The good news: You won’t have to camp in front of Best Buy for that big screen TV doorbuster deal.
The bad: there will indeed be so many that will be gathered at the same time, but you will all be in line for the Black Friday super sales. First come, first served. Who has the fastest trigger finger?
Black Friday sales start earlier this year, starting on Sunday, if you don’t count the adjacent Black Friday sales that have already taken place. The doorbusters of years gone by are now online promotions, starting at offbeat times.
And if you thought the competition for that favorite item was bad in years past, just wait until you find yourself in front of that computer or mobile device to try to log in.
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“Last year you probably had a hundred people online with you,” says Gene Munster, analyst and investor at Loup Ventures. “This year it will be in the hundreds of thousands. It will be a refreshment game.”
Prepare to be comfortable, maybe with a laptop in one hand and a mobile device in the other, update the screen as often as possible and put these items in the cart to belong to you.
Munster estimates that the Big Three physical retailers, Best Buy, Target and Walmart will have more inventory on hand than in previous years as the focus is on online sales, but he still expects quick sales. “At the end of the day, the stores win, because they got you there, and you’ll probably end up buying something else, but that might not be what you want.”
Here’s what to look for:
Sunday: Target Black Friday
The Minneapolis-based retailer launches its fourth “Black Friday Now” sale Sunday morning. Here are some of the best deals we’ve seen:
- The new edition of the Amazon Echo speakers, which normally retail for $ 99, are priced at $ 69.99, a saving of $ 30.
- A 65-inch TCL 4K TV costs $ 229, available November 22, normally $ 399. But beware: this TCL edition is not the popular Roku-branded TCL TV with built-in Roku streaming, but uses Google’s Android TV as its smart TV platform.
Targeted retail stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Target “Black Friday Now” offers:A series of weekly sales will take place throughout November
What’s new at Walmart:Walmart just released its second round of Black Friday deals
Sunday: Best Buy Black Friday
Best Buy launches its online sale on Sunday, has more online promotions Thursday, adds another mix of online and in-store promotions on Friday, and more online-only offers for Saturday.
Big TVs are typically the reason consumers flock to Best Buy on Thanksgiving night and Friday morning, and the retailer doesn’t seem to be disappointing, with TV deals online.
A large 75-inch LG set costs $ 649, down from $ 200, while a 55-inch TCL / Roku set costs $ 199, also $ 200 off. Best Buy is also looking to move last year’s Apple MacBook Pro laptop models to $ 200 off and has a special offer for the compact iPhone SE at $ 399, but please take the fine print.
The cheapest iPhone normally sells for $ 399 and Best Buy will sell for half if you bring in an older iPhone for trade-in and agree to two years of wireless service.
Wednesday: Walmart Black Friday
Walmart launches its sale Wednesday, online only, at 7 p.m. ET and will continue on Friday at 12 p.m. ET online and in-store at 5 a.m. ET.
The latest Xbox and PlayStation game consoles go on sale at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
- A 70-inch Vizio V705X TV, normally in the $ 700 range, sells for $ 478.70.
- The AirPod Pros, which Walmart is now selling for $ 199, will be priced at $ 169.
- The Apple Watch Series 3 edition, which Apple currently sells for $ 199, will be $ 119 online for sale.
With all the emphasis on online sales, what about in-store? Walmart is not telegraphing any major deals so far. The Roku SE streaming player, normally $ 25, is $ 8, at $ 17, and the Google Nest Mini smart speaker, which retails for $ 39, is $ 19 in stores.
All week: Amazon Black Friday
The e-merchant is offering staggering discounts on products until Friday, so you’ll have to keep checking the website. The best deals are, as always, on Amazon products, including the new edition of the Echo Dot smart speaker for $ 28, up from the $ 50 Eero mesh router pack we wrote about on Thursday, 223. $ instead of $ 279 and a Fire 4K TV Streaming Stick for $ 24.99 instead of $ 49.99.
Amazon traditionally registers its best prices after Black Friday and “Cyber Monday,” but encourages shoppers to bookmark its Black Friday page to find the latest deals.
Happy shopping and hope you get what you hoped for.
In other tech news this week
Apple introduced the new HomePod Mini speakers and faster Macintosh computers. The HomePod is looking to take on the Amazon and Google smart speakers with consumer prices, at $ 99 and appears to be one of the top sellers of the party. We liked the sound, although the speakers weren’t as good as the new Google Nest Audio, but noted that it was a more useful speaker. It can compose and read text messages, help you find your phone, and act as a dynamic TV speaker. We have not yet had the opportunity to check out the new Macs, which are considered to be more capable. Prices start at $ 699 for the revamped Mac Mini, $ 999 for the Mac Air, and $ 1,299 for the MacBook Pro.
Google introduced a revamped payment app that’s part of Venmo, Quicken, and Apple Pay. The new Google Pay app, for iOS and Android, revamps the old edition, which was strictly designed as a contactless payment app for transactions.
Hulu with Live TV has increased its prices and will soon be the most expensive of the cable TV streaming alternatives, a bundle that also includes YouTube TV, Sling TV, AT&T Now, and Philo. Hulu’s most expensive plan, which includes the Hulu streaming service, as well as broadcast and cable TV channels, will cost $ 71 per month, starting December 18, down from $ 64.99. YouTube TV, which is owned by Google, charges a flat fee of $ 65 per month. AT&T starts at $ 55, T-Mobile’s TVision is $ 40 while Sling’s service starts at $ 30, and Philo is $ 20.
Thanksgiving and zoom. Many of us will be organizing our dinners by videoconference. It is obvious. But which device will you use? Laptop, smartphone, tablet? I have a guide for all of this here.
This Week’s Talking Tech Podcasts
Amazon’s Echo executives are finally ready for their close-up. The $ 250 talking glasses were originally marketed as an “invite-only” product in September 2019. The frames, which respond to Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa, go on sale December 10.
Google’s opt-in sneakiness. As part of the Google Pay overhaul, Google introduced new features to track your finances and bothered to say it was “opt-in.” Really? How exactly does this process work?
First glance: Black Friday offers. How the offers compare this year.
How to stage a Thanksgiving Zoom. The technology you’ll need.
Review: HomePod Minis rock. My take on the new Minis.
Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter