Deal pricing and availability subject to change after time of publication.
UPDATE: Nov. 18, 2021, 3:00 p.m. EST This post has been updated with more information about Best Buy’s Black Friday sale, Walmart’s Black Friday hours, and tons of new deals.
We’ve rounded up all of the best early Black Friday deals as of Nov. 18 — here are our top picks:
BEST TV DEAL: LG 48-inch OLED A1 Series 4K smart TV, a vivid new 4K display that comes with a $100 Amazon.com credit when you enter the promo code HBQ5KMZKGRRP at checkout — $896.99
BEST ROBOT VACUUM DEAL: iRobot Roomba i3+ is the most affordable self-emptying Roomba — $399.99
BEST APPLE DEAL: AirPods Max, last year’s premium over-ear headphones with noise cancellation, a transparency mode, and spatial audio — $439.01
BEST SMART HOME DEAL: Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen) is a compact smart speaker that’s now half off its usual retail price — $24.99
$49(save $25) + 3 months of YouTube Premium for free
BEST LAPTOP DEAL: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3, an ultra-thin convertible laptop with a MediaTek MT8173C Processor, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of storage — $149.99
BEST FITNESS DEAL: Peloton Bike+ is an upgraded version of the cult-favorite spin bike that features a larger, swivel-able HD touchscreen and automatic resistance detection — $2,145
$2,495(save $350) + free delivery and a free 2-month Peloton app subscription
BEST AIR FRYER DEAL: Instant Pot Duo Crisp (6 quarts), an 11-in-1 multicooker with an air-frying lid; this is its best price of the holiday season (so far) — $99.99
Did it hurt? When you realized we’re in the thick of our second pandemic holiday shopping season?
A handful of stores began soft-launching their Black Friday sales in October to get a jump on the ongoing supply chain mess that’s clearing inventories and putting products on backorder. Now, with just over a week to go until the big day (Friday, Nov. 26), all major retailers are bringing out some best-ever deals to help savvy shoppers avoid shipping delays.
Below, you’ll find a complete list of all the Black Friday doorbusters that are live right now (with sales grouped by retailer, category, and brand). We continue to update this post as more deals pop up, but don’t hold out too long if something on your shopping list is already enjoying a discount — it may not be in stock for much longer.
The best Black Friday deals at each retailer
Amazon: The retail mega-giant kicked off this year’s festivities on Oct. 4 and continues to drop holiday doorbusters every day in the lead-up to its 48-hour Black Friday event on Nov. 25 and 26, which will supposedly feature “more deals than ever before.” (Its inventory tends to change the most, so check back often — you can find out what’s up for grabs by visiting its Early Black Friday Deals page, installing its mobile app, or by asking your smart home device, “Alexa, what are my deals?”) At the time of writing, its best deals included deep discounts on the new Fire TV Omni and Fire TV 4-Series smart displays, a $99 Honeywell Home smart thermostat, and a new all-time-low price for this year’s fancy Fitbit Luxe. Like in previous years, it pays to be an Amazon Prime member: Subscribers get 30-minute early access to select Lightning Deals, which go quick once they’re live. (Click here to sign up for a free 30-day trial.)
Bed Bath & Beyond: This year’s slow-burner, BB&B still has yet to reveal its official holiday ad scan. No matter — its latest early Black Friday sale brings savings of up to 50% on kitchen appliances, holiday decor, bedding, and health/beauty tools through Nov. 21; highlights include 41% off the Revlon One-Step, $50 off the new Ninja Foodi XL Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer, and this $250 Cuisinart stand mixer that comes with a $50 gift card. Want to save even more? You can get 20% off your entire purchase by using store pickup or joining its $29/year Beyond+ membership program. (Subscribers also get free standard shipping through Jan. 31, 2022; click here to start a free trial.)
Best Buy: The electronics store’s official Black Friday sale begins a whole week early (on Friday, Nov. 19) with $99 Chromebooks, $150 off a 70-inch Samsung 4K TV, up to $100 off select Fitbits, $200 off a Dyson cordless vacuum, half off a Bowflex treadmill, up to 40% off LEGO Star Wars building sets, and 30% off a wired Ring Video Doorbell that comes with a free third-gen Echo Dot. (In the meantime, feel free to peruse early doorbusters like a $999 iMac, up to $60 off Alienware gaming accessories, and a 50% markdown on a limited-edition Keurig K-Mini.) If anything you buy gets cheaper on or before Nov. 26, you’ll get a refund under its new “Black Friday Price Guarantee.”
Dell: A few other stores beat Dell to the punch this year — it’s usually among the first to release its holiday ad scan — but its official Black Friday event began earlier than everyone else’s on Monday, Nov. 15. Deals are going fast; get in there ASAP to score up to 35% off select gaming PCs, up to 34% off XPS laptops, and up to 58% off monitors. (Psst: This 27-inch QHD gaming monitor comes with a free $50 gift card on top of a $260 discount.)
HP: The techies over at HP are rolling their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals into one big ol’ sale from Nov. 25 to Cyber Monday (its “biggest savings event of the year,” per the ad scan), which plunges prices on Microsoft Office software and tons of Windows 11 laptops and PCs. As far as early pickings go, you can score a free headset when you buy an HP EliteBook 840 for 40% off; save 31% on an HP Chromebook 11a-nb0047nr; and get $100 off the HP Reverb G2 virtual reality headset during its sitewide Black Friday Sneak Peek sale.
JCPenney: The department store is keeping things pretty traditional this year with a three-day Black Friday sale from Nov. 26 to 28. But like most of its peers, it’s also putting a sprinkling of weekly deals and doorbusters up on its website all month long — $8 kitchen appliances (with mail-in rebates), up to 60% off select mattresses, and a $10 karaoke mic, anyone?
Kohl’s: Early-bird shoppers can “get a jump on the savings” at Kohl’s by shopping its Early Black Friday Deals from Nov. 18 to 20; that includes two dozen discounts on popular items like the Fitbit Versa 2 (33% off + $20 Kohl’s Cash), the Google Nest Learning Thermostat (28% off + $30 Kohl’s Cash), the second-gen Google Nest Hub (50% off + $10 Kohl’s Cash), the latest Amazon Fire TV Stick (50% off), and the Keurig K-Duo (55% off + $10 Kohl’s Cash with the promo code HOME). Be sure to mark your calendar for Nov. 21, which is when its official Black Friday sale begins — we’ll see the return of its excellent $15 for $50 Kohl’s Cash offer on select days, per its ad scan.
Macy’s: The mall stalwart is offering “unbeatable” and “specially-curated” deals each week of November ahead of its big holiday sale (which begins a few days early on Tuesday, Nov. 23 and goes through Saturday, Nov. 27). Its latest markdowns come as part of a Black Friday Early Access Sale on apparel, home goods, shoes, and handbags/accessories from Nov. 16 to 22, helmed by a $26 16-cup rice cooker and a $200 markdown on a queen-sized Purple mattress.
Target: Not to be outdone by its peers, the bullseye brand is getting a head start on Black Friday with a series of weeklong Holiday Best sales — the third of which is live through Saturday, Nov. 20. (Peep this $100 Instant Pot Duo Crisp, these $100 Beats headphones, and these Disney toys and clothes that are all buy two, get one free.) Its official Black Friday sale will also be a weeklong affair (from Nov. 21 to 27); stop by to save up to $60 on Apple Watches and AirPods, snag a $250 Dyson vacuum, and score a free $50 gift card with the purchase of an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. It’s worth noting that Target’s holiday price match policy is now in effect through Dec. 24, and you can also take advantage of two new “buy now, pay later” payment options through Sezzle and Affirm.
Walmart: The big box store has revived its popular Black Friday Deals for Days event from 2020, this time spreading it out over three sales throughout the month of November. (Like Target, it’s also nixed layaway in favor of a new “buy now, pay later” program as part of its partnership with Affirm.) Its second sale began online on Nov. 10 and continued in stores on Nov. 12; doorbusters like a $129 Samsung Chromebook 4, a $259 Cricut Maker Holiday Bundle, and 50% off a 1,500-piece LEGO set are all still available. Its third and final event will begin Monday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. ET following a three-hour preview for paying Walmart+ members (click here to sign up), then continue in stores on Black Friday at 5 a.m. local time — can’t-miss deals will include a $109 Apple Watch Series 3, $159 AirPods Pro, and the return of last year’s $299 Nintendo Switch/Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundle.
Best tech deals
Credit: Ian Moore / Mashable
23andMe: Save up to 52% on select DNA tests (starting at just $79).
Acer: Get 23% off an Acer Swift 5 with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a whole terabyte of storage (now $999).
AeroGarden: Take 40% off its Sprout and Harvest indoor gardens (now $59.99 and $89.99, respectively), 44% off the Harvest 360 (now $83.99), 39% off the Harvest Elite (now $109.50), and 47% off the Harvest Elite Slim (now $99.99).
Amazon Fire TV: Get half off the latest Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K (now $19.99 and $24.99, respectively), 40% off the Fire TV Stick Lite (now $17.99), 36% off the Fire TV Stick 4K Max (now $34.99), or 33% off the Fire TV Cube (now $79.99). Amazon’s new Fire TV Omni and Fire TV 4-Series smart displays are also on sale for up to 30% off (starting at $299.99 and $269.99, respectively).
AncestryDNA: Save 40% on a DNA test kit (now $59).
ASUS: Take $110 off a VivoBook Flip 14 Laptop with an Intel Core i3-10110U processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage (now $379), or grab an ASUS Laptop L510 with an Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage for $60 off (now $219).
Bose: Take $170 off the QuietComfort 35 II noise-canceling headphones (now $179), $50 off the new QuietComfort 45s (now $279 — their lowest price to date), $80 off the QuietComfort noise-canceling earbuds (now $199), and $30 off the Sport Earbuds (now $149.99).
Canon: Get up to 38% off select cameras and accessories.
Dell: Save $250 on a 512GB Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 Laptop (now $699.99) and $313 on a 256GB Dell XPS 13 Laptop (now $636.99). More of a desktop person? Get half off the 512GB Dell Vostro 3888 using the promo code BFDTLQ8 (now $569) and 29% off the new XPS Desktop (now $599.99 — no code required).
Facebook: Save up to 32% on Facebook Portal smart video-calling devices (starting at $117.02).
Fujifilm: Get an Instax Mini 7+ bundle at Walmart for just $48, which is 20% less than the camera alone.
Google: Save up to 50% and score up to $30 in Kohl’s Cash when you buy a second-gen Nest Hub (now $49.99), a battery-powered Nest Video Doorbell (now $129.99), or the Nest Learning Thermostat (now $179) during the department store’s early Black Friday sale. Meanwhile, Best Buy will give you three months of YouTube Premium for free if you grab a second-gen Nest Mini smart speaker on sale there at half price (now $24.99), and Walmart has the Chromecast with Google TV on sale for $10 off (now $39).
GoPro: Get $50 off the HERO9 Black and the new HERO10 Black on Amazon (now $349.99 and $449, respectively), or visit Walmart to get a HERO8 Black bundle for just $249 — that’s 29% cheaper than the camera itself.
Honeywell Home: Save 41% on the WiFi Smart Color Thermostat (now $99).
Insignia: Save 41% on the brand’s bestselling 24-inch smart TV (now $99.99), or buy its 58-inch Class F30 Series 4K smart TV on sale for 40% off (now $349.99) to score three months of Apple TV+ and a 30-day trial of FuboTV for free.
Jabra: Save $80 on the Elite 85t true wireless earbuds (now $149.99).
JBL: Get 40% off its Tune series of headphones and earbuds (starting at $29.95), or take half off the JBL Live 460NCs and 660NCs (now $69.95 and $99.99, respectively) to receive up to $20 in Kohl’s Cash.
Lenovo: Take 57% off the Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant (now $34.99); get an Alexa-enabled Lenovo Yoga 6 with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage for $200 off (now $749.99); or snag a Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 with a MediaTek MT8173C processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage for 53% off (now just $149.99).
LG: Save 32% on the LG SLM3R 4.1 channel soundbar surround system (now $129), take up to 28% off a gaming-ready C1 OLED TV (starting at $1,096.99), or get a 48-inch A1 Series 4K smart TV on sale for 25% off (now $896.99) and earn a free $100 Amazon.com credit using the promo code HBQ5KMZKGRRP.
Marshall: Save $50 on the Kilburn II portable Bluetooth speaker (now $249.99).
Revlon: Save 42% on the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer (now $34.88), a budget-friendly alternative to the Dyson Airwrap.
Samsung: Get 34% off the 32GB Galaxy Tab A (now $99.99), 23% off the 128GB Galaxy Tab S7 (now $499), 25% off the Galaxy Buds Pro (now $149.74), 41% off the Galaxy Buds Live (now $99.99), 47% off the Galaxy Buds+ (now $79), 55% off a Galaxy Watch3 (now $179.99), and up to 20% off the new Galaxy Watch 4 (starting at $199.99). You can also save up to 33% on select 4K smart TVs with Alexa, including the latest iteration of The Frame.
Sennheiser: Get up to 40% off select headphones and earbuds (starting at only $19.95).
Sony: Save up to 39% on its BRAVIA XR X90J 4K smart TVs (starting at $898) or snag a 55-inch BRAVIA XR A80J 4K smart TV on sale for 22% off (now $1,399.99) to get a free three-month trial of Apple TV+.
TCL: Save 37% on its 43-inch 4-Series 4K Roku smart TV (now $219.99), take 39% off the 55-inch 5-Series 4K Roku smart TV (now $398), or get $150 off the new 55-inch 6-Series QLED 4K smart Google TV (now $799.99), which features Mini-LED backlighting and comes with three free months of Apple TV+. Want to turn your living room into a home theater? Grab TCL’s 2.1 Channel Dolby Atmos Sound Bar on sale for 44% off (now $99.99),
Best robot vacuum deals
Credit: Ian Moore / Mashable
Bissell: Save 38% on the SpinWave 2-in-1 robotic mop and vacuum (now $249).
iRobot: Take $100 off the WiFi-connected Roomba 692 and Roomba i3 (now $199.99 and $299.99, respectively), save $200 on the self-emptying Roomba i3+ (now $399.99), or get a Roomba i6+ with Imprint Smart Mapping for 31% off (now $549.99).
Roborock: Get $170 off the S5 MAX (now $379.99) and $229.99 off the self-emptying S7+ (now $719.99), two hybrid robot vacuum/mops; don’t forget to apply their extra savings coupons before adding them to your cart.
MORE BLACK FRIDAY DEALS ON ROBOT VACUUMS AND ROOMBAS
Best Apple deals
Credit: Bob Al-Greene
AirPods: Get 21% off the AirPods Pro (now $197), take 25% off the second-gen AirPods (now $119), save $4.01 on the new third-gen AirPods (now $174.99 — hey, it’s something), or grab a pair of AirPods Max for $109.01 off (now $439.01).
Apple TV: Get six months each of Apple Music and Apple News+, a three-month trial of Apple TV+, and 30 days of FuboTV when you grab a 32GB Apple TV 4K on sale for $30 off (now $129.99).
Apple Watch: Save $9.01 on the new 41mm Apple Watch Series 7 (now $389.99), $50 on a 40mm Apple Watch Series 6 (now $349), or $30 on a 38mm Apple Watch Series 3 (now $169). Want one with cellular connectivity instead? Buy it directly from the Apple Store to get $100 back after activation.
Beats: Get half off the Solo3 and Solo Pro wireless headphones (now $99.99 and $149, respectively), or take 40% off the Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones (now $149.99). Plus, score some free trials of Apple Music, Apple News+, and Apple TV+ when you buy the Studio3 noise-canceling headphones on sale at Best Buy for 43% off (now $199.99).
iPad: Save $50 on an iPad Air with 64GB of storage (now $549) or get up to $150 off select configurations of the latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro (starting at $999). You can also buy any iPad with cellular connectivity directly from Apple to score up to $200 back after activation.
iMac: Take $49.01 off the colorful new 24-inch iMac with Apple’s M1 chip, a 7-core GPU, and 256GB of storage (now $1,249.99); get $500 off the 21.5-inch iMac with a Retina 4K display, an Intel Core i5 processor, and 256GB of storage (now $999); or save $150 on a 27-inch iMac with a Retina 5K display, an Intel Core i5 processor, and 512GB of storage (now $1,849).
MacBook: Get up to $149.01 off an M1-equipped MacBook Air (starting at $899), save $150 on a 512GB M1 MacBook Pro (now $1,349), or take $49.01 off the latest 14-inch MacBook Pro with 1TB of storage and an all-new M1 Pro chip (now $2,449.99).
Mac mini: Save $99.01 on last year’s 256GB Mac mini (now $599.99), which is powered by the original M1 chip.
Best fitness deals
Credit: Bob Al-Green / Mashable
Echelon: Take 20% off the EX-3 Smart Connect and the EX5-S Smart Connect (now $799 and $1,275.19, respectively), two Peloton-rivaling fitness bikes, or grab a 40-inch Echelon Reflect smart fitness mirror for 24% off (now $756.99).
The Mirror: Save $500 and get free delivery with the code HOLIDAY21 (now $995).
NordicTrack: Get $700 off the new S22i Commercial Studio Cycle and the Commercial 2950 Treadmill (now $1,499 and $2,499.99, respectively) or $600 off the RW200 Rower (now $699.99); all three come with a free 30-day iFIT membership.
Schwinn: Save $210 on the IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike (now $989) and get a free one-year JRNY membership.
Tonal: Save $250 on the Tonal home gym system (now $2,745).
Best gaming deals
Credit: Bob Al-Greene / Mashable
Amazon: Save up to 40% on select gaming furniture (including chairs, bean bags, and desks).
Bose: Take 15% off the QuietComfort 35 Series 2 Gaming Headset (now $279).
Dell: Save $600 on the Alienware Aurora R12 Gaming Desktop (now $1,399.99), get $380 off the Alienware M15 R5 Ryzen Gaming Laptop (now $999.99), or buy Dell’s 27-inch QHD gaming monitor on sale for 44% off (now $329.99) to score a free $50 gift card. Need a new keyboard or headset? Grab some Alienware gaming peripherals on sale at Best Buy for up to 40% off (starting at $59.99).
GameStop: Thousands of new and pre-owned video games are buy two, get one free (including Call of Duty: Vanguard, Forza Horizon 5, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Deathloop, Returnal, and Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut).
HP: Take $100 off the HP Reverb G2 virtual reality headset (now $499).
JBL: Get up to 25% off its Quantum line of gaming headsets (starting at $29.95).
LG: Save 21% on the new 27-inch UltraGear GP850 (now $396.99) and 29% on the 32-inch UltraGear GN600 (now $249), two 2560 x 1440 gaming monitors with a 165Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and HDR10 support.
Razer: Take up to 50% off Razer peripherals (starting at $29.99) or grab last year’s excellent Razer Blade 15 gaming laptop on sale for 31% off (now $1,787.40) — this particular configuration comes with an Intel Core i7-10875H processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.
Rockstar: Save 58% on a copy of Red Dead Redemption II for Playstation 4 (now $25).
Turtle Beach: Get half off the Recon 200 gaming headset (now $29.99).
Best kitchen deals
Credit: Ian Moore / Mashable
Cuisinart: Get a $50 Bed Bath & Beyond gift card when you buy a 5.5-quart Precision Master Stand Mixer for $249.99.
Hamilton Beach: Save $50 on the Digital Sure-Crisp Air Fry Toaster Oven (now $79.99).
Keurig: Save 50% on a limited-edition K-Mini (now $49.99), 56% on the K-Duo (now $79.99 with code HOME + $10 Kohl’s Cash), 33% on the K-Slim (now $79.99), and 20% on the K-Supreme (now $119.99 + $10 Kohl’s Cash).
KitchenAid: Save 38% on the Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine (now $279.99), which comes with an automatic milk frother attachment.
Le Creuset: Take 40% off the fancy French brand’s 3.5-quart Sauteuse (now $179.95).
Ninja: Take $80 off the 6.5-quart Foodi TenderCrisp Pressure Cooker (now $149), save $50 on the new 8-quart Foodi XL Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer (now $279.99), and get 42% off its 4-quart Air Fryer (now $69). Plus, score $50 in Kohl’s Cash when you buy a 10-piece Foodi Neverstick Premium Anti-Scratch Nest System on sale at the department store for $70 off (now $299.99).
Pyrex: Save 60% on a 22-piece set of glass storage containers (now $19.99).
SodaStream: Get up to 22% off select bundles (starting at $124.95).
MORE BLACK FRIDAY DEALS ON INSTANT POTS AND AIR FRYERS
Best house and home deals
Credit: Bob Al-Greene / Mashable
Birch: Get $400 off a mattress and two free Eco-Rest pillows with the code BFSALE400.
Brooklyn Bedding: Take 25% off sitewide using the code BLACKFRIDAY25.
Casper: Save up to 20% on select bundles, mattresses, and sleep accessories.
Homesick: Get up to 25% off select candles (starting at $20.23).
Layla Sleep: Get up to $200 off mattresses and up to $950 off bundles.
Leesa: Get up to $500 off mattresses and 20% off bundles (plus two free pillows with every purchase).
Purple: Save up to $600 when you bundle a mattress with pillows, sheets, and a mattress protector.
Tuft & Needle: Save up to 20% sitewide.
Best toy deals
Credit: Ian Moore / Mashable
Baby Alive: Take 25% off the Baby Alive Lulu Achoo Doll (now $39.97).
Disney: Select toys and kids’ clothes are buy two, get one free at Target.
Kinetic Sand: Save 15% on the Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory Set (now $16.97).
Little Tikes: Save 34% on the Activity Garden Playhouse (now $59).
Osmo: Get 25% off select kits and games (starting at $22.49).
Play-Doh: Save 30% on select playsets and kits at Target.
Ruko: Take 15% off the voice-controlled Ruko Smart Robot (now $109.99) with an extra savings coupon.
Tamagotchi: Get 34% off the floral/pink Tamagotchi Pix (now $39.46).
Target: Save 10% on kids’ craft and activity kits.
Best pet deals
Treat your good boy/girl this Black Friday.
Basepaws: Get $50 off its Breed + Health Cat DNA Test (now $79) with the code DNAFRIDAY.
Chewy: Select pet products are buy three, get one free.
ChuckIt!: Take 59% off the ChuckIt! Sports Ball Launcher (now $5.28).
KONG: Save 15% on the medium-sized KONG Classic (now $10.99), a stuffable and durable rubber chew toy.
Petco: Get $30 off select pet supplies purchases of $100 or more.
Petcube: Save $24.05 on the Bites 2 Lite (now $124.95), an 1080p HD pet camera with night vision, two-way audio, and a treat dispenser.
ThunderShirt: Get 15% off a small ThunderShirt (now $34), which fits most dogs in the 15- to 25-pound range.
Whistle: Take 30% off the Whistle GO Explore (now $104.95), 25% off the Whistle FIT (now $59.95), and 23% off the new Whistle Switch (now $154.95); all three come with a free three-month monitoring plan. Plus, save 50% on select accessories.
Don’t forget to order a little something nice for yourself this year. You earned it.
Credit: Vicky Leta / Mashable
Ready or not, Black Friday is here
Stores began cramming our inboxes with Black Friday-worthy deals in early October (starting with Amazon’s “Epic Daily Deals” event, which kicked off Oct. 4). It probably felt a bit preemptive, like those neighbors who insist on putting up their Christmas lights while the trees are still green, but they actually had a very good reason to get a jump on this year’s sales.
And no, it wasn’t just a good, old-fashioned cash grab in response to some strong holiday spending forecasts.
Shipping delays and supply chain chaos
The global economy is grappling with some unprecedented supply chain challenges as the result of the Delta variant, which continues to inflame pandemic-related material scarcities, labor shortages, and shipping bottlenecks across industries of all kinds. (Under circumstances absolutely no one had on their bingo card, pickles and paper bags have gotten as elusive as Playstation 5s.)
Unsurprisingly, the ordeal has left most major manufacturers and retailers scrambling. Amazon is trying to lure in an extra 150,000 seasonal employees with the promise of $3,000 sign-on bonuses and higher pay for certain shifts, while Walmart, Home Depot, and Ikea have all gone so far as to charter private cargo ships to make sure their shelves are stocked for the season. Apple, meanwhile, is “predicting that we’re going to be short of demand by larger than $6 billion” heading into the holidays, CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview with Reuters.
For us consumers, this all means that finding the best deals this holiday season will likely be an ongoing issue of availability. As Canalys analyst Runar Bjørhovde wrote in an email to Mashable: “It will be very possible to buy devices, it’s more of a question to what cost and when.” (Read more about supply chain issues.)
If you missed out on the whirlwind of early sales, fret not. Backorders and “sold out” notices haven’t besieged stores just yet, but mapping out a game plan now will help you avoid them when they inevitably crop up in the coming week. Here are all the must-know details you can use to strategize this holiday shopping season:
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is a shopping holiday that takes place every year on the day right after Thanksgiving. It used to be synonymous with viral fistfights and stampedes and lines that stretched around city blocks before 3 a.m., but COVID-19 has turned it into a mostly online event.
When is Black Friday?
While Black Friday proper falls on Nov. 26 this year, most stores have already begun rolling out their holiday doorbusters.
Black Friday versus Cyber Monday — what’s the difference?
The National Retail Federation officially coined the term “Cyber Monday” in 2005 after it noticed that in previous years, the Monday after Thanksgiving saw a massive uptick in online sales. It credited the phenomenon to two factors: Online retailers were starting to vie for a piece of the Black Friday pie, and shoppers were waiting to peruse the deals on their faster work computers come Monday morning. (At the time, office PCs had better broadband than home setups.)
Last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales effectively bled together since in-person shopping wasn’t really a thing. We’ll almost certainly see that repeat this year.
Credit: Bob Al-Greene / Ian Moore / Mashable
All major retailers with brick-and-mortar locations have made the call to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day. That’s another big change from pre-pandemic years, when many stayed open on the federal holiday so that eager shoppers could start perusing their best deals early. (If you feel the urgent need to do some post-pie shopping that day, you’ll have to crack open your laptop instead.) In-person shopping is making a comeback for Black Friday, but be mindful of COVID-related safety procedures and limited store capacities:
Bed Bath & Beyond: Closed on Thanksgiving; Black Friday hours TBD. Masks are required for all customers (unless you’re fully vaccinated) as well as associates, and all stores are following safety plans that include extra cleaning, free wipes and hand sanitizers, employee health screenings, and occupancy limits. Curbside and in-store pickup are available.
Best Buy: Closed on Thanksgiving; Black Friday hours TBD. Face coverings (available in stores) are recommended for all customers and required for all employees, who are abiding by enhanced safety procedures such as daily wellness checks and regular cleaning of high-touch areas. Curbside and in-store pickup are available.
JCPenney: Closed on Thanksgiving; doors open at 5 a.m. local time on Black Friday. Its mask policy varies based on local and state mandates, but all locations are following safety measures like regular nightly cleanings, socially distanced queues, contactless checkout, and capacity limits. Curbside pickup is available.
Kohl’s: Closed on Thanksgiving; stores open at 5 a.m. local time on Black Friday. The company is requiring all associates to mask up, recommending that customers in high-risk counties do the same; it’s also implemented extra cleaning and safety measures that include placing sanitizer at every register, removing beauty testers, and installing signage that encourages social distancing. Drive-up and in-store pickup are available.
Macy’s: Closed on Thanksgiving; stores are open from 6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. local time on Black Friday. Its COVID-19 safety policy includes pre-shift wellness checks for all associates, readily available hand sanitizer, increased cleaning in high-touch areas, extra ventilation, and social distancing; masks are recommended but not required for vaccinated customers except where mandated. Curbside and in-store pickup are available.
Target: Closed on Thanksgiving; most stores open at 7 a.m. local time on Black Friday. Face masks are required for team members and strongly recommended for shoppers in areas with a substantial or high risk of transmission, per CDC guidelines, and increased cleanliness/disinfecting measures have been implemented. (Haven’t gotten a vaccine yet? You can do so at select CVS locations within Target stores.) Drive-up and in-store pickup are available.
Walmart: Closed on Thanksgiving; stores open at 5 a.m. local time on Black Friday. All associates are required to wear a mask (regardless of vaccination status) in areas where there are mandates, and customers are strongly encouraged to do so, too. Stores are spraying carts after use and keeping plastic shields at registers, among other enhanced safety procedures. Curbside and in-store pickup are available.