Q: It’s only early November, and I’m already getting ad-bombed for Black Friday sales. I’ve always been an avid sales shopper, but after so many Black Fridays spent weaving through crowds to chase down big deals and often coming home disappointed, I’m wondering if it’s worth it. Should I give up the Black Friday shopping?
A: Black Friday has long been hailed as the biggest shopping day of the year, but consumers are beginning to rethink that title. While there are definitely great deals to be grabbed on the day after Thanksgiving, it’s not always worth the hassle. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of being a Black Friday shopper so you can make an informed decision.
What are the advantages of Black Friday shopping?
If you’ve been a Black Friday shopper for years, you likely already know the advantages of joining the crowds at the stores on this national shopping day. Here are some of the significant pros of Black Friday shopping:
- Deep discounts on many goods. There’s no denying that Black Friday does bring with it some great sales. A typical Black Friday sale will feature prices slashed from 20-37%, on average, though you can find deeper discounts, too.
- Get a head start on holiday shopping. If you’re eager to start crossing items off your list, you’ll likely want to start your gift-buying on the unofficial first day of the shopping season.
- Enjoyable experience. If you’re the kind of person who thrives on being at the center of all the action, you may love Black Friday shopping just for the fun of it.
- Limited-time offers. Some of the most attractive deals are only available on Black Friday or for a limited time during the holiday season. If there’s a particular item you’ve had your eye on, this may be your best chance to get it at a discount.
- In-store shopping. For some shoppers, browsing through online sites from home can’t come close to the thrill of in-store shopping on Black Friday. You can see the layout of the stores, try out new products, run your fingers through the fabric of the dress you’ve been eyeing or inhale the new-sneaker smell of the pair you’ve coveted all summer long.
What are the disadvantages of Black Friday shopping?
Of course, Black Friday shopping does have its disadvantages as well, including the following:
- Prices may not be at their lowest. With all the hype, Black Friday prices are not necessarily the lowest price an item might see this season. For example, prices on winter clothing and gear tend to drop after hitting peak season in January. Toys will see deep discounts 10 days before Christmas and tech items are almost always cheaper after the holiday season through Super Bowl Sunday. So, while you may find some great bargains, if you’re looking to get stuff at super-cheap prices, Black Friday may not be the best time to shop.
- Doorbusters are often overrated. The heavily advertised doorbusters at big stores are usually offered in very limited quantities. Unless you camp out at the mall so you’re one of the first in the store, you’ll likely miss it.
- Crowds and chaos. The massive crowds and chaotic scenes you’ll likely encounter on Black Friday are enough to make many shoppers sleep in late and get their shopping done another time.
- It’s no longer the biggest shopping day of the year. Many stores run their Black Friday deals a few days before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. This means Friday isn’t the only time you can get these deals.
- You can get the same deals online. Most Black Friday deals can be found online–minus the crowds.
Black Friday shopping helps you get a head-start on your holiday shopping and pick up great deals, but it may not be worth the hassle. Use the information outlined here to make an informed decision about Black Friday shopping.
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