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Black Friday - Is it worth the wait

Date posted:  11/13/15 09:00:00 AM Black Friday - Is it worth the wait

This year, Black Friday falls on Nov .27., but this popular shopping day may not be as popular in 2015 as it has been in previous years. According to a survey conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of RetailMeNot, many shoppers are starting their holiday gift search a little earlier this year. And, many do not feel confident that Black Friday deals will be worth the wait. However, their assumptions may be incorrect. 

"Consumers in record numbers are questioning the value of offers on Black Friday," said Trae Bodge, senior lifestyle editor at RetailMeNot, Inc. "And while this perception appears to be driven by media speculation, it serves as a catalyst for many shoppers to begin preparing and shopping for the holiday season as soon as Labor Day. While early-bird behavior is beneficial for the strategic buyer, RetailMeNot's offer data still suggests that deals during the five days of savings from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday are stronger on a percent-off basis than in prior weeks."

Many consumers are hesitant to believe
The survey showed only 10 percent of participants believe the savings found on Black Friday will be worth waiting for. 

"There is a growing perception amongst consumers - right or wrong - that discounts and deals on Black Friday aren't always worth the wait," said Michael Jones, senior vice president, retail and brand solutions, RetailMeNot, Inc. "Increasingly, shoppers are looking for promotional opportunities earlier in the holiday buying cycle."

In addition, 54 percent of shoppers polled in September 2015 believe holiday deals will begin in October and 85 percent expect to see promotions prior to Black Friday. 

Mobile browsing is becoming more frequent 
This holiday season, more individuals will be browsing through sales and promotions on their mobile devices. Mobile application visits and purchases will likely continue to climb for the rest of 2015. The gap between desktop and mobile device usage for browsing and purchasing closed between 2013 and 2014. 

While mobility is becoming more popular, consumers will continue to shop in stores. In fact, 90 percent of all purchases are still made in this fashion. 

Consumers should develop an action plan for holiday shopping 
Those who want to find the best deals for their holiday shopping will need to start early. 

"Having a strategy is key," said Bodge. "Savvy shoppers are preparing their gift lists, considering budgets and downloading shopping apps that make deal-hunting easier. Additionally, savvy consumers know that discounts are to be had in certain early holiday retail categories like toys, home decor and apparel."

The best time to shop depends on what individuals are interested in purchasing. For example, electronic devices will have the best deals between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. The average discount will likely range between 38 and 40 percent off. 

Consumers will find it helpful to create their holiday lists earlier rather than later and to keep an eye on deals for those specific items throughout the season rather than solely depending on the day after Thanksgiving.  

Black Friday shopping tips 
For those who decide to give Black Friday a shot, the best way to ensure they find the best deal is by researching ahead of time. Individuals should check reviews of products they are interested in buying and subscribe to email lists for their favorite retailers. 

Shoppers should also plan their day around the event. Getting to the store early is critical - sometimes even a few days early as some stores begin their Black Friday sales as early as Wednesday.

Safe transactions 
When shopping, individuals should use cash or credit cards to ensure the safety of their personal information. Black Friday is a popular day for criminals to attempt to steal payment information from unsuspecting consumers.