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Sep212012

Podcast #549: Black Friday 2012 Predictions

Black Friday 2012 is coming. In about two months the deal seeking crowds will descend upon stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy with reckless abandon, gobbling up every deal they can get to before supplies run out. If you’re lucky enough to get to the electronics section without being trampled, you can usually find some pretty good deals. But will they be good enough to wait for if you really want that new TV right away?

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Black Friday 2012 Predictions

Black Friday 2012 is coming. In about two months the deal seeking crowds will descend upon stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy with reckless abandon, gobbling up every deal they can get to before supplies run out. If you’re lucky enough to get to the electronics section without being trampled, you can usually find some pretty good deals. But will they be good enough to wait for if you really want that new TV right away?

GottaDeal.com, who claim to be the largest Black Friday site on the web, recently released their predictions for what will happen on that infamous Friday after Thanksgiving. The article spurred a lot of conversation around the HT Guys watercooler. We decided it would be fun to go over their predictions, since they’re the experts, and add our own running commentary, since we’ve been Black Friday consumers and enthusiasts for quite a while.

Any quoted and italicized text is from the original predictions released by GottaDeal.com


General Predictions

“Last year saw the trend of stores opening earlier than ever continue. Most stores opened at midnight, and a few opened earlier on Thanksgiving night.”  In our minds, this really comes down to a safety issue. The sooner a store opens, the less time there is for crowds to gather and long lines to build up.  Those crowds and lines are what caused the stampede and trampling issues that inevitably end up with someone, somewhere being seriously hurt. There are a handful of stores that stay open every year on Christmas, so it isn’t entirely out of the question for some of these big Black Friday stores to open late in the evening on Thanksgiving day itself.

“One of the complaints many site visitors had was that stores failed to stock enough Black Friday sale items to meet demand. Unfortunately the site doesn’t see that changing much this year.”  Nor will it ever. That’s the brilliance of Black Friday.  Stores release crazy deals that you’ve have to be nuts to pass up on, so you go to the store to pick up one of whatever it is you’re looking for.  Byt the time you arrive, of course they’ll be out of stock on the crazy deal, but you’re already there, so you go ahead and get something else.


HDTVs

“HDTVs have been popular Black Friday items for many years now, but shoppers still crave even more deals so GottaDeal.com expects that this holiday season will be another big year as prices have continued to drop since last year.”  Prices are dropping because demand is dropping and 3D isn’t a compelling enough feature to attract new buyers. But there are still a lot of consumers with older tube TVs in second room situations that would love to upgrade them. We expect to see a lot of movement on Black Friday for smaller, very highly discounted HDTVs.

“They expect to see the most common Black Friday HDTV, a 32" LCD model, as low as $149 this year...it would not be surprising to see a 42" 1080p LCD HDTV in Black Friday ads for around $349 or less. Expect a cheaper 42” plasma HDTV for as low as $249. Larger 47" and 50" LCD or LED models should be available for around $399 and $449 respectively.”  Our Black Friday price predictions aren’t typically work the oxygen we use to say them, so we’re fine deferring to the experts at GottaDeal.com for that. A 32” LCD for less than $150 would attract huge interest, so if that’s the number, we’ll probably see it in most stores’ ads. The larger TVs are good prices, but still too high for an impulse buy. You may not see prices like that in every ad.

“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 tend to ramp up the deals to get those last minute sales before the holidays. And if shoppers miss those deals, the pre-Super Bowl TV deals are also very attractive every year.” This is excellent advice. If you can stay away from the hype of Black Friday, and the hype of Cyber Monday, you can get a better deal on a larger TV in the sales leading up to Christmas and the Super Bowl.


Tablets

“Inexpensive Android tablets will once again dominate the Black Friday ads this year because of their low prices.” Apple doesn’t really put their products on sale - not the popular ones at least, so don’t expect to pick up an iPad or mini iPad for a ridiculous deal on Black Friday. If anything you may get a deal on a bundled offer, or an iTunes gift card or something. Because of the plethora of Android tablets on the market, many of them will be on sale. Some of them, probably the lesser known brands or the smaller screen sizes, might even be really good deals.

The GottaDeal.com predictions don’t include Microsoft Surface tablets at all. They are expected to be available on the market by the end of October at already somewhat aggressive prices. But Microsoft isn’t shy about putting products on sale; they’ll want to grab as much market share as possible this Holiday season, so we expect some aggressive marketing around Black Friday. The deals may come in the form of bundles or deep discounts on other products with the purchase of a Surface, but we don’t think Microsoft will take this Black Friday quietly.


Laptops & Desktops

“One of the hottest Black Friday ad items traditionally has been the ultra-cheap laptop ... GottaDeal.com predicts that shoppers will see this level {low end} of laptop in Black Friday ads for around $199 this year.” While tablets are more hip and trendy right now, laptops are still essential in many homes and applications. Black Friday is a great time to pick up a new laptop to replace the one that went away to college with a child or to pick up a new one for a child who needs one for school. There is still a large population of people who want or need the full experience of a laptop computer, so deep discounts here will attract a lot of foot traffic.  A new 15” laptop with 4GB of memory and a 500 GB drive will get many, many customers into the store.

“This year, the site expects a low-level desktop (dual core processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, DVD burner) bundled with a 19" or 20" LCD monitor to be possibly as low as $199.” Desktops as a device are becoming a bit long in the tooth. They’re starting to be seen as the old way to do computing, but that said, many of us still rely on them heavily in our daily lives. Picking up a new, well featured computer to replace that old Vista machine your kids are still using for $199 isn’t a bad deal. This may attract a few buyers, but we don’t expect them to be flying off the shelves. This is one item you’ll probably still be able to find even if you arrive a little late to the party.


Audio & Video

“Blu-ray continues to be the standard HD format for movies, and therefore the site expects some nice deals on Blu-ray players and movies on Black Friday. They fully expect Blu-ray players to appear in Black Friday ads for as low as $39.” While it isn’t the dominant disc format, Blu-ray is becoming the dominant player format. And for $39, why wouldn’t it be? If you still haven’t jumped into the Blu-ray market, or you still have a DVD-only player somewhere in the house, this will be a great chance to do something about it. The key to this will be education and a good sales staff. Many people still don’t realize that Blu-ray players will also play DVDs.

“Accessories for older iPods are also expected to see big price cuts as they do every Black Friday, but this year should see even greater deals because of Apple changing the connector for new iPods and iPhones.” This is a no-brainer. All the accessories for the older iPod/iPhone/iPad dock connector, now seen as the ‘legacy’ dock connector will drop in price significantly. This is great news for all the millions of people who aren’t going to rush out to buy a new iPhone. You’ll be like a kid in a candy store picking up great accessories for a fraction of the price.


Video Games

“One of the hottest items in any category this year will be the new Nintendo Wii U video game system. This console will be released just five days before Black Friday. Because of possibly limited stock, consumers shouldn’t expect many retailers to include the Wii U in their ads. However they may see deals on the new games and accessories for the system if quantities allow for it.” We’re excited about the Wii U, but Nintendo doesn’t have a stellar record of maintaining stock on new product releases. We don’t think you’ll see a lot of discounting on it this year. By next year they may have the stock issues worked out, but then again, maybe not.



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