UPDATED: Black Friday blog

Zoe Greszler • Nov 22, 2017 at 8:01 PM

The Norwalk Reflector has its biggest paper of the year coming Wednesday, Nov. 22. As the most popular bundle of the year, the paper will include all of the local Black Friday ads and the best deals around.

But before the biggest shopping day of the year comes, it can be helpful to know how best to go about the shopping marathon, especially if you’re in for the long haul. 

This is your one-stop-shop for that information.

We’ll keep you a quick reference guide to help your shopping go as smoothly as possible, and to help you score that killer deal.

We’ll update it frequently with shopping tips and the latest tibits, so make sure to check back here every day.

Share your favorite deals with us and recommend a topics for us to feature. What deals have you heard of? What’s the best place and way to go about getting then? Let us know and comment below! 


* * * UPDATED 8:08 p.m. Nov. 22 * * *

Black Friday deals are on, but don’t forget about the biggest online shopping event of the year, Cyber Monday. Known for it’s deep discounts and site-wide deals, Cyber Monday is the day to get deals across every product category, from the comfort of your own home. Offers.com & BlackFriday.com recently conducted an in-depth survey to find data on consumer shopping trends for the holiday shopping season.

Our survey found that Cyber Monday beats out Black Friday in popularity for the second year in a row.

General Cyber Monday trends:

Cyber Monday beats out Black Friday in popularity for the second year in a row, with nearly 72% of consumers planning to shop online for Cyber Monday and only 69% shopping the traditional Black Friday sales

Experts predict huge travel deals this Cyber Monday and Travel Deal Tuesday, with airfare deals continuing throughout the week, with some of the biggest savings after Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday is most popular among younger consumers. Among 18-to-34-year-olds, 88% plan to shop on Cyber Monday.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Retail Trends

Stores such as Target, Walmart and Kohl’s will be offering the best deals. Year after year these retailers have shown major discounts on the top items consumers are looking for such as clothing, electronics, gift cards and toys. A new player in the game is Amazon, having risen to the top spot in consumer popularity within the recent years. With Amazon providing sales on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, plus fast shipping and no lines, it’s not hard to see why the online retail giant has risen to the top.

While Black Friday is known for its deep discounts on specific products, Cyber Monday is known for its sitewide sales. Look for deals on toys, apparel and small appliances if you want to make the most of what Cyber Monday has to offer. If Black Friday is known for its electronics sales, Cyber Monday is the king of clothing. Expect site-wide sales from Kohls, JCPenney and Macy's where you can save on your entire purchase. Because online selections tend to be bigger than in-store selections, you have more options in your size and have the chance to get up to 40% or 50% off your whole cart.

Top-desired Cyber Monday items:

Clothing - 22%

Laptops/Tablets/PCs - 21%

Smart-home gadgets - 17%

TVs - 15%

Toys - 14%

Travel - 11%


* * * UPDATED 1:49 p.m. Tuesday * * *

Most Black Friday deals with come with signs, stickers and asterisk denoting they’re available “While supplies last,” or for a “Limited time only” or even “Available during door buster hours only.”

(And of course, you can find all of those deals and steals in our biggest paper of the year tomorrow (Wednesday), which will include dozens of circulars and store ads for your planning pleasures.)

But it seems all of the best deals come with some sort of time or quantity restraint that makes it just a little bit harder to catch. Probably we’ve all done it — wanting to get that blender, the special doll little Suzie’s been asking for all year, a new T.V., a couple movies and a new phone, so we hop from store to store all night gathering our items, just to find out it’s 11:05 and little Suzie’s doll was only on sale until 11. Or we snatched the perfect T.V. for $1,100 and are really excited — until we go to the next store and see it for $999.

We’ve all been there. Black Friday is crunch time shopping. How do you make sure you plan accordingly to get the best deals, before that “limited time” is up?

You form a game plan. Here’s a super simple idea to get organized before you rush through the store doors.

1) You need to know what you want. Make a list and check it twice. Make a column of “Needs” and “Wants,” which you only want if the price is just right. (This should help you control you spending a little bit too if you have an idea of what you’re looking for written down before you even crack the first ad open.)

2) Now break out those ads you’ll get in Wednesday’s Reflector and start circling your “needs” and “wants”. You might use a different color pen or Sharpie for either category.

3) Write out and compare the deals for similar products, crossing off the sales that aren’t as good. Say you find that Smart T.V. at Sears for $1,100. It could be a great deal, but if you stop there, and fail to compare prices, you could miss getting the same T.V. for $999 if you just would have gone next door between 10 p.m. and midnight.

4) Which bring us to timing. By now you should have a list of the best of the best deals, maybe two if you found a few of those “wants.” Next to each item write down the time the deal is available. Pay attention though, some deals may have special times, so don’t just assume it’s available open to close Thursday night or Friday morning. One minute over and you could lose sale.

5) Prioritize. What’s more important — Suzie’s doll or that beautiful LED 4K Ultra HD Smart T.V.? We won’t judge, just make sure you know what’s at the top of the list. Again, probably, your needs should be higher than your wants list items. If there are two sales you simply must take advantage of, two heads are always better than one. Can you send a friend with your card to another store to snag that deal? Tag team and you can accomplish a lot more!

6) Time to plan it out. Write down where you’re going, when and for what. Remember to plan around the sale times, and try to keep in mind which store might require more time (Do they have better deals, and thus more people? Do they only have a few cash registers at their disposals? Etc.)

Have fun with it! Plan it all out with your friends and come up with a game plan together so you can figure out ahead of time how to tag team the deals going on at the same time.

Bonus) On the big day, be sure to bring your physical copies for each store (which hopefully you’ve already marked up with circling your needs and wants). There’s nothing worse than trying to scroll through 50 pages of digital ads when you know your sale is on Page 49 and everyone else in the store is on the same Wi-Fi.

And if you’re someone who enjoys worksheets, you can find plenty of list guides and other worksheets to help make your shopping trip even more organized. Google “Black Friday game plan” or Black Friday worksheet” and hundreds of options will appears. Here’s a few to get you started that could compliment the above process nicely.


* * * UPDATED 8:07 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19 * * *

With Black Friday sales starting earlier and many retailers offering even deeper price cuts this year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2017’s Best Stores for Black Friday.

WalletHub surveyed nearly 10,000 deals from 35 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2017 Black Friday ad scans to identify the stores offering the biggest discounts in various product categories such as appliances, jewelry and toys.

The following are some highlights from the report:

Best Black Friday retailers (avg. percent discount)

1.  Kohl's (66.32%) 

2.  JCPenney (66.30%) 

3.  Belk (62.75%) 

4.  Stage (60.82%) 

5.  Shopko (55.93%)

6.  Bealls Florida (52.78%)

7.  Sears (50.09%)

8.  Macy's (45.58%)

9.  Fred Meyer (43.88%)

10.  AAFES (37.25%)

Key Stats

Kohl's has the highest overall discount rate at 66.32 percent, whereas Bass Pro Shops has the lowest at 20.83 percent.

The overall average discount for Black Friday is 37 percent. Consumers should aim for this discount amount or higher to avoid Black-Friday traps.

The “Apparel & Accessories” category has the biggest share of discounted items, 28.03 percent of all offers, whereas the “Consumer Packaged Goods” category has the smallest at 1.62 percent.

To view the full report and each retailer’s rank in all product categories, please visit:


* * * UPDATED 8:41 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18 * * *

The biggest shopping holidays of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are just around the corner.

The biggest shopping day of the year means the best deals are just around the corner. But what categories give the best bank for their buck? 

BlackFriday.com, surveyed over 1,000 U.S. consumers in order to get a better idea of the top trends of the season, and broke the data down state-by-state. Check out Ohio's top shopping trends:

Quality of the product (51%), lowest price (36%) and the retailer’s reputation (10%) are three of the top motivators of shopper purchases in Ohio.

The majority of shoppers in Ohio (60%) will not be checking Amazon before looking or buying elsewhere, which deviates in trend from our national data, as 55% of consumers stated they will be checking Amazon.

Ohio also follows national trends when it comes to the most coveted retail perks. 35% of Ohio consumers (and 45% nation-wide) say free shipping is the perk they most hope to take advantage of while shopping this holiday season.

Black Friday deal or Cyber Monday?

In 2017, 71% of consumers say they’ll shop on Cyber Monday, compared to 69% who say they’ll shop on Black Friday, according to the Offers.com Ipsos poll. That’s a small difference, but it’s a continuation of a trend; Cyber Monday slightly edged out Black Friday in Offers.com’s 2016 survey as well (69% of shoppers vs. 66%).

And that raises some questions — which day has the best deals? Should you wait, or should you brave the crowds to snag the door busters on Friday?

It could depend on the product you’re looking to buy. If it’s toys you’re looking for, getting them first and fast and in person may be your best bet. But Cyber Monday just edged past Black Friday deals on gift cards.

Here’s what most consumers in Ohio are shopping for each day, and the top picks for each day:

Black Friday: Tablets/laptops/PCs/TV (24%);  clothing (18%);  smart-home gadgets - 15%;  toys - 15%;  gift cards -11%;  travel - 8%

Cyber Monday: Tablets/laptops/PCs/TV (24%);  clothing (10%); smart-home gadgets - 17%;  gift cards - 15%;  toys - 14%;  travel - 11%

* * *

Original post — 9 p.m. Nov. 17, 2017

Is Black Friday worth the rush and all the hustle and bustle? Some think not.

With 53 percent of American consumers saying that Black Friday no longer offers the best deals of the year, the personal-finance website WalletHub took an in-depth look at 2017's Best Things to Buy on Black Friday.

Somewhat surprisingly, WalletHub determined that 10 percent of items offer no savings compared with their pre-Black Friday prices.

To find out whether shoppers are really getting the best deals, the site’s analysts compared the “Pre-Black Friday price” against the actual Black Friday price of a broad selection of items.

Here’s what they identified as the offers that are truly worth the hassle of partaking in the year’s biggest shopping craze: 

Top 10 Deals (Additional discount for waiting until Black Friday)

1.  Dell Inspiron 15 5000 gaming laptop ($369) 

2.  Sony - 70" class smart - 4K ultra HD TV ($800) 

3.  Whirlpool 6.4-cu.-ft. electric range ($316) 

4.  Canon EOS REBEL T6 DSLR camera ($300) 

5.  Vitamix A3500 Blender #062944 ($250) 

6.  HP Z240 tower workstation ($1,234)

7.  Disney Minnie Mouse hot rod coupe 12 Volt ($291)

8.  Lifetime combo-four 8' tables and 32 chairs ($459)

9.  Kenmore 26.1-cu.ft. side-by-side refrigerator ($551)

10.  HP PageWide Pro 477dw printer ($200)

Top 5 Product Categories

1.  Books, movies and music (53%) 

2.  Video games (only the software) (38%) 

3.  Toys (24%) 

T-4.  Consumer packaged goods (19%) 

T-4.  Computers and phones (19%) 

Worst 5 Product Categories

1.  Consumer electronics (16%)

2.  All other product categories (12%)

3.  Furniture (8%)

T-4.  Apparel and accessories (7%)

T-4.  Jewelry (7%)

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