The annual Black Friday sales have slowly taken over a whole five day period in the last couple of years. Many stores open up late on Thanksgiving day to get a jump on Black Friday traffic, and many sales extend right through Cyber Monday.
Yet just because the sale tags have overflowed Friday into the rest of the weekend doesn't mean you want to spend your whole holiday at the mall. Choosing the right day to do your early Christmas shopping could mean the difference between getting the sale you're counting on or not.
Research shows some distinct trends that have emerged in the last couple of years, as this retail ritual becomes more and more intricate. The National Retail Federation shared some of the broad strokes of that data in a report, but DealNews has drawn some actionable conclusions from it to help you get what you need this Black Friday.
First of all, don't underestimate the importance of getting out there early. A lot of the best sales are sold out by 9 a.m. on Friday, so getting there first is a huge advantage.
In addition, research shows that the best deals on pricey electronics are on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself. After your family meal, try and head to the department store or mall if you need a TV, a tablet, a camera, or even some kitchen appliances. This is also the best time to pick up shoes and cosmetics.
On Black Friday, you'll find the best sales at the clothing store. This is also the ideal time to pick up toys for cheap — wake up early and beat all the other parents there. Surprisingly, Android phones are the only smart phones that seem to have the best deals on Friday.
If you hold out until Cyber Monday, you'll see the lowest prices possible on laptops and other computer equipment. There's also a big drop in cookware at this time, and a last chance on some shoes.