Milwaukee, WI (PRWEB) September 19, 2011
Having covered Black Friday extensively for the past eight years, the expert deal hunters at GottaDeal.com are in a better position than nearly anyone else to offer predictions for Black Friday 2011. Over the years they've noticed trends in the deals offered by the major retailers and can offer a glimpse into what they believe will be the most popular deals and hottest items. They'll also give you some predictions for the actual prices consumers will see these items selling at this Black Friday based on their research along with some general holiday shopping predictions for this year.
Last year continued the trend of down years for many retailers, both traditional and online. This holiday season including Black Friday is shaping up to be an important final opportunity for retailers to make up for the lackluster sales they've had the rest of the year.
While GottaDeal.com likely won't begin to see a steady stream of actual Black Friday ads until the middle of October, they are predicting that while retailers will try to boost sales with their Black Friday ads, the actual deals will likely be very similar to last year. As has happened in the last couple of years, they expect the deals overall to lack that "wow" factor that the sale ads had 4 to 5 years ago. While there were some nice deals last year, going by sales figures as well as the opinions of the die-hard Black Friday shoppers on their message boards, most stores failed to get consumers excited. They're also expecting stock levels to be slightly down from last year, as retailers don't want to stock as much product with uncertainty clouding the shopping season. Therefore it may be more important than ever to get in line earlier to score the best deals.
One trend that will continue is the extension of Black Friday from one day into a prolonged period of sales. Again this year there were several major national retailers that had "Black Friday in July" sales earlier this year. These sales were not really comparable to the regular Black Friday sales, but the trend of using the term "Black Friday" for sales that aren't specifically on November 25th will likely continue as retailers pull out all the stops to get people in the stores. A trend that started a few years ago that GottaDeal.com expects to continue is for stores to have a few Black Friday-level deals in their weekly ads beginning as early as October, and some will likely reference Black Friday in some way to draw interest. But the hottest deals and the largest number of them will still be on the actual Black Friday, as always.
With Black Friday being exactly a month from Christmas, retailers will have to get consumers shopping earlier rather than counting on Black Friday and the few remaining weekends in December to provide most of their sales. Online retailers, and brick & mortar retailers with e-commerce sites have the advantage here as they can quickly prepare and promote online sales leading up to Black Friday. These sales are fully covered on GottaDeal.com. They also predict that stores will once again heavily embrace social networking this year as a part of their strategy for the holiday season. Look for exclusive deals and contests to appear on stores’ Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Expect several stores to give sneak peeks of their Black Friday ad via these means as well, although they may be beatento it and have their ad already posted on GottaDeal.com.
Looking at at specific items that should prove to be popular this year:
HDTVs have been popular Black Friday items in the past few years, and GottaDeal.com expects that this holiday season will be another big year as prices have continued to drop since last year. 3D TVs have been on the market long enough that consumers may finally start seeing some deep discounts on older 3D models on Black Friday this year.
With HDTVs, quality can vary greatly from the cheaper to the more expensive units. In many cases, the lowest-priced models on Black Friday are stripped-down models lacking some of the “bells and whistles” of the higher priced versions. That doesn't necessarily mean that these deals aren't great, just that consumers should be aware of what they are buying and have realistic expectations for the performance they'll get out of it.
GottaDeal.com fully expects to see the cheapest 42" LCD HDTVs in the $249 to $299 range this year. During the last few months on GottaDeal.com, they've posted deals for 42" HDTVs for as low as $349, so it's completely realistic to expect deals in Black Friday ads for under $300 on a lower-quality model. These cheaper HDTVs will likely be 720p and will lack features found in more expensive models.
While Black Friday is a great time to buy the loss-leader, lower-end HDTVs, for consumers looking for a deal on a higher quality, name-brand HDTV, the best time to buy is typically in early to mid-December as retailers ramp up the deals to get those last minute sales before the holidays. And even if consumers miss those deals, the pre-Super Bowl TV deals are also very attractive.
Laptops, Netbooks & Tablets
One of the biggest hot Black Friday ad items traditionally has been the ultra-cheap laptop. The recent surge in popularity of tablets has taken sales away from traditional laptops, but the bargain-basement laptop is still the quintessential Black Friday deal. Desktop computers, while still popular, are not as "sexy" as they've been in the past. They have become almost disposable because of price drops and the fact that it doesn't take much in terms of features to handle what 99% of the general public uses a desktop for in their daily lives.
If consumers are considering purchasing a laptop or netbook on Black Friday this year, GottaDeal.com can't stress enough how important it is to decide what features they need and what they will be using the computer for. There will be cheap laptops, but if they don't fit their needs, as good of a deal they may seem on the surface, most will end up disappointed soon after they purchase it.
The "classic" Black Friday laptop the last few years has had a 15.6" widescreen LCD display, a dual-core processor, 3GB to 4GB of memory, 320GB to 500GB hard drive and DVD burning drive, along with standard features such as WiFi, modem and ethernet port. Laptops like these have been available all year long from retailers such as Best Buy, Dell and Staples for as low as $299. Therefore GottaDeal.com predicts consumers will see this level of laptop in Black Friday ads for around $199 this year.
GPS navigation systems were huge several years ago during Black Friday, but since then as most consumers interested in them have bought one, they aren't in demand like they used to be. Prices have continued to drop as new models have been released with incremental feature upgrades such as updated maps, traffic and weather capability and improved, larger displays.
Deals have been posted all year long on GottaDeal.com for GPS systems well below $100 and therefore they expect to see a budget GPS system with 3.5" LCD display for $29 to $39 this year on Black Friday, and more name-brand, feature-loaded models from the manufacturers just mentioned for $80-100. Larger models with 5" displays and lifetime traffic and maps service should be around $129 this year. A best bet is too look for a model with lifetime traffic and map updates as they won't have the need to pay every few years to get the latest maps. A 4.3” model with these features could be had this year for as low as $99.
Video games should be given a lift this Black Friday thanks to some highly anticipated new games. The recent price cut on the Nintendo 3DS will likely translate into deep discounts on the older models such as the DSi, DS Lite and others. Expect low prices or bundles with free games and accessories.
The Nintendo Wii will be an interesting item this year. With the new Wii U scheduled to be released next year, retailers may want to begin clearing stock of the current Wii Console. Expect deals such as a Wii bundled with a $50 gift card for $149 this holiday season.
Popular games being released this fall should also help sales, although deals for these new games will not be easy to find. Instead, expect promotions such as free accessories, gift cards, point cards or other items with the purchase of selected newer games. Deals on older video game titles will be very good this year as the current set of consoles matures. Look for “greatest hits” games for all major consoles to be on sale in the $10-15 range.
Additional Hot Items
As for what will be hot this year, it's always tough to say. It's likely going to be a combination of the items such as laptops & tablets, HDTVs, toys, video games and home items. With the economy still down, many households are looking to improve their home rather than spend money on vacations or other expenditures. Therefore we expect those items such as appliances, kitchen items, lawn & garden, furniture and bedding to be popular. Many shoppers will be looking to save money on the "basics" and that will likely be reflected in the deals shown in the ads this year.
Online Black Friday Deals
The experts at GottaDeal.com can't stress enough that to get the best deals on Black Friday or any other day of the year, you have to check online first. At GottaDeal.com they post hundreds of new online deals each week and their forum members post even more every day on the message boards. On Black Friday @ GottaDeal.com, they'll have a continuously updated list of Black Friday ad items that can be purchased online at Black Friday ad prices. Look for this list in mid-November. They urge their visitors to order as many ad items as possible online before leaving the house. It'll save time, hassle and space in the trunk.
They do expect online retailers to continue to offer amazing deals this quarter as well as they compete with the brick and mortar retailers. Expect big sales and online-only coupons from retailers such as Amazon.com, Overstock.com, Buy.com, Walmart.com, Dell.com and many, many others. And to keep track of these deals, just bookmark the home page at GottaDeal.com where they'll keep you updated on the latest deals throughout the day, every day of the year.
GottaDeal.com is dedicated to save consumers money in all aspects of their daily lives. In addition to a year-round online deals site and a large, active community forum, each year GottaDeal.com has a dedicated Black Friday site focused on providing advanced looks at the Black Friday sale ads from national retailers as well as the hottest online holiday sales.
GottaDeal.com has been covered by hundreds of national and local media outlets, including USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME Magazine, CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The CBS Early Show and many others. Media kits are available, as are interviews. For more information on Black Friday or online shopping, or to schedule an interview with someone at GottaDeal.com, please visit Black Friday @ GottaDeal.com or e-mail media(at)gottadeal(dot)com.