10 Things Not To Buy on Black Friday

Black Friday will be filled with holiday shopping deals, but not everything sold on Black Friday is getting the best deal of the season.

As shoppers have figured out that there are better deals to be found in other sections of the holiday shopping calendar, retailers have followed them away from Black Friday. The National Retail Federation found that 154 million people went shopping during Thanksgiving weekend last year, with more people doing shopping online (44%) instead of in stores (40%). While 75% of that weekend's store shoppers went out on Black Friday itself and 34% went out on Thanksgiving day, larger percentages of online shoppers just stayed home and did likewise on Thanksgiving (36%) and Black Friday (74%). As a result, according to market research firm ShopperTrak, Black Friday foot traffic at brick-and-mortar stores were flat last year after dropping 12% in 2015.

Many are skipping the Thanksgiving holiday scrum altogether. While ComScore notes that the $1.29 billion spent online on Thanksgiving and the $1.97 billion spent on Black Friday in 2016 were impressive, neither day came close to the $2.67 billion that consumers spent on Cyber Monday right after Thanksgiving weekend -- which was up 17% from Cyber Monday 2015.

"We recognize the Thanksgiving weekend shopping experience is much different than it used to be as just as many people want that unique, exclusive online deal as they do that in-store promotion," said NRF president and chief executive Matthew Shay. "It is clear that the age-old holiday tradition of heading out to stores with family and friends is now equally matched in the new tradition of looking online for holiday savings opportunities."

The folks at online shopping and price comparison site DealNews have found that many holiday shopping categories hold their best sales for days that aren't Black Friday. For the past few years, DealNews found that retailers including Walmart and Target had fewer deals Black Friday than they did either the day before (Thanksgiving) or the following Monday (Cyber Monday). Doorbusters have become somewhat redundant, as online orders with in-store pickup have made it easier to purchase the item you want and have the store simply hold onto it until the Black Friday mob clears out for the weekend.

With shopping holidays including Cyber Tuesday, Green Monday and Free Shipping Day offering deals of their own, Black Friday is now just another option on the table. However, for shoppers looking for certain items specifically, Black Friday can be a complete waste of time and effort. With help from DealNews, we found ten items that are available for far better prices on days that aren't Black Friday:

TheStreet's "Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Survival Guide" series aims to to help you, the consumer and the investor, navigate the holiday season, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and everything in between. Through a number stories, videos, graphics and other multimedia elements TheStreet takes a look at the biggest challenges of the season, the winners and losers from the shifting retail environment and much more. Read More about navigating the holiday season.

Holiday Survival Guide - TheStreet Special Report

Is Your Wallet Ready for Black Friday?

iPhones
iPhones

Apple's (AAPL) new iPhones pretty much never get a holiday discount. Some stores may give you free gift cards when you buy the iPhone 8 at full price, but that's still a $699 phone. It'll be even less of a deal on the iPhone 8 Plus and X, which won't come down in price until at least late December. The iPhone 7 will be available for a deep discount but only if you sign a contract with a carrier first.

Fitness equipment
Fitness equipment

Oh, you're not going to see that home gym equipment marked down until after you've gorged yourself during the holidays and feel awful about it. Those New Year's resolutions drive an entire industry -- from exercise bikes to gym memberships -- and that industry likes to deal in volume. Once 2018 hits, you'll be able to get some sweet deals until at least Super Bowl Sunday.

Tools
Tools

You might be able to find a great deal on hand tools or tool sets here or there on Black Friday, but DealNews warns that those sales are just primers. In December, hammers, wrenches and other hand tools go on sale, as do power tools. Those will last you a lot longer than the cheapo, house-branded toolsets you'll see lining the aisles on Black Friday.

Jewelry
Jewelry

Jewelers have absolutely no reason to mark down their prices at this time of year. For one, everybody picks up jewelery around the holidays. It's one of those points on the gift-giving calendar that, unlike a birthday or anniversary, has an entire nation reminding you to pick up something special for the person you love. Secondly, you're right in the middle of engagement season. Every sap on the planet at least entertains the idea of popping the question on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. A generation's worth of romantic comedies have said this is the right thing to do, so the least creative suitors out there will always have the option of placing a ring in a stocking, on the tree or in a champagne flute.

1080p TVs
1080p TVs

It isn't that there won't be deals on these TVs on Black Friday: it's just that 4K TVs will be either near the same price or exactly the same. The industry hasn't presented a compelling reason for anyone to pick up a 4K television yet, so the last weapon in its arsenal is price. For people who either just got out of the cathode-ray habit or just upgraded a 720p or plasma set, the 4K may seem like a superfluous waste. However, if you're just looking to make the next step or need another TV, give the 4K models a look this year.

High-end laptops
High-end laptops

Oh, you'll be able to get deals on low-end laptops and smaller models. In fact, Chromebooks will sell for less than $100, while Skylake laptops with one terrabyte of storage will go for $300 to $500. However, if you need a brawnier machine for games or design, you already know that this isn't the time of year to buy them. Instead, do your shopping in July and September when they'll have their prices cut as part of "back to school" sales.

Final sale items
Final sale items

This applies largely to bankrupt and closing brick-and-mortar stores. If you see items marked down as part of a clearance and aren't sure if the retailer will survive long enough for your gift's recipient to make a return, don't buy them. Especially where clothing is concerned, it's nice to have at least the option of returning items you've purchased. Otherwise, you're just gift wrapping garbage and handing it to some poor, unsuspecting reveler who thinks they're actually getting a present.

Gift cards
Gift cards

Everybody buys gift cards either out of convenience, laziness or thoughtlessness. Everyone takes gift cards because, hey, at least they didn't buy you some final-sale item you can't return. However, if you're buying a gift card and letting people do their own shopping, why just trade your real money for fake money? Every year in December, companies like Apple start selling gift cards for less than face value. That makes it easier to give more for less, but it's also helpful when retailers and restaurants just give them away for making a minimum purchase. It isn't regifting if it was a retailer or restaurant who gave the gift card to you in the first place, so just pay that good fortune forward and no one will be the wiser.

Winter clothing
Winter clothing

There will be clothing deals on Black Friday, but don't expect those deals to be of a seasonal variety. Black Friday isn't even technically winter, so retailers aren't going to part with cold-weather gear cheaply if there are still months of demand left. DealNews says 50%-off deals on outerwear in December will be tough to pass up, but much deeper discounts await in January.

Holiday decorations
Holiday decorations

This may seem like a no-brainer, but shopping for Christmas decorations has gotten confusing in the last couple of years. Target has been offering $50 off of holiday decoration purchases of $100 or more on the Saturday after thanksgiving, but very few other stores follow their lead. Instead, wait until after the holidays when all decorations are marked down for clearance. When people are dreading taking down all of their lights, lawn ornaments and other decor, you should be thinking about what you can put up next year on the cheap.

TheStreet's "Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Survival Guide" series aims to to help you, the consumer and the investor, navigate the holiday season, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and everything in between. Through a number stories, videos, graphics and other multimedia elements TheStreet takes a look at the biggest challenges of the season, the winners and losers from the shifting retail environment and much more. Read More about navigating the holiday season.

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