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Electronics are always a popular category during Black Friday, and with good reason! They tend to feature some of the best savings of the holiday. For all the gadgets on your shopping list, we have the predictions you need — the prices to expect on home assistants, fitness trackers, smartwatches, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and cameras.
So what can you expect from Black Friday electronics deals? Below, we've created a "cheat sheet" with the top tips you need to know when shopping. Savvy consumers who want more information should scroll down for our in-depth analysis.
The Cheat Sheet: Black Friday Electronics Predictions
Prices to Expect
- Amazon Echo for $90; Amazon Dot for $40
- Apple Watch Series 3 bundled with up to $105 in gift cards; Apple Watch Series 2 for less than $229
- Cheap Bluetooth speakers for $20 or less
- Google Home could drop to $89
- FitBit Blaze for $79
- Fitbit Ionic will be full price, but could be bundled with gift cards up to $25
- Samsung Gear Sport will be full price, but might be bundled with gift cards up to $50
5 Quick Tips You Need to Know
- Once again, Canon will have a ton of refurbished camera deals.
- Score Editors' Choice fitness tracker deals Thanksgiving through Cyber Weekend.
- Camera bundles will likely have gift cards or mail-in rebates that make them extra appealing.
- If you have an Alexa device, you could save even more with exclusive deals.
- Inexpensive headphones and earbuds will drop as low as $8 and $5, respectively.
What to Buy
Home Assistants Will Be Big (Again)
No matter what your favorite uses for Alexa are, Black Friday is a great time to score one of these Amazon devices. Last year we saw the Echo drop to $115, and this year it's already fallen to $90, or 50% off its regular price. However, a new Echo has been released, with a starting price of $99.99. With it being so low already, we definitely don't expect another 50% discount; but, there's a chance it could hit $90 for Black Friday. More likely though, we'll see another multipack discount (we've already seen an offer to save $50 when you buy three).
The Echo Plus is also a new model and it comes with a smart hub for easier installation of smart home devices. We haven't seen any deals on it yet, but there has been a bundle that includes the Plus and a Philips lightbulb. While we aren't expecting any discounts on this one, we wouldn't be surprised to see it bundled with other smart devices.
Deals on the Amazon Tap are few and far between, but this gadget dropped to $80 (from $130) for Prime Day this year. It could drop as low as $69 for Black Friday, which is a $60 savings off the normal price. The Dot is another big player in Amazon's home assistant lineup and it wouldn't be surprising to see it hit $40 — it's already dropped that low a few times this year. We also expect to see deals on multi-packs, so you could save even more if you opt to buy two or more Dots at a time. We've already seen a 3-pack drop to $100 this year.
The Amazon Echo and Google Home will be competitively discounted at $90 and $89, respectively.
If you're not sold on Amazon's Alexa, the Google Home is the other big player in this category. While it couldn't contend with the Echo when it was released last year, this assistant has come a long way. With the new Echo release, the Google Home is now more expensive at $129. However, it could drop to $89 for Black Friday (it dropped that low in July), or we could see it go for slightly more and be bundled with gift cards.
If you don't want to fork over more than $100 for a Google Home, there is a Mini version that's priced the same as the Echo Dot. The Google Home Mini is available for $49, and can reportedly do everything the Google Home can do (although sound quality isn't the same). We've seen no deals on the Mini yet, but it could be bundled with other devices, or even come with a regular-sized Home for Black Friday.
Apple finally announced its own speaker assistant this year, the HomePod. However, it's not even due for release until December, so it won't be part of the Black Friday competition.
Previous-Gen Apple Watches Under $200
Recently Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3, and in the process it discontinued the Apple Watch Series 2. This means we could end up seeing especially good discounts on both the Series 2 and Series 1 this year.
The last time we saw a situation similar to this was when the iPad 3 was discontinued — iPad 2 models fell by $60 to $160 that Black Friday. This could mean realistically seeing the Series 1 drop to around $189 this holiday season. If retailers are feeling particularly generous, it could go as low as $89 (but don't count on it).
Actual discounts on the newly minted Series 3 are pretty unlikely.
What does this mean for Series 2 prices? The iPad 3 was discontinued when the iPad 4 was announced in October 2012. That November, we saw deals for the iPad 3 that included various models bundled with gift cards, as well as a $50 discount in some cases. However, the most significant discounts actually fell in December that year.
If we see a repeat of this trend for the Series 2, that could mean prices could drop to new lows. Best Buy recently knocked the price to $229, and Black Friday should go even lower. There's also a chance that holding out until December could mean even steeper discounts, with prices starting as low as $149.
Actual discounts on the newly minted Series 3 are pretty unlikely. When the Series 2 was new last year, the only Black Friday deal we saw was the full-price Watch bundled with $105 in Kohl's Cash. Similar store credit bundles could pop up in 2017 for the Series 3. For more info on Black Friday Apple Watch deals, check out the complete Apple guide.
Any first-generation Apple Watches still hanging around could be cheap refurbs. Granted, it's the oldest Apple Watch, and has a slower processor; if you're worried about functionality and speed, it might be best to skip this model. And you don't have to shell out a ton of money for a high-end Apple smartwatch when there are more affordable options. Cheaper models should go as low as $20 for Black Friday, while non-Apple (but still name brand) smartwatches could go for $85.
Fitness Trackers Under $100
If you're waiting for the right time to score a fitness tracker, Black Friday is the prime time to do so. Older FitBits (such as the FitBit Flex 2) are expected to drop as low as $39. And with the Blaze having already dropped below $100 this year, it's possible that model could fall to $79. The Surge has already fallen to $180, and it could easily go that low again.
Budget fitness trackers make great stocking stuffers, too. For those who are just looking for a gadget that monitors steps, sleep, distance, and calories, budget trackers are likely to be found for $40 or less.
Newly-released fitness trackers won't be on sale, but they'll come with free gift cards.
Looking for one of those top-shelf trackers that just hit the market? Sorry, but you're probably going to pay full price. Luckily, we expect them to come with gift cards! The Fitbit Ionic will be offered at $230, but it could be bundled with up to a $25 gift card. The Samsung Gear Sport will also be full price (probably between $200 and $300), but it might be bundled with up to a $50 gift card — especially if the deal comes from Samsung itself.
Bluetooth Speakers Are Cheap, But Not Abundant
Looking for a good Bluetooth speaker? You'll find plenty of deals leading up to Black Friday, but by Thanksgiving the quantity of deals will drop. Still, it should be noted that last year Thanksgiving did have the most Editors' Choice deals for Bluetooth speakers, with Cyber Week as a close second.
If you're looking to spend as little cash as possible, these speakers can be found for as little as $7. Most prices will fall to $20 or less, though. Looking for recognizable brand? Depending on the model, new Bose speakers could drop to $269, Harman Kardon could fall to $90, and select Samsung speakers could hit $80.
Save Hundreds on Older Headphones
As long as you're looking for good quality (and not necessarily the latest models), you can bag well-made cans without spending a fortune. Last year, Black Friday proved to be a great time to score significant savings on major headphone brands, especially when they were bundled with other accessories.
This year, look for Bose, Sony, and Beats models leading up to Black Friday. Higher-end cans by companies like Audeze can also be found in major bundles. Expect to save over $1,000 for some of those bundles, or to see prices on standalone Audeze cans drop to $300.
Older models for super high-end headphones will be slashed in price by up to 65% off — a savings of $200 to $1,000.
On Thanksgiving, Bose, Sony, and Beats will see discounts of up to 60% off. Beyerdynamic could see savings of up to 65% off (depending on how old the models are), which could save you over $200 on some headphones. Sennheiser is likely to go on sale again, and you'll probably save 50% to 75% off. Again, they'll be older models from around 2011 or 2012.
Hunting for cheaper options? Super affordable headphones and earbuds are expected to drop to $8 and $5, respectively.
Bundles Make Photography More Affordable
Black Friday is ideal for snagging DSLR deals, mostly because they tend to be bundled with awesome accessories. In fact, the best bundles will have at least two lenses, but others will also include camera bags, cleaning kits, photo or all-in-one printers, photo paper, software, and more. While these kits will be more pricey, you can usually cut about $350 off the bundle price via a mail-in rebate. Major Nikon and Canon bundles are expected to drop to at least $450 this year, depending on the accessories within the bundles.
Rebates will cut about $350 off DSLR camera bundles, and both Canon and Nikon will offer deals on refurbished units.
Before you shell out big bucks for a loaded bundle, make sure you want all the accessories in it. Saving over $300 on a new camera and lenses is definitely worth it — but only if you plan on using them.
The Canon and Nikon sites are likely to both have deals on refurbished models, but Canon deals will probably outnumber Nikon. Last year, Canon had a general sale that took up to $300 off select items, while Nikon took 10% off select refurbs. Canon has already taken up to $450 off in a sale this year; we could see steeper discounts during Black Friday.
When to Shop
Don't Expect Much After Black Friday
Although it depends on what kind of items you're looking for, in general the best time to shop for electronics will be the week of Black Friday itself. Deals will start early — at least the week before, if not sooner — but the best bargains will be found on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and a couple days before those holidays.
Some deals can still be found over Cyber Weekend, but we see a notable drop off after the big day.
Where to Shop
Competition Drives the Deals
Competition drives price-matching for many popular electronics. Even if Amazon has the best price initially on its Alexa devices, other stores like B&H Photo Video, Best Buy, and even Staples are keen on carrying the same deals to be competitive. Google is similar; stores like Walmart, B&H Photo Video, and Best Buy often have the same prices on the Home as Google itself.
Hunting for smartwatches? Apple Watches in particular tend to see the best deals from retailers like B&H Photo Video, Best Buy, and Target. Kohl's is also known for having notable discounts. Plus, big buys there are often eligible for larger Kohl's Cash amounts. Other smartwatches and fitness trackers see bigger discounts from retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and even eBay.
Some of the best headphones sales will come straight from manufacturers like Panasonic, Audeze, and Bose. For other, more specific deals, look to Amazon, Best Buy, third-party sellers on Newegg, and B&H Photo Video. Adorama, Sonic Electronix, and Massdrop are all expected to have noteworthy deals as well. Be warned though, many deals at Adorama will probably be saddled with a mail-in rebate, which means you'll spend more up front.
Shopping for cameras? Nikon and Canon are obvious picks for some of the better deals. Otherwise though, Adorama is a solid option, along with eBay and Amazon.
Julie Ramhold is a contributing writer at dealnews. Republished with permission.