As the holiday shopping season quickly approaches, deal finders and bargain shoppers are beginning to gear up for their favorite day of the year – Black Friday. If you want to join the shopping frenzy, you’ll first need to know which discounts will be available. The key to getting a good deal this season is to read the ads. You just have to find them first.
Black Friday is Nov. 28, but you can start looking for Black Friday ads right now.
Start Searching Online
Historically, shoppers are ready for information about the season’s discounts and doorbusters more than a month before the big day (or big season, since Black Friday begins earlier and earlier every year) arrives. According to a Google Trends search for keyword “Black Friday,” interest in the most anticipated shopping day of the year began in mid-to-late October last year. Searches for the term reached their 2013 peak during the week of Black Friday. Searches conducted this year for the phrase are already on the rise.
If you have already begun checking online for upcoming ads and deals, you’re definitely not alone. But are you too early? Not at all.
News about Black Friday is already slowing slipping out. Just recently, for example, a leaked internal employee email said that Macy’s will begin its Black Friday sale this year at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Stores such as Target and Toys ”R” Us have already released their respective lists of the season’s hottest toys. Discount-finder website DealNews recently unveiled its list of 2014 Black Friday predictions, which includes 60-inch LCD TV doorbusters for $420 and 13-inch ultraportable laptops for $450. These predictions may be mostly speculation, but confirmed deals are sure to come soon.
Keep an Eye Out for Ad Leaks
Ad leaks refer to Black Friday ads that hit the Internet before their intended release date. Several websites and smartphone apps are completely dedicated to compiling such sought-after information.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of a leaked scan of a Black Friday ad, they could pop up anytime from now until Black Friday. Retailers don’t intentionally release the ads early — after all, the sooner a store’s ad is available, the more time competitors have to adjust their own deals. Thus, ad leaks are typically posted online anonymously in the days or weeks leading up to Black Friday. These ad leaks, which may include everything from a clear PDF document to a grainy cell phone picture, traditionally begin surfacing online as early as October. By Nov. 9 of last year – a full 20 days before Black Friday – there were over 30 Black Friday ads already leaked from well-known retail outlets. It’s important to note that some leaked ads may not be completely accurate. The majority of the official retailer-released ads debut the week before Thanksgiving, according to Brad’s Black Friday.
Compare Leaks to Official Announcements
If last year is any indication, deal news will ramp up in mid-November. Target unveiled its 8 p.m. Thanksgiving opening time and some 2013 doorbuster deals on Nov. 11. Wal-Mart’s announcement came the next day, as did electronics retailer Best Buy’s “A Better Way to Black Friday” promotion. JCPenney’s proclamation of its holiday savings opportunities came on Nov. 19.
You can stay up to date on 2014 Black Friday deals with a variety of notifications. NerdWallet recommends checking ad leak websites, downloading Black Friday apps on your smartphone, enabling app push notifications for instant alerts and signing up to receive retail store emails.
Now that you know what to look for and when to look, what are you waiting for?
Track and field photo via Shutterstock