Let’s be real: Black Friday is basically the entire month of November.
With fewer than the usual weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas this season, retailers have been heavy on sales and promotions all month. But discounts will peak on Thanksgiving, when the country’s biggest retailers open their doors shortly after dinner finishes up. We lost the actual “Friday” in Black Friday a while ago.
The Florida Retail Association estimates shoppers will spend an average of $1,047.83 on gifts from the start of November through the end of December, which is up about 4 percent from last year.
Nationwide, spending is estimated to reach up to $730.7 billion. These couple of months represent up to 20 percent of retailers’ annual sales. So how will you get — and how much will you save on — this year’s most popular gifts? That depends on what kind of shopper you are.
For the lazy Black Friday shopper
It’s 2019, you can get a lot of savings without ever leaving the couch like some kind of online shopping hero. Why would you head to the store to push a cart while you’re still digesting turkey? What is this, 2007?
Amazon began rolling out deals on its own products and tech gifts on Friday . More will be added every day until Cyber Monday. Amazon, of course, is online only — no chance of human contact! But the best deals and no-shipping fees are reserved for Prime Members, who either pay monthly or annual fees. Target and Best Buy waive delivery fees during the holidays. Walmart requires a minimum order of $35 for that perk.
Target’s Red Card holders (the store’s credit or debit card) get first dibs on many of its Black Friday deals on Wednesday — the day before Thanksgiving — and 5 percent off their bill. Kohl’s will launch some Black Friday deals Monday and Walmart has been running live, alternative sales to Black Friday all month.
Amazon, the undisputed king of online retail, unrolls deals constantly. To be sure you’re getting the best price, you may want to search the desired item on Amazon before you hit “buy” somewhere else. Walmart is known for its deep, store-only discounts. But log on to Walmart.com the night before Thanksgiving at 10 p.m. and the item you have been eyeing may be at the fully discounted price and available for delivery.
Lest we not forget, Cyber Monday is still a thing — even if the whole month has online shopping sales. Cyber Monday marks the end of the long sales weekend and focuses on online shopping deals.
For the parents lost without Toys 'R' Us
Legos, ever popular, are difficult to find discounted but there are some Black Friday deals. Target has select sets at $19.99, which is a slight markdown. Kohl’s is dropping certain sets by 30 percent, including some of the Star Wars and Minecraft collections. Amazon says the Lego Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon will go on sale for $480 — 40 percent off its hefty $800 price tag.
Walmart has been running sales on L.O.L Surprise! toys already this month, with prices on bigger sets discounted up to 50 percent online. Target has the L.O.L Surprise! Big Surprise box marked as $39.99 and the Hatchimals and Hatchibabies marked at $29.99 for Black Friday — that’s savings of about $30 per toy. Kohl’s will have the Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Ultra Unboxing set half off at $24.99.
For nostalgic parents and grandparents: Walmart will have classic board games like Clue and Sorry! for just $5 and games such as Operation and Simon will be $10.
For the techie who loves gadgets and gaming
Smartphones are always a Black Friday draw, but be aware that sale prices are usually contingent on a new service plan. Walmart is promoting a $300 store gift card with the purchase of the iPhone 11 and a $450 store gift card with Galaxy Notebook 10. Best Buy has a slew of deals on the Galaxy line, but some are only for “My Best Buy” members. Target is offering a $200 store gift card with its Black Friday iPhone deals.
Your kids are likely clamoring for gift cards for iTunes or the Xbox Store so they can use them for currency in Minecraft and Fortnite. Gift card sales are rare, but Target has a buy-one iTunes card, get-the-second-30-percent-off deal.
Best Buy, Target and Walmart will sell the PlayStation 4 Slim for $199, bundled with three games. The new 4K-ready Xbox One X will be marked down to $349 with a game at Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart starting Thanksgiving Day. The Microsoft Store starts the same deal Sunday . Kohl’s is throwing in $105 in Kohl’s Cash, making it the standout.
Best Buy has several markdowns on MacBooks and iMacs. Apple marked down refurbished computers (which are already cheaper) on its website. Walmart has the best deal on Apple AirPods: Come Thursday, they will be $129. Walmart is selling them in its pre-Black Friday sale at $144, rather than the regular $159.99.
For the pragmatic gift-giver
Vacuums and kitchen appliances may not sound like the sexiest gifts, but for strapped parents or a poor millennial, they could mean everything. Dyson’s V7 Motorhead cordless stick vacuum will be $179.99 at both Walmart and Target come Black Friday. Walmart has it marked down to $224 now if you’re impatient.
Walmart has the iRobot Roomba 670 for $197. Meanwhile, Target has the iRobot Roomba 690 for $249.99. The biggest price cut for robotic vacuums is the Ecovacs N79W, which is marked down by $130 and will be $149.99 during Target’s Black Friday sale. Another Target steal? A 5-quart Kitchen Aid mixer, which is almost half off at $229.99.
If someone in your life still doesn’t have an Instant Pot pressure cooker, Walmart looks to have the best deal with the 6-quart model at $49.
For the anti-Black Friday shopper
Don’t want to play into corporate consumerism? Tampa Bay has so many options.
In its 10th year, the Shopapalooza Festival will take over Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg next weekend, Saturday and Sunday. It features more than 200 vendors, food and music. Also on Saturday — or Small Business Saturday — Indie Flea and Black Crow are teaming up in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast to hold a pop-up market with 30 vendors. Seminole Heights will hold its Holiday Shop Hop on the same day.
Indie Flea also will host its usual market at Green Bench in St. Petersburg on Dec. 7. It will host its Tampa Indie Flea at Armature Works on Dec. 15. New this year, the independent business alliance Keep St. Pete Local will hold a Makers Market on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 13435 Gulf Blvd. in Madeira Beach.
The Indie Noir Market, which features black business owners and artists, runs next on Dec. 14 at the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association at 2005 N Lamar Ave. Coppertail’s next Friday Night Market is on Dec. 13 outside the Tampa brewery.
The skinny on store hours and online sales
Walmart will start its Black Friday sales in stores on Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. They will stay open overnight. Online Black Friday sales begin Wednesday . See the full ad here.
Best Buy will open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and close at 1 a.m. The store will hand out tickets at 4 p.m. for high-demand, limited-quantity items. The store will re-open Friday at 8 a.m. Most Thanksgiving deals will be available online Thursday. See the full ad here.
Target opens at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Doors close at 1 a.m. and re-open Friday at 7 a.m. Online sales begin Wednesday for Red Card holders. See the full ad here.
Kohl’s will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open. Some online sales begin Monday . Big “door busters” deals are added online the moment it’s technically Thursday, 12:01 a.m. View the full ad here.
Amazon has had nonstop deals all month. They began picking up Friday and will continue to do so until Cyber Monday. A highlight of some of the online retailer’s biggest deals are here.