It’s that time again: the holidays and that means lots of shopping.

With last year’s Black Friday sales drawing 66.5 million Americans to shop in person and 88 million to shop online, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2022’s Best Places to Shop on Black Friday, to offer insight.

According to the report, WalletHub surveyed nearly 4,000 deals from 16 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2022 Black Friday ad scans to identify the stores offering the biggest discounts in various product categories such as “Appliances,” “Jewelry” and “Toys.”

The following are some highlights from the report:

Best Black Friday Retailers (Avg. % Discount)
1. JCPenney (64.71%)6. Lenovo (40.67%)
2. Belk (64.23%)7. Target (32.87%)
3. Macy’s (53.05%)8. Big Lots (32.86%)
4. Office Depot and OfficeMax (49.93%)9. Academy Sports + Outdoors (31.10%)
5. Kohl’s (44.23%)10. The Home Depot (30.90%)

Key Stats

JCPenney has the highest overall discount rate at 64.71 percent, whereas Costco has the lowest at 16.80 percent.
The overall average discount for Black Friday is 37 percent. Consumers should aim for this discount amount or higher to Black Friday traps.
The “Apparel & Accessories” category has one of the most significant shares of discounted items, 21.09 percent of all offers, whereas the “Furniture” category has the smallest at 3.73 percent.

More Shopping Tips

How can consumers distinguish between real Black Friday deals and marketing traps?

“The best way to identify a ‘deal’ on Black Friday vs clever marketing is to shop right now. Explore pricing that is available in-store and online for the items you will be looking for. You will often find deals nearly as good today as on Black Friday. Also, do not be fooled by look-alike products from vendors you do not recognize. That is a common trap to lure you into a store to find out it is not what you were looking for. Also, watch to see if the item is the same on Black Friday or just similar. Make a note of the vendor’s stock number of the item. This is particularly important for big-ticket items such as TVs and appliances. Often a sale item looks the same but may be missing the features you are looking for. This is a common way for retailers to get to a lower price without cutting into their margins,” said Robert Paul Jones, Ph.D., department chair and associate professor at Texas Tech University; regional editor (Americas), International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management.

“I think there are a few ways to discern a good deal from a trap during this time. Consumers should consider if this is a product routinely sold by the retailer or if it is produced and/or sold at this retailer for Black Friday (e.g., can you purchase this product from this retailer before or after the holiday?). They can also consider if this is available at other reputable retailers and whether there is a history of product reviews (on this retailer or another). Lastly, the Black Friday season has recently drastically expanded from one day to multiple weeks, so consumers might also consider if the retailer is offering a ‘Black Friday’ guarantee wherein their purchase price will be the lowest in this time frame,” said Jared Watson, assistant professor at New York University.

Way to Stop Overspending

How can consumers protect themselves from overspending on Black Friday?

“Overspending is a big problem and I think consumers should be aware of that not only during the holiday season but throughout the year. My basic rule is: to have a list of items you need and the items that you do not need but want to buy before shopping. Also, think ahead about the approximate amount you can spend for each item and your overall shopping trip (offline or online). When you begin shopping, start with items you need and monitor the amount of money you may still have to spend on things you want but do not necessarily need. If you do not need something, you do not have to buy it! Simply because an item is on sale does not mean that you have to buy it. I think consumers have a Fear of Missing Out when they see deals and end up buying items they do not need just because those items are on sale. I know sometimes it is hard to resist a good deal, but when you get an item you do not need for 50% off, you are not saving 50%; you are losing the 50% you pay for it. So, prepare a list before a shopping trip and think about the range you can spend. Try to follow your list and your price range as much as possible,” said Omid Kamran Disfani, Ph.D., assistant professor, at Southern Illinois University.

“There are different strategies for consumers to protect themselves from overspending. Some consumers observe Buy Nothing Day instead of Black Friday, to participate in an international movement that highlights the negative social and environmental consequences of consumerism. Others choose to support brands with ethical business practices or to carefully choose products that will provide durable, long-term benefits. Other shoppers, who feel financial pressure to take advantage of Black Friday discounts, can avoid overspending by setting a budget and planning purchases ahead of time. Retailers can prompt impulse purchases online and in-store, and indulging in these unplanned purchases can quickly send a consumer over budget,” said Aimee Dinnín Huff, Ph.D., associate professor, at Oregon State University.

Bargain Hunting

What are some tips for maximizing bargains on Black Friday?

“If consumers want to maximize their bargains on Black Friday, they need a game plan. Know what your budget is and what items you are looking to purchase. Pre-shop the sales flyers and look online. Have a good idea what the ‘regular’ price is for your big-ticket items, so you will know if it is a true ‘doorbuster’ deal. If you are shopping in a brick-and-mortar store and need to get the ‘hot toy’ for the year, shop with a partner and split up to pick up different items that are scarce. And lastly, remember not to let FOMO push you to exceed your limits and abandon your plan,” said Tyra Burton, senior lecturer, at Kennesaw State University.

“Only buy products that you were planning to buy anyways and take advantage of the deals offered on Black Friday! Do not buy products you do not need just because it is on sale! Have a list before shopping, it helps you focus,” Disfani added.

To view the full report and each retailer’s rank in all product categories, please visit here.

Source: WalletHub