Black Friday 2020: The best early deals, our expert buying advice, and all of your FAQs answered

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Black Friday is one of the most anticipated shopping events of the year, and this year's Black Friday is shaping up to be unlike any that came before it.

Below, learn everything you need to know about Black Friday 2020, including the important dates to know, where to shop, what to buy, and the best deals our team of expert product reviewers expects to see this November. 

The best early Black Friday deals available now

What is Black Friday? 

Black Friday is an annual sales event that traditionally happens at the end of November and, historically, marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The event is one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year — sales are so high that the day can push a retailer into "the black," or solvency.

Shoppers can expect thousands of deals to crop up on the days leading up to and following the big sales event. That said, many retailers often wait until the big day to drop the best deals.

Is Black Friday 2020 cancelled?

No, but it will be unlike any Black Friday that came before it. This year, Black Friday will be longer and more online than ever.

Nearly every major retailer will offer deals and exclusive offers throughout the month of November, if they haven't started already. 

With the ongoing pandemic, the in-store Black Friday experience will look a lot different than in previous years. It's hard to imagine seeing the deluge of people scrambling for doorbuster deals happening this year with safety restrictions in place.

When is Black Friday 2020?

Black Friday is always the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, Black Friday falls on November 27. 

However, due to increased online shopping and subsequent supply-chain delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, several storefronts, including Walmart and Best Buy, have augmented their schedules. For instance, Best Buy launched its "Black Friday" sale alongside Amazon Prime Day. The electronics retailer decided to begin its sale early this year "to help shoppers start their shopping season early — and safely." 

What time does Black Friday start?

Technically speaking, Black Friday starts at 12:01 a.m. local time for online retailers. However, Black Friday sales start whenever each retailer decides their sales will go live.

From what we've seen so far, several retailers will be releasing new deals every week in 2020. 

  • Amazon: While Amazon hasn't released when it will release its official, wide-ranging Black Friday sale, it's offering several one-day offers during the lead-up. Last year, Amazon's deals started online at midnight on November 22.
  • Best Buy: Stores will be closed Thanksgiving Day, but the retailer is running its 'Prep for the Holidays Black Friday' sale for the whole month of November. 
  • Gamestop: While Gamestop has yet to announce its Black Friday sale dates, we do know that all stores will be closed for Thanksgiving Day and that the retailer is planning to offer deals ahead of November 28.
  • Home Depot:
  • Kohl's: Stores will be closed Thanksgiving Day, but the retailer's sale is slated to start on Black Friday, November 28.
  • Macy's: Macy's is currently mum on when it will kick off its Black Friday sale. Last year, Macy's opened from 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day to 2 a.m. November 29 of last year. They reopened at 6 a.m. November 29 of last year.
  • Nordstrom: Last year, stores opened at 10 a.m. November 29 and online sales started on November 27. This year, we expect to see Nordstrom take a more online approach. 
  • Target: The company is offering new deals every week of November for Black Friday this year, with weekly ads dropping each Thursday. The first ad will be released on October 29.
  • Walmart: Walmart is holding 'Black Friday Deals for Days' events this year. Three events are taking place starting as early as November 4 both online and in stores, with a few online-only sales.  
  • Wayfair: Last year, Wayfair sales began online at 9 a.m. ET November 22. 

How long do Black Friday sales last?

Don't be fooled by the name that suggests it's a single day. It's most definitely not. It's more like a shopping season that begins in early November. 

Black Friday sales generally start days or weeks in advance of the actual shopping event and continue on until Cyber Monday. Better yet, some retailers hold their deals until well after both events to further boost the entire December shopping season.

What should you buy on Black Friday? 

Since it falls a few weeks before the gift-giving season, Black Friday provides excellent opportunities to buy — and save on all your holiday gifts  — before the last-minute rush. 

It's nearly guaranteed that you'll get great value for your money on certain products during Black Friday — but some tend to see better discounts at other times of the year. If you go in knowing what you're looking for, you're less likely to be ripped off by a fancy-looking coupon or to spend money on products you don't need.

Shoppers can expect tons of great deals — including so-called "doorbusters" — online before and the days following Black Friday. During the event, prices will drop to all-time lows, often beating out prices we see over the course of the year. The sale covers every product category: tech, home and kitchen, fashion, and smart home. 

This Black Friday, shoppers should expect to see similar offers to the ones we saw on Amazon Prime Day, except more wide-ranging.

We recommend focusing on the following product categories if you want the best deals: 

  • TVs
  • Smart home devices
  • Gaming consoles and video games
  • Kitchen appliances

Historically, Black Friday has been a great time to purchase big-ticket electronics — especially larger TVs. Whether you're looking for a top-of-the-line Samsung set or LG OLED, or a budget-friendly TCL or Hisense model, Black Friday will likely deliver several deals.

Much like Amazon Prime Day, we expect to see tons of discounts on smart home products. We'll likely see Amazon Echo products drop to their lowest prices ever, plus several discounts and bundles on Google's recently released products.

Black Friday happens after the latest Xbox and Playstation consoles are released. While we're unlikely to see any markdowns on the consoles, we may see a few bundles crop up. We will likely see modest discounts on games for all consoles, and huge bundles for last-generation consoles. 

If you're looking for a kitchen upgrade, Black Friday is a great time to shop. We'll likely see discounts on Instant Pot pressure cookers, KitchenAid appliances, pots and pans, plus everything else you'll want for the upcoming holiday season.

Of course, the deals found during Black Friday are incredibly wide-ranging. While we expect there to be several deals on diapers, toilet paper, or other household essentials and toiletries, please be careful not to over-stock on supplies during a pandemic.

Is Black Friday or Cyber Monday better?

It's complicated, and it matters much less this year.

For those unfamiliar, Cyber Monday traditionally comes three days after Black Friday, or the following Monday after. However, we've seen Black Friday and Cyber Monday slowly merge and expand to a weeklong, or even a monthlong affair. Different products receive better discounts on each day, and the deals that each retailer offers will vary.

This year, with most Americans shopping online, it's more critical for shoppers to know where and what time to shop, not what day. 

A good rule of thumb to follow: If you think you see a good deal, (e.g. one we recommend) create the order as soon as possible. While you can always cancel or return a product, it's impossible to take advantage of an inactive, or expired deal.

Suppose you purchase a discounted product during Black Friday and see a more significant markdown at another retailer come Cyber Monday. Don't sweat it.

You can ask the original storefront to match the price (some automatically refund you the difference), or you can return or cancel the order, then place a new order with the better price. Some orders won't even ship during the weekend, which makes it easy to cancel orders.

For those who can shop in-person during Black Friday, we've found that it's better to shop on Black Friday in these situations:

  • For expensive products
  • For major stores
  • For this year's products
  • If you plan to shop in stores (if it's available in your area)

It should go without saying, but this year's in-store experience will be a lot different from the one last year. If you so choose to shop Black Friday in-person, make sure to read up on the safety guidelines provided by each storefront.

What stores have Black Friday deals? 

Outside of a few notable exceptions like REI, nearly every major retailer and direct-to-consumer company will offer markdowns during the event. Shoppers should expect deals from Walmart, Best Buy, Dell, Amazon, Adorama,  Lowe's, Home Depot, and more.

As we do every Black Friday, we are sifting through all of the offers and rounding up the best deals from your favorite retailers. 

Will there be Black Friday shipping delays?

Shipping delays and major shopping holidays go hand in hand, and this year is no exception. Experts suggest that consumers may see low inventory problems and shipping, during Black Friday and the weeks following. 

While we do expect shipping delays, several retailers, including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, are hoping to alleviate some of that stress by offering in-store pickup and contactless curbside pickup. This means shoppers can grab their orders at a nearby location if the store has it in stock. 

When do Black Friday ads come out?

Every year, shoppers eagerly await Black Friday advertising to get a sneak peek at the deals each retailer will over. Shoppers use these "ad scans" to help create their Black Friday game plan.

While there isn't a release schedule available, a smattering of retailers has already posted their advertising online, the most notable being Walmart. We'll update this section to include all of the available ad scans as soon as they become available.

Here are the most important ad scans currently available: 

  • Walmart: To find the ad scan, first find your local Walmart via the local directory. Once you get to the "Store Overview" page, find the "Weekly Ad" section.

How we select the best Black Friday deals

  • We only choose products that meet our high standard of coverage and that we've either used ourselves or researched carefully.
  • We'll compare the prices among top retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart and include only the deals that are better than all others offered (not including promotional discounts that come from using certain credit cards). 
  • All deals will be at least 20% off, with the occasional exception for products that are rarely discounted or provide an outsize value.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

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