing. Sakraida expects “some of the best coupons of the year” which can be used on merchandise already on sale. This is a great way to get a big discount on cold weather apparel before the clearance sales later in the year.
Black Friday Shopping Tips
After analyzing the data for last year, dealnews found that the sale prices on Thanksgiving were often better than those on Black Friday itself.
“So if you’re really particular about what you’re looking for, you probably want to get a head start and look on Thanksgiving,” Sakraida said.
One more tip: It’s rarely necessary to fight the crowds. Sure there are some door-buster deals that are only available at the store. But dealnews found that about three-quarters of the in-store deals were also available online for the same price or less.
This story was written by Herb Weisbaum and originally appeared on NBCNews.com.