The best early Black Friday deals as of Oct. 18:
Did it hurt? When you realized we’ve entered our second pandemic holiday shopping season?
Ready or not, Black Friday is coming
Yes, stores are already cramming your inbox with early Black Friday deals. Yes, it’s only mid-October. It may seem a bit preemptive, like those neighbors who insist on putting up their Christmas decorations before the leaves fall, but they actually have a very good reason to get a jump on this year’s sales. (No, it’s not just a good, old-fashioned cash grab in response to some strong holiday spending forecasts.)
Three words: Supply chain chaos.
Under circumstances absolutely no one had on their bingo card, pickles and paper bags have gotten as elusive as Playstation 5s. Blame the Delta variant, which continues to inflame pandemic-related material scarcities, labor shortages, and delivery delays across industries of all kinds. Unsurprisingly, this ordeal has left manufacturers and retailers scrambling; Walmart, Home Depot, and Ikea have actually gone so far as to charter private cargo ships to make sure their shelves are stocked for the holidays.
As such, finding the best deals this Black Friday will be a question of availability more so than price.
“There will always be sales, but they won’t be as deep and as plentiful,” Bain & Company’s Aaron Cheris told CNBC last month. (He’s the head of the consulting firm’s Americas Retail practice.) “As a retailer or a brand, I don’t have the same motivation when I know I’m going to stock out.”
Since planning ahead will be your best defense against backorders and “sold out” notices, we’re rolling out our Black Friday coverage way earlier than usual this year. (The early bird gets the Nintendo Switch bundle, so to speak.) We’ll be updating this post with the best deals as sales start to pop up — in the meantime, here are all the must-know details you’ll need ahead of time.
We’ll find the best deals so you don’t have to. Credit: Vicky Leta / Mashable
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is a shopping holiday that takes place every year on the day right after Thanksgiving. It used to be synonymous with viral fistfights and stampedes and lines that stretched around city blocks before 3 a.m., but COVID-19 has turned it into a mostly online event.
When is Black Friday?
While Black Friday proper falls on Nov. 26 this year, several stores have already begun trickling out their holiday doorbusters.
The National Retail Federation officially coined the term “Cyber Monday” in 2005 after it noticed that in previous years, the Monday after Thanksgiving saw a massive uptick in online sales. It credited the phenomenon to two factors: Online retailers were starting to vie for a piece of the Black Friday pie, and shoppers were waiting to peruse the deals on their faster work computers come Monday morning. (At the time, office PCs had better broadband than home setups.)
Last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales effectively bled together since in-person shopping wasn’t really a thing. We’ll almost certainly see that repeat this coming November.
What stores will be open for in-person shopping this Black Friday, if any?
Most major retailers’ Black Friday hours are still TBD, but we already know that Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Kohl’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond will close their doors on Thanksgiving Day. (That’s another big change from pre-pandemic years, when many stayed open on the federal holiday so that eager shoppers could get a jump on their best deals.) If you feel the urgent need to do some post-pie shopping that day, you’ll have to crack open your laptop instead.
Don’t forget to order a little something nice for yourself this year. You earned it. Credit: Mashable Illustration
Here are the best deals at each retailer
Amazon: Starting Oct. 4, Amazon is dropping “Black Friday-worthy deals” every day in the leadup until the actual holiday. Find out what’s up for grabs by visiting its Epic Daily Deals page, installing its mobile app, or by asking your smart home device, “Alexa, what are my deals?” The last time we checked, its best offers included a $150 discount on an M1-equipped MacBook Pro, a 33% savings on an Echo Show 8/Blink Mini bundle, and $100 off the fancy over-ear AirPods Max.
Bed Bath & Beyond: Check back later for deals!
Best Buy: The electronics store has announced that it’s running multiple Black Friday sales this year, beginning with a four-day sale from Oct. 19 to Oct. 22 featuring “hundreds” of discounts on must-have tech. (Its official Black Friday sale will also start a whole week early on Nov. 19, but everything is covered by a new “Black Friday Price Guarantee” no matter when you shop.) If you can’t wait ’til then, create a free My Best Buy account or sign up for the Best Buy Totaltech support program to shop an exclusive Member Monday sale through Monday, Oct. 18. At the time of writing, it featured a $700 discount on NordicTrack’s Commercial X32i treadmill, a $275 discount on TCL’s 55-inch 6-Series Mini-LED 4K smart TV, an $80 discount on the Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones, and a $50 savings on the 8-quart Chefman TurboFry Touch Air Fryer.
Dell: Check back later for deals!
Kohl’s: Check back later for deals!
Macy’s: The department store will kick off its Black Friday sale on Tuesday, Nov. 23. Check back later for deals!
Target: The bullseye brand doesn’t have anything on the calendar in the wake of its Deal Days event (which ended Oct. 12), but feel free to keep shopping there anyway: Its holiday price match policy is now in effect through Dec. 24, and you can also take advantage of two new “buy now, pay later” payment options through Sezzle and Affirm. Check back later for deals!
Walmart: The big box store has confirmed the return of its popular “Black Friday Deals for Days” in November. The monthlong sale will be divided into three different events that begin on its website, with the same deals continuing in Walmart stores. (Worried something on your list will sell out? Join Walmart+ — paying members will receive online access to those holiday offers four hours earlier than everyone else, as a treat.) Like Target, Walmart has also nixed layaway in favor of a new “buy now, pay later” program as part of its partnership with Affirm. Can’t-miss early rollbacks include $150 off the Echelon Connect exercise bike, $100 off the Dyson V8 Fluffy, and a $69 Ninja air fryer (nice).
Best tech deals
Apple’s premium over-ear headphones have never been as cheap as they are right now. Credit: Apple
Alienware: Get 29% off the Alienware 25 gaming monitor.
Amazon Echo: Save $35 on the first-gen Echo Show 5 and get $30 off the second-gen Echo Show 8. (Plus, save 33% when you bundle the latter with a Blink Mini.)
Amazon Fire tablets: Save 25% when you buy two Fire Kids tablets.
Amazon Fire TV: Take 30% off the third-gen Fire TV Stick (now $27.99).
Apple: Take $100 off the AirPods Max, 16% off the new Magsafe Battery Pack, and up to $150 off MacBooks with the M1 chip on Amazon. Plus, save up to $1,000 on the all-new iPhone 13 with a trade-in and qualified activation with Verizon via Best Buy.
Beats: Get a pair of the new Beats Studio Buds on Amazon for just $124.95 — that’s a 17% savings and their highest discount to date — or save $80 on a pair of Powerbeats Pro from Best Buy (now $169.99); a My Best Buy or Best Buy Totaltech membership is required for access to the latter.
JBL: Take up to 40% off headphones and earbuds, including up to 25% off its Quantum line of gaming headphones.
Kindle: Save up to 44% on Amazon’s popular e-readers.
Lenovo: Get $200 off the 256GB Lenovo Yoga 6 (now $549.99) with a My Best Buy or Best Buy Totaltech membership.
Samsung: Take $30 off the new Galaxy Watch 4, get $150 off the Galaxy Book Pro, save 33% on the Galaxy Buds+, and score discounts of up to 35% on select Galaxy Tabs during a special Samsung Week sale on Amazon.
Sony: Get up to 55% off select Sony headphones, save $1,300 on the 65-inch Master Series A9G Bravia OLED TV (now $1,699.99), and take up to 25% off its X950H 4K smart TVs. Plus, get 10% back on select Sony TVs with an Amazon Prime card.
TCL: Save $275 on its 55-inch 6-Series Mini-LED 4K smart TV (now $674.99) with a My Best Buy or Best Buy Totaltech membership.
Vizio: Save $100 on the new 50-inch M-Series 4K HDR Smart TV (now $899.99).
Best robot vacuum deals
Robot vacuums: Because no one’s ever sat on their deathbed wishing they’d spent more time cleaning. Credit: Bissell
Bissell: Save $100 on the SpinWave Wet and Dry Robotic Vacuum (now $299.99).
eufy: Get 37% off the RoboVac 15C MAX (now $175.99).
Roborock: Take $209 off the S6 Pure Robot Vacuum and Mop (now $390.99).
Shark: Save $60 on the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL (now $489.99) and take $55 off the Shark Ion Robot 750 (now $144).
Best kitchen deals
Nobody’s doing it like Le Creuset. Credit: Le Creuset
Chefman: Take $50 off the TurboFry Touch Air Fryer (now $79.99) with a My Best Buy or Best Buy Totaltech membership.
Instant Pot: Get 25% off the 6-quart Duo Plus (now $89.95) and 44% off the Air Fryer Lid attachment (now $49.95).
Le Creuset: Take 40% off the French brand’s 3.5-quart Sauteuse (now $179.95).
Ninja: Save $20 on the Ninja Air Fryer (now $69) and take $30 off the Ninja Foodi indoor grill (now $169).
Vitamix: Snag the A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender on sale for just $535.99 — a 23% savings.
Best house and home deals
Tuft & Needle makes some of Mashable’s favorite beds-in-a-box. Credit: Tuft & Needle
Amazon: Save up to 30% on select bedroom furniture.
Tuft & Needle: Take 10% off select mattresses.
Best fitness deals
Peloton whomst? Credit: Echelon
Echelon: Save $150 on the Connect Sport exercise bike and get a free 30-day Echelon United membership (a $40 value).
NordicTrack: Get $700 off the Commercial X32i treadmill (now $3,099.99) with a My Best Buy or Best Buy Totaltech membership; ignore Best Buy’s inflated list price.
Best toy deals
Check back later for deals!
Updated on Oct. 18, 2021 to include info about Walmart’s Black Friday plans and a one-day Member Monday sale at Best Buy for My Best Buy and Totaltech members.