Black Friday Predictions for 2019
With the biggest shopping event of the year approaching, here are our experts’ predictions for how Black Friday 2019 will play out.
The exciting thing about Black Friday is that anything can happen. And every year, there are plenty of surprises.
No source tracks overall (in-store and online) Black Friday spending. But, based on online spending, we forecast the biggest Black Friday ever.
We predict that Black Friday sales (combined Black Friday and Thanksgiving spending) will surpass $12 billion dollars online this year. That’s based on the growth we’ve seen since 2016 ( If Black Friday online spending growth simply tracks with last year’s, we’ll see a more than $12 billion haul.
|Day||Online spending totals pending|
|Thanksgiving + Black Fri. 2016||$5.27 billion (17.7% increase YoY)|
|Thanksgiving + Black Fri. 2017||$7.9 billion (49% increase YoY|
|Thanksgiving + Black Fri. 2018||$9.9 billion (25% increase YoY)|
|Thanksgiving + Black Friday 2019 (predicted)||$12.3 billion (25% increase YoY)|
Source: Adobe Analytics 2018, 2017 and 2016 data.
More evidence that Black Friday will outdo itself this year comes from Google Trends search data. Search volume for “Black Friday deals” has continued to grow year over year, hitting a new height in 2018:
Walmart will be the king of the Black Friday hype, but Amazon will win online sales battle
When it comes to searching for retailer Black Friday deals, Walmart won by a long shot in 2018 when it came to Google online searches.
Interest in specific retailers’ deals starts to rev up in early November (when the ad scans drop) and hits its peak just a day before Black Friday.
Amazon (perhaps because it doesn’t release an ad and announces its deals rather late in the game via press release) doesn’t dominate search interest in the approach to Black Friday. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t win when it comes to sales. For the past two years running, Amazon has accounted for more than half of all online transactions on Black Friday, according to Hitwise data. Compare that to Walmart’s 12% of all online transactions last year.
So, we predict that this year, Walmart will once again drum up the most hype as consumers research deals. But most shoppers will turn to Amazon in the end when it comes to making their purchases.
These stores will continue to open on Thanksgiving
For about a decade now, plenty of major retailers have been opening on Thanksgiving. Despite the backlash the trend is here to stay. More than 165 million shoppers participated in Black Friday 2018, according to the National Retail Federation. We predict these retailers will open their doors to shoppers at the below times on Thanksgiving Day:
These are our predictions which major stores will open on Thanksgiving. For actual store hours (which we’ll be updating in real time) go here.
- Walmart: 6 p.m.
- Target: 6 p.m.
- Kohl’s: 5 p.m.
- Best Buy: 5 p.m.
- Macy’s: 5 p.m.
- JCPenny: 2 p.m.
- Kmart: 6 a.m. (yes, in the morning)
- Sears: 6 p.m.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods: 6 p.m.
- GameStop: 3 p.m.
Stores are remarkably consistent about their opening times on Thanksgiving, and these predictions are based on opening times we’ve tracked since 2016.
GameStop is a possible wildcard. It was closed on Thanksgiving in 2016, but opened in 2017 and 2018. We predict it will continue to welcome shoppers on Thanksgiving, due to pressures from Amazon and the intense interest over gaming deals, many of which sold out last year.
Some major Black Friday ads might drop a bit later this year
Last year, the last week of October through Nov. 1 saw a rush of Black Friday ads from Target, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Costco and more.
This year, however, Black Friday falls six days later, on Nov. 29 (it was Nov. 23 in 2018). We don’t expect ad releases to get delayed by a full week — the force of Black Friday hype has been pushing the start of the season earlier over the past few years. But we expect some major ads to drop the first full week of November (Nov. 5 to Nov. 8) instead of around Halloween, as they did last year. Most of the big-box ads (including Walmart and Best Buy) will be out by Nov. 8, just as they were in 2018.
Amazon, though, will continue to bide its time and wait until around Nov. 15. And eBay will continue its tradition of releasing its ad at the very last minute.
See our full list of ad-release date predictions.
You’ll be able to get a 70-inch 4K TV for under $800 (doorbuster price)
Based on past Black Friday prices (and the most recent round of Prime Day prices), here’s what we predict for the lowest doorbuster prices on 4K TVs.
|4K TV Screen Size||Lowest Doorbuster Price|
Based on 2018 Black Friday and the most recent Prime Day, most (and the best) TV deals will be in the 55-to-60-inch size, since these are the most popular and most competitive. We saw a couple 50-inch TVs for $279 on Prime Day, so we are predicting plenty of doorbusters in that size for $250 and under on Black Friday.
Smart home tech prices will hit new Black Friday lows
On the most recent Prime Day this July, we saw historic lows on Amazon’s proprietary Echo devices. The Echo smart speaker fell below $50 for the first time ever. The Echo Dot fell to $22. The basic Fire TV Stick fell to $14.99, and the 4K version fell to $24.99. Meanwhile, the Ring Video Doorbell (the entry-level model) fell to just $69, which was $30 below last year’s Black Friday price.
Because Amazon has a several-year pattern of repeating its Prime Day game plan on Black Friday, we expect to see these prices come back around for Thanksgiving weekend.
So, now it’s Google’s move. Its pricing during Prime Day/Black Friday in July matched its pricing from Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2018. That left its pricing on its entry-level devices (such as the Google Home and Google Home Mini) higher than Amazon’s on Prime Day. And there were no real deals on its Nest Hello smart doorbell.
To compete with Amazon, we therefore predict that Google will aggressively drop its smart home device prices for Black Friday this year. And we’re hoping to see a repeat of the $50 price drop we saw last Black Friday on Google’s premium smart speaker, Google Home Max.
Here’s what we predict for pricing on the most popular smart home devices:
|Smart Home Device||Predicted Black Friday 2019 Price|
|Google Home Mini||$22|
|Echo Plus (2nd Gen)||$99.99|
|Google Home Max||$250|
|Echo Show 5 (new June 2019)||$49.99|
If Google or Amazon drop any new devices (or new generations of existing ones) to their lineups, that could change things — and bring even lower prices on previous-generation products. For example, during Black Friday 2018, both Gen. 2 and Gen. 3 of the Echo Dot were available — and the older Gen. 2 version got discounted to under $20.
Newest phones will come with gift cards — no straight-up discounts
Black Friday is known for getting consumers hyped up about doorbuster prices — and the dirt-cheap prices at which they can snag big-ticket tech items.
But Black Friday phone deals don’t generally work that way. Instead, retailers tend to offer gift cards with phone purchases and activation (sometimes with a required trade-in). That means, if you’re upgrading your phone during Black Friday to the newest iPhone, Samsung Note 10 or Google Pixel 4 (likely out this fall) , you shouldn’t look for low prices. Instead, see which of your favorite retailers will offer you the most in gift cards: You can expect $200 to $400, depending on the phone you want, based on past years:
|Product||Predicted gift card amount|
|Newest iPhones (iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max)||$300 in gift cards from Walmart, Target|
|Previous-gen. iPhones (XR, Xs, Xs Max)||$400 in gift cards from Walmart, Target|
|Newest Samsung phones (Note 10, Note 10 Plus)||$300 in gift cards from Walmart, Target|
|Previous-gen. Samsung phones (Note9, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+)||$400 in gift cards from Walmart, Target|
|Newest Google Pixel (Pixel 4)||$200 in gift cards from Walmart, Target|
|Previous-Gen. Pixel (Pixel 3, 3a)||$300 in gift cards from Walmart, Target|
Other phone deals can be found via carriers, but there are also strings attached. For example, last year, T-Mobile offered the iPhone 10 XR and Samsung Galaxy S9 “for free,” via bill credits if you traded in an eligible device and added a line.
Gaming: We might see the first real discounts on Nintendo Switch … But Expect Plenty of Bundles
The Nintendo Switch, despite being out since 2017, has seen practically no price cuts, even for Black Friday, thanks to its popularity. Last year, the system itself still bore its usual $299 price tag but was packaged with an insanely popular Mario Kart gaming bundle (which sold out) and offered with a $50 gift card from GameStop. This could be the year we see a price drop on the system alone. Plus, Nintendo is releasing its compact, portable-only Switch Lite for $199.99 on Sept. 20. That’s a very giftable sweet-spot price point, and we expect to see gaming bundles offered with it for the holidays.
As for the PS4, Xbox One S and Xbox One X, we’re in a lull as far as new releases go. The Playstation 4 has been around in various forms since 2016. The Xbox One S came out in 2016, and even the newer Xbox One X has been out since Nov. 2017. And there’s nothing new on the horizon this year — No PS5 release date, and the next-gen Xbox console isn’t due out until holiday season 2020.
For shoppers, that means discounts AND bundles on these systems. The Xbox One X saw a $100 price drop last year, and we expect the same this year, with possibly some games thrown in this time, too.
Some other notable gaming deals may be in the world of VR. There are two new Oculus systems out this year: The Oculus Rift S ($399) and Oculus Go ($199 or $249, depending on which version). Last year, the now-discontinued original Rift was $50 off, and we expect the same — possibly an even bigger discount on the Rift S as VR contends with slow pickup. Meanwhile, the HTC Vive (the basic version) wasn’t discounted for Black Friday last year and is currently sitting at $499. The system is now more than three years old, and we predict a 2019 Black Friday discount of $50.
|System||Predicted Black Friday 2019 Price|
|Nintendo Switch||$249 discount, or bundled deals|
|Nintendo Switch Light||$199.99 (with bundle deals)|
|Xbox One X||$399.99|
|Xbox One S||$199|
|Oculus Rift S||$350|
Tablets and e-readers will be some of the smartest Black Friday buys
If you’re in the market for a tablet, you’re in luck. For the past couple years, Black Friday sales have pushed tablets into price points we see just twice a year: Black Friday and Prime Day.
We expect the following price tags (based on patterns from the past two years of Black Fridays and Prime Days):
|Tablet||Predicted Black Friday 2019 Price|
|Kindle Paperwhite (new version with front light)||$59.99|
|Fire 7 Tablet||$29.99|
|Fire HD 8 Tablet||$49.99|
|Fire HD 10 Tablet||$99.99|
|iPad (32 GB)||$249|
|Samsung Galaxy S5e (10.1 inches, 64GB)||$300|
You’ll want to snap up the top toys by Black Friday
Target, Walmart and Amazon will release their toy books/list in September. Check those lists. Those are the toys you will want to snag on Black Friday or before. Based on what’s happened in past years, you won’t want to wait until Cyber Monday in hopes of a better deal. The most popular toys will be sold out by then.
Walmart and Amazon will duke it out over the Instant Pot … Again
The Instant Pot’s skyrocketing popularity has made it a hot Black Friday commodity with some of the biggest price drops we’ve seen on small appliances. In 2018, Walmart offered the Instant Pot LUX80 Eight-Quart 6-in-1 pressure cooker for the lowest-ever price of $59. During the most recent Prime Day (2019), we saw Amazon and Walmart both offer the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 six-quart pressure cooker for $49.99. And then Amazon swooped in with a lowest-ever price on an even better model: The Duo60 9-in-1 for just $55.99.
So expect the Instant Pot competition to be intense — and expect the best deals to run out of stock.
Plus, keep an eye on air fryers. These devices are becoming popular, and Instant released its Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer oven in 2019. This item may be a new battleground for Walmart and Amazon, and we expect its regular price of $119 to drop to below $100 for Black Friday.