Amazon recently revealed that the company would launch Black Friday sales on Nov. 19th and continue to serve up special deals the entire week. The Amazon Deals Week will feature discounts on items from all across Amazon’s inventory including slashed prices on electronics, toys, jewelry, toys, clothing, shoes, DVDs and more.
The online giant’s aggressive Black Friday strategy surprises no one in the industry. Last year, Amazon began its “Countdown to Black Friday” sale on Nov. 1st and started running its even better Black Friday Lightning Deals on Nov. 15th.
We’ll see more of the same this year – Amazon’s current Black Friday page encourages shoppers to check in regularly to Gold Box to view the Amazon Deal of the Day and current Lightning Deals. Once Nov. 19th hits, we can be sure that loads of Black Friday items will be available as Lightning Deals. If you’re unfamiliar with Amazon, Lightning Deals are promotions, offered in a limited quantity for a limited time, that Amazon only hints at before the deal goes live. In practice, Lightning Deals are basically Amazon’s version of Black Friday doorbusters.
To get some better guesses at what Amazon might be offering this year, however, let’s take a look at our available evidence – Amazon’s Black Friday deals from 2011. Here’s a sampling of what Amazon discounted last year:
|Amazon 2011 Black Friday Item||Black Friday Price|
|Samsung Galaxy S II||$0.01|
|Sennheiser HD 202 II Headphones||$19.95|
|LA Noire for Xbox 360 or PS3||$20.00|
|Logitech G500 Programmable Gaming Mouse||$34.99|
|Assassin’s Creed Revelations||$35.00|
|Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition) Blu-Ray||$50.00|
|Tascam DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder||$77.75|
|Samsung Blu-ray Disc Player||$119.00|
|Garmin nuvi 1450LMT GPS||$129.99|
|Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote with Color Touchscreen||$139.99|
|Garmin nuvi 1490LMT GPS||$149.99|
|Panasonic DMC-ZS9 14.1 MP Camera||$179.00|
|Fujifilm FinePix F505 16 MP Camera||$199.00|
|Canon Powershot SX230HS 12MP Camera||$199.00|
|160GB PS3 console with LittleBigPlanet 2 and Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One||$200.00|
|Polk Audio Home Theater System||$250.00|
|Adobe CS 5.5 Design||$289.00|
|Canon T3 12.2MP CMOS DSLR||$449.95|
|Canon T2i 18MP CMOS DSLR||$605.00|
|Canon T3i 18 MP CMOS DSLR||$720.99|
|Samsung 46 inch 1080p HDTV||$800.00|
|11-inch 1.6GHz 64 GB Macbook Air||$939.94|
|21.5-inch 2.5GHz iMac||$1,049.99|
|13-inch 2.4GHz MacBook Pro||$1,049.99|
The most important point about this list is that it’s not at all comprehensive. Between lightning deals and price adjustments, Amazon offered a huge amount of discounts on varying items at varying times. The above list is a pretty solid recap of some of the better deals Amazon put out, but it’s not everything. Not even Amazon’s ad scan from last year captured all the deals they offered.
One deal in particular stands out from this bunch. Amazon dropped the price of all non-iPhone and non-Galaxy Nexus smartphones to $0.01. That’s right – all other AT&T, Sprint and Verizon phones were on sale for just a penny. Amazon gave out free $100 Amazon gift certificates to phone purchasers who activated the phone’s hotspot feature during checkout as well.
Of course, you needed to sign up for a 2-year plan when buying these phones, but this Black Friday selection of smartphones was much better than any other crop of free phones available when signing up for a plan. Amazon caused some pretty big buzz in the mobile world with this sale.
What These 2011 Deals Tell Us About This Year
Expect deals across the board.
We’ve already seen Amazon announce that the company would pursue a similar Black Friday Deals week structure as last year, so it’s a decent bet that Amazon is setting this up to give the same types of savings. Expect discounts on all manners of holiday gifts including watches, shoes, books, home items, video games and more.
Expect good deals on electronics and big-ticket items.
While Black Friday has a solid reputation for having great sales – although not necessarily having the best prices of the year, as the Wall Street Journal importantly points out – the focus of Black Friday is always on electronics and big-ticket items. Of the ads leaked so far this season, not many of the early retailers’ items fit this bill. Fred’s Super Dollar, Harbor Freight and Build-a-Bear Workshop aren’t offering expensive tech items.
Amazon, on the other hand, discounted everything last year including big TVs, Apple products, headphones, DVD players and video game consoles. The good deals should continue again this year.
Paying attention during the week is a must.
With lightning deals last year and more daily deals and limited specials expected this year, you’ll have to be quick with the mouse to stay on top of all of Amazon’s discounting. Check Amazon’s website regularly for the items you’re in the market for. Have a plan for what you might like to buy to avoid getting sucked into a purchase by a good deal.
Amazon knows that their lightning deals are popular in the online shopping world, so they’ve designed some tools to help keep you connected.
- Download the Amazon mobile app to check the deals on the go.
- Install the Amazon browser bar to shop at Amazon from anywhere on the Internet. Get a “ten-minute head start on deals,” too, according to Amazon’s browser bar page. If you’re a fanatic Amazon shopper, get this if you haven’t already.
- Like Amazon’s Facebook page to get updates on new releases, deals and other Amazon promotions.
- Follow @amazondeals on Twitter to receive tweets about the merchant’s Deals of the Day and Gold Box Lightning Deals.
Why Amazon Might Have Even Better Deals This Year
Black Friday competition might be even more intense this year. Best Buy and Target have both implemented online price matching guarantees to try and revive lagging in-store sales. Threatened by “showrooming,” or the act of shoppers scoping out an item in-store then buying from a different retailer for cheaper online, Target and Best Buy have decided to match online prices at certain online stores, Amazon included.
This aggressive move by both retailers isn’t exactly free of its own flaws. Both retailers require proof of a lower online price on the same item to match the bill. Best Buy employees can also refuse to match an online price if they deem it too low. Also, retail analysts fear that online price match might actually highlight the fact that online prices, especially at Amazon, tend to be lower than in-store at Target or Best Buy.
One way for Amazon to ensure that its competitors’ plans fall flat? Drop Amazon Black Friday week prices even lower, leaving Best Buy and Target scrambling to try and figure out which prices to match and which to give up on. Amazon could give both Best Buy and Target a serious headache.
With an exclusively online retail environment, Amazon can either increase or decrease their prices quite quickly. This isn’t the case at brick-and-mortar stores, where physical markdowns on the floor must take place to avoid serious confusion. What’s absolutely aggravating for shoppers on an already crazy Black Friday? Going to the register with a hot deal, only to find that the price has inexplicably gone up.