Black Friday has become synonymous with great deals – and they’re often impressive, as businesses compete for shoppers' attention and dollars.
But there’s a dirty little shopping secret: Buying on Black Friday doesn't mean you're getting the biggest savings. Depending on the product, you might do better buying before or after.
Every year, the software giant Adobe uses its Adobe Marketing Cloud to crunch the numbers and make predictions about the upcoming shopping season. Adobe says it's been accurate within about 2 percent every year so far. This year, it examined 55 million products from 4,500 retailers stretching back to 2008, and it released an incredibly detailed report. So, what does it tell us?
According to Adobe, the Monday before Thanksgiving is generally the cheapest day for buying electronics, with an average discount of 18 percent across 17 percent of items. You can find bigger single-item discounts on products on or after Thanksgiving Day, but you'll also see a lot more "out-of-stock" notices if you wait.
Be aware that around 76 percent of shoppers buy the same 1 percent of product makes and models, which are mostly electronics. So if you don't buy early, you might not get that item you had your eye on.
This year, Adobe predicts Apple gadgets will lead the sales in wearables (Apple Watch), online video streaming (Apple TV) and tablets (iPad). Want to know how the Apple products stack up to their competitors? Check out my handy product comparison charts.
For video game consoles, the PlayStation 4 is going to be hot, and Minecraft and Halo 5 are going to compete for top video game. Find out why Minecraft is such a great game for kids.
If you're looking at 4K TVs, Adobe predicts most consumers will go for Sony over LG and Samsung. So pay attention to the non-Sony brands for bigger discounts as retailers try to shift supply. Not sure why you'd want a 4K TV? Here's everything you need to know about 4K, and the other TV technology you'll encounter this shopping season.
Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to check off some items on your Christmas wish list, but you might want to consider starting the weekend before. While Cyber Monday traditionally has the cheapest toy prices, you'll get three times as many out-of-stock notices. If you wait until the week before Christmas, that will double.
According to Adobe, the hottest toys this year are going to be the remote controlled BB-8 droid from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"; Barbie; American Girl dolls; Lego; Hot Wheels; the remote controlled R2-D2 toy; Razor scooters; and toys based on Disney's "Frozen." If your kids have their hearts set on any of these, it would be wise to buy early.
Thinking of getting your significant other something sparkly for Christmas? Thanksgiving Day is the best day to buy jewelry. You should see discounts of up to 25 percent across 20 percent of available items. You also shouldn't encounter many out-of-stock notices during the entire Thanksgiving weekend. You won't find better deals, and there will be a lot more items out of stock, if you wait until December. So don't wait.
Black Friday and the days that surround it don't matter much when it comes to clothing and other apparel items. Thanksgiving Day will have the best savings in November, with discounts of up to 27 percent. But prices traditionally drop even more in December and bottom out on Dec. 23. Just keep in mind that the longer you wait, the more likely your item will be out-of-stock.
Bonus: Some other interesting shopping facts for Black Friday
According to Adobe, deals generally start the Monday before Thanksgiving, so if you want to get a jump on shopping, go right ahead. Contrary to what you might think, Thanksgiving Day has the best deals, and Black Friday comes next. Prices then continue to increase through Cyber Monday.
Still, Adobe expects Americans to spend $3 billion on Cyber Monday, with Black Friday coming in just behind at $2.7 billion. Thanksgiving Day shopping is also growing quickly, with an expected $1.6 billion in sales, 18 percent more than last year. So despite the growing number of retailers announcing that they’ll be closed on Thanksgiving, people will still be buying where they can, and many of them will do it online.
In fact, at least 51 percent of Thanksgiving weekend shopping will be done on mobile gadgets, which is the first time mobile shopping has crossed the 50 percent mark. But Adobe finds that consumers think online shopping via mobile phone is also the most stressful way to shop, because of the smaller screen and problems adding payment information. You might consider taking a tablet to your family gathering if you're planning to shop.
Also, if you shop online, know that your best chance of finding deals is still through in-store displays. If you're looking for online deals, social media is the best place to find them, followed by promotional emails from the companies you like to shop at. Even if you're not signed up for a store's emails, you can look up promo codes for over 150,000 stores at various sites online.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.