Retail

At times it seems like the COVID-19 pandemic will never end. The Thanksgiving holiday family dinner is going to be a casualty of the coronavirus for many Americans this year, and many more will avoid shopping in brick-and-mortar stores for the Black Friday weekend.

Major retailers have implemented lots of ways to help shoppers avoid crowded stores and malls this year: online offerings have expanded, and shoppers are taking advantage of choices including curbside pickup, free in-store pickup and free delivery to minimize their contact with other people. One top website for Black Friday shoppers, BestBlackFriday.com, recommends that for safety’s sake, “avoid the crowds this year and take advantage of all the different ways you can shop without spending much more than five minutes in any store.”

According to an October survey conducted by Piplsay, more than a quarter (28%) of Black Friday shoppers will be looking for deals on electronics, like mobile devices, computers and gaming devices, while 16% will be scouting out deals on home appliances and smart home devices, like smart speakers. Another 15% will be shopping for clothes and accessories, while 13% plan to buy toys, games and books and 9% will be looking for bargains on kitchen items.

For technology buffs, the iPhone 12 from Apple is the most-wanted gift for the 2020 holiday season. Sony’s new PlayStation 5 is second on the list, and the new Xbox X or S lags behind smart home technology like speakers and other devices.

The new iPhones are available at a discount of $250 at Target for consumers willing to switch to AT&T service. Other good deals on phones are Target’s offer of a $400 gift card to consumers who purchase a Samsung Note20 5G, S20+5G, or a Note10+.

The best deals on smart home devices can be found at Amazon, according to BestBlackFriday. Prices on the company’s own smart home products like Echo and Echo Dot have been sharply reduced, and there are announced discounts on iRobot cleaners and other smart home products.

Walmart or GameStop are the choices for games and game consoles. The new PS5 and Xbox models are not accompanied by a stack of new games this year, so Walmart is offering discounts on several exclusive Nintendo titles that are lower than Nintendo’s suggested prices. And GameStop has undercut Walmart’s price by $3 a title, according to BestBlackFriday.

For computers, “no retailer offers better pricing or incentives than Best Buy,” according to BestBlackFriday. An HP 15.6-inch Spectre x360 is discounted $500 and sells for $1,100. A Lenovo Flex 3 11-inch Chromebook regularly priced at $279 is available for $180.

The best prices for new TVs are generally available ahead of the Super Bowl, and this year is likely to be no different. BestBlackFriday notes that low priced TVs at this time of year are often older and cheaper models. If you can’t wait, however, Best Buy is probably the place to shop for one. A 50-inch Insignia model 50D is selling for just $150 and high-end OLED models from LG include a 65-inch CX model for $1,900, a discount of $500 to the regular price.

And this year’s most popular toys? Walmart assembled an expert panel earlier this fall to determine the must-have toys for this year. Other toys that are popular this year include Lego Super Mario Adventures, the American Girl Courtney Doll and Hexburg Junkbots. Search online for the best price.