Advertiser Disclosure

Black Friday 2015: When to Shop Online vs. in Store

Nov. 23, 2015
Black Friday, Shopping
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

The hype surrounding Black Friday is part of what makes it fun. Many people not only love the sales but also find a thrill in mapping out their Black Friday plans, clipping coupons and standing in line in the early morning. But for those who prefer the quiet of their home and the convenience of shopping in their pajamas, online retailers are making it more and more appealing to buy with the click of a button.

Will you get better Black Friday deals online or in stores? The answer depends on what you’re looking for.

Online sales just keep growing

Not so long ago, the surest way to score Black Friday savings was the traditional door-buster method: Stand in line and pick up the hottest deal while quantities last. But consumer behavior has changed, and fast: According to the National Retail Federation, almost half of this year’s holiday shopping will be done digitally. Reports suggest that 2015 will be the biggest for online retail to date.

Many stores offer free shipping for all online orders, so it can be well worth your while to check out Internet sales. Here are some of this year’s best online sales that last from Black Friday through the weekend:

Black Friday deals you won’t find online

Although many retailers will offer nearly identical Black Friday sales online as they do in their stores, some big-ticket savings will still require an in-person visit. Here are a couple of cases in which you’ll have to share space with your fellow shoppers if you want to snag some savings:

  • Costco: TV deals on Samsung and Vizio smart LED TVs apply in warehouse only.
  • Target: When shoppers spend $75 in stores on Black Friday, they will receive 20% off a shopping trip Dec. 4-13.

Black Friday deals you’ll find only online

Online shoppers will be happy to know there are other deals that apply only online, meaning more excuses to stay home, eat Thanksgiving leftovers and check off that holiday list from the comfort of your living room. Many retailers are explicit in their Black Friday ads about the extra deals to be found online; others just promise that they exist. Here are some deals you’ll be able to score online but not in stores:

  • Sam’s Club’s online-only deals include a JVC 49-inch 1080-pixel TV for $299.88, a Vizio 38-inch home theater sound bar for $69, a tilt-head stand mixer by KitchenAid for $199.98 and a $100 Google Play gift card for $79.64.
  • Best Buy promises to release extra online-only deals on Thanksgiving.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods has launched a “Black Friday Now” sale, offering online deals not yet available in stores.
  • Online-only retailers such as Amazon, Newegg and Overstock offer competitive prices on just about everything they sell.

The bottom line

Whether you should shop online or in stores on Black Friday depends on what items you’re looking for and your shopping preferences. If you’re after big consumer electronics, you might be better off visiting stores, but if it’s apparel and appliances you seek, you can just as easily snag savings by shopping from home.


Image via iStock.