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Black Friday 2020: Everything you need to know

In another lifetime, Black Friday was a single day of shopping excess. People woke up early the day after Thanksgiving, headed to malls, and fought over deeply discounted sweaters and TVs.

Then Black Friday gradually morphed into a vaguely defined period in November that mixed together incredible loss-leader discounts, solid price reductions, and a slew of questionable “bargains.” The time creep is dramatically worse this year, with “Black Friday” sales beginning in October, right after Amazon’s later-than-usual Prime Day deals. On top of that, some major retailers (like Walmart) say they’re releasing their best Black Friday deals in staggered waves in the lead up to the day proper.

Between the even longer run of sales, potential supply issues, and likely shipping delays, knowing when to buy an item or wait for a better deal can be hard—so we’ve stepped in to simplify deal hunting and offer strategy tips. With our help, you’ll know how to spot a juicy bargain. Let’s dig in!

When is Black Friday this year?

By strict definition, Black Friday is always the fourth Friday of November—the day after Thanksgiving. For 2020, that’s November 27. (It’ll be followed by Cyber Monday on November 30—a shopping holiday that online retailers cooked up to get some of the attention physical stores had.)

But the real answer to the question is that Black Friday’s lavish, over-the-top discounts have already begun. Right now they’re just drips and drabs, but blink and you could miss a sale on the exact item you’ve been waiting on.

That said, most of the best deals have historically appeared during the week of Black Friday—so we’re not ruling it out as a period of hefty discounts. But more so than previous years, waiting until that final week of November may not pay off for your individual buying plans.

Black Friday shopping doorbusters Powhusku (CC BY-SA 2.0)

How to get the best Black Friday tech deals

Option 1: Let us do the hard work

The easiest way to score rock-bottom prices is to let us find them for you. You can jump to the bottom of this article for details on our coverage plans, but here are samples from last year for now:

Option 2: Wade into the fray with our help

The other option is to strike out on your own. It’s not hard if you’re prepared—you just need to set aside time for it. You can zip pretty fast through all websites, circulars, forum posts, and email newsletters if you follow these tips, though:

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