Here Are The Trends We See In This Year’s Black Friday Ads

Image courtesy of rlpurkey

Every year, the Black Friday ad flyers for major retailers “leak” online, giving shoppers an opportunity to pore over them well before the hefty Thanksgiving newspaper arrives on their doorsteps, if they receive a Thanksgiving newspaper at all.

From Dollar General's flyer.

From Dollar General’s flyer., a site that engages in some creative watermarking of their material, is usually the first site to publish these.

Shopping Frenzy Week: For people who like a head start on their head start, Ace Hardware and JCPenney are kicking off their sales on Wednesday, continuing them through the weekend. Dell Small Business kicks off their sale on Monday.

Light it up: Strings of LED lights and star showers are hot items in Black Friday flyers for stores that normally sell holiday decorations. Just check with your local airport before you put up the latter, if you take advantage of the deals.

Unrewarded: Companies with reward programs are pushing them in the first pages of flyers, using a hook of “It’s like getting the item for $X” when most of us probably won’t cash in those rewards anyway.

BJ’s does this with its Perks program:


Even though the items aren’t really gift-themed, CVS also does this with its ExtraBucks program. Most of those Extrabucks probably end up crumpled up at the bottom of someone’s pocket.

The items are free!

The items are free!

JCPenney also does this with some of its “spotlight deals,” which will require a mail-in rebate when you look at the fine print. If you tend to forget to mail in rebate forms, remind yourself of what the actual price will be.

That after-rebate price is pretty big.

That after-rebate price is in pretty big print.

Everyone wants the same gadgets: Drones costing $50-60, TVs, sound bars, and the occasional low-price laptop as a doorbuster are popular themes in this year’s ads, as usual.

Are the TV deals even any good? Kinda:That depends: our gadget-testing colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports found that Dell’s Black Friday prices on TVs and computers were pretty good, and while the items were similar to last year’s ad, the prices are down a bit. BJ’s has prices and products very similar to those of other warehouse clubs, but a few deals that may be worthwhile. Since Amazon’s deals are slated to change every few minutes all November long, it’s difficult to rate them ahead of time.

Wow: Shopko wins the award for “most uses of the word ‘wow’ on a single page,” which we didn’t even realize would be an award until looking at the front page of the chain’s ad.



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