Everything You Need to Know Ahead of Black Friday 2020
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Everything You Need to Know Ahead of Black Friday 2020

Black Friday already? It’s not even Halloween yet. Yeah, scary. You can thank the pandemic for Amazon Prime Day’s shift from July to October 13 and 14 this year. And when Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and the like followed suit with their own sales, they kicked off an avalanche of holiday sales that will carry everyone right into December. So it’s kind of no big deal if you missed the good Prime Day sales (the Wirecutter Deals team found that less than 1% of the total deals we scanned met our standards, anyway) because there’s plenty of shopping season left.

When is Black Friday 2020?

Technically, it’s November 27, 2020. But it’s less a single shopping day and more a mentality. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Week, Cyber Month, Cyber Season. Does time even have meaning anymore, 2020?

All that is to say we expect to see steady deals of varying quality in the coming weeks. Many brick-and-mortar stores, such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, will not open on Thanksgiving this year, joining Costco and REI, which have historically closed on Thanksgiving Day. But that means more retailers are pushing their sales online, so more people than ever will be snagging deals online.

Will there be Black Friday shipping delays?

Although Amazon and other large companies have had several months to work out their pandemic supply-chain kinks (and we don’t expect to see the kind of systematic slowdowns that happened in March and April), there’s only so much volume that shipping companies can handle within a short window. “The push for early holiday shopping is practical as much as it is promotional for retailers,” says Wirecutter Deals editor Nathan Burrow. “It’s a hedge against shortages and shipping delays, allowing customers to ensure they get holiday items and gifts on time.” Depending on what you’re buying, it may not be worth waiting to purchase something if the item doesn’t arrive due to shipping snafus.

Should I wait until Black Friday to shop sales?

Our Deals team is always searching for discounts, on Wirecutter picks, that meet our standards. That means you don’t have to wait until Black Friday to get a good deal on something you’ve had your eye on, whether it’s a gift for family or friends or a little something for yourself. If you absolutely need to receive your purchase by a specific date, it might not be best to wait.

What Black Friday sales should I expect to see?

Smart-home devices from Amazon, Google, and the like should have solid discount pricing. Small appliances like vacuums, blenders, and the almighty Instant Pot are also likely to be on sale. Plenty of electronics will be on sale, so just apply a little scrutiny to a prospective purchase’s model number and specs before you buy it to make sure you’re getting the product you think you are.

What should I avoid on Black Friday?

Steer clear of too-good-to-be-true prices on TVs. Such models often come from no-name brands and are cheaply made. “If you care about getting a quality TV, they aren’t good deals. A good deal (as we define it) is a great discount on a quality item, and these TVs aren’t that,” says Nathan.

We also think the Apple Watch Series 3 isn’t worth your time. You might see a price of $150 or less and be tempted, but we think you’d be happier with something much newer and faster. Even us penny-pinchers on the Deals team know that sometimes spending a little bit more is worth it.

About your guide

Annemarie Conte

Annemarie Conte

Deputy Editor

Annemarie Conte is a deputy editor at Wirecutter. She has written and edited for multiple outlets throughout her career, including Woman’s Day, Seventeen, The New York Times, O The Oprah Magazine, and Jane magazine. You can follow her on Instagram.

Editorial note: The evaluations of financial products in this article are independently determined by Wirecutter and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any third party.