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Everything you need to know about Black Friday, plus the best Black Friday shopping tips

Everything you need to know about Black Friday, plus the best Black Friday shopping tips

Now that fall is totally underway, you’re probably seeing lots of holiday ads and hearing more and more people talk about Black Friday sales and deals. Whether you’re new to the country or you’re just not that plugged into shopping culture, all this talk of Black Friday can feel really confusing. What exactly is Black Friday, and why is there so much hype around it?

While it’s easy to let your imagination go wild with all the reasons why Black Friday exists and why it’s called Black Friday, there’s actually some logic to it. Keep reading for everything you need to know about Black Friday, plus the best Black Friday shopping tips.

When is Black Friday 2023?

In the United States, the Friday after Thanksgiving is typically referred to as Black Friday. Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November, so it follows that Black Friday is always the fourth Friday in November. This year, Black Friday is on Nov. 24, 2023.

What is Black Friday?

Here in America, many people typically associate Black Friday with the start of the holiday shopping season. But in recent years, folks have begun shopping for holiday gifts as early as late September. Retailers like Walmart, Target and Amazon have taken note, and now, all host major sale events in October that allow people to start holiday shopping months before Christmas.

Wondering how Black Friday got its name? The most common explanation has to do with how much money retailers generate on this day. It has been said that Black Friday is the shopping day that pushes retailers' profits into "the black," meaning a company's earnings will exceed its costs and/or expenses for that year.

If you're wondering why Black Friday happens in November and not, say, in April, that's likely tied to the holiday shopping season. With Christmas just a few weeks after Thanksgiving, many people head out to stores in search of presents during November and December. According to reports, the average shopper spends nearly $1,000 on holiday gifts each year. Retailers capitalize on this frenzied shopping season by hosting compelling sales that entice shoppers to spend. The best sales, discounts and markdowns are typically reserved for Black Friday, so shoppers looking for the absolute best deals tend to go all out on this day. Savvy shoppers may even be able to complete all their holiday shopping on this one major sale day.

What should you buy on Black Friday?

Historically, many retailers do major markdowns on big-ticket items that rarely go on sale on Black Friday. This includes televisions, computers, Apple products, vacuums and more.

Now, however, just about every retailer hosts a Black Friday sale, so no matter what you’re looking for, you can probably find it marked down on Black Friday. While you should absolutely check out tech deals on Black Friday, it’s also worth shopping deals on clothing, luggage, beauty products, home decor and even household items.

What are the best Black Friday shopping tips?

When it comes to creating a Black Friday shopping plan, it's best to go in prepared with at least a general list of items you want to buy. Whether you have a gift list with items you want to buy for specific people in your life or a more general rundown of items you've been waiting to purchase on sale, a list will definitely help you avoid spending frivolously.

Another important Black Friday shopping tip? Start monitoring the prices of items you're eyeing before Black Friday. Though Black Friday deals are often marketed and advertised as the "lowest prices all year," that's not always the case. Start checking the prices of items on your wish list as early as the beginning of November so that when Black Friday arrives, you'll have a true sense of whether or not you're actually getting a good deal.

Lastly, before you buy anything on Black Friday, make sure you understand the return policy. Because prices will be drastically discounted, some retailers may make changes to their standard return policy. Whether you're shopping for yourself or someone else, it's important to know whether you can get a refund or store credit should your Black Friday purchase not work out.

Is it best to shop Black Friday deals online or in-store?

Years ago, Black Friday sales primarily took place in-store only. You probably remember the days of people lining up on Thanksgiving night just to score a super cheap TV, right? That has changed in recent years. Out-of-control crowds and a greater focus on employee work-life balance mean that many stores offer the same discounts online as they do in stores. If you need an item right away, shopping Black Friday deals in-store is probably your best bet. If, however, you can wait a few days for your order to be shipped, then you can shop online knowing you're getting great deals there as well.

It's important to keep in mind that lots of Black Friday deals are "flash deals," meaning they're only available for a limited time. Of course, deals are also subject to availability and inventory. Whether you're shopping online or in-store, it's definitely a good idea to shop early to ensure you get the items you want before they sell out.

What are this year's best Black Friday deals?

While most Black Friday deals won't be announced until later this month, some are already available. Here's a look at some that should be on your radar:

Target is rolling out fresh deals daily. The deals include discounts on headphones, vacuums, kitchen items, seasonal decor and more.

Walmart is also unveiling limited-time deals daily. Look out for flash discounts on TVs, robot vacuums, Bluetooth speakers, celeb-loved products and more.

– There are lots of early Black Friday tech deals up for grabs now, and prices are up to 70% off.

– Though Amazon hasn’t officially announced its Black Friday sale just yet, you can probably expect major markdowns on Amazon devices like the Echo Dot, Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers and Fire TVs.

– Furniture, home decor and more will be majorly discounted during Wayfair’s Black Friday sale.

Nordstrom is currently holding its epic, pre-Black Friday fall sale and prices on clothing, shoes and accessories are up to 50% off.

J.Crew usually offers 50% off sitewide on Black Friday, but if you can’t wait until then, they’re offering 50% off select sale styles with the code SHOPNOW.

Macy’s is hosting a Friends & Family sale right now, which includes major markdowns on clothing, jewelry, home and kitchen items and more.

How can I find more Black Friday deals?

If you want to find out more about your favorite retailer's Black Friday sales, you should sign up for their newsletter and text alerts if available. Email subscribers are usually the first to hear about a store's best deals, so this is an important way to stay in the loop.

If you want to spare your inbox, stay tuned to In The Know by Yahoo’s shopping coverage over the next few weeks. We’ll be covering the best Black Friday sales and deals that you don’t want to miss across all categories — including style, beauty, home, tech and more.

Your Black Friday Shopping Guide: See all of Yahoo’s Black Friday coverage, here. Follow Engadget for Black Friday tech deals. Learn about Black Friday trends on In The Know. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Black Friday deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Black Friday sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

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