UPDATE: Oct. 18, 2023, 5:00 a.m. EDT This story has been updated with more information about Best Buy's Black Friday plans.
October sales at retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart now mark the official start of the holiday shopping season, yoinking the decades-old crown away from Black Friday. But the post-Thanksgiving festivity still remains one of the single biggest shopping days of the year for its ability to reliably trigger year-round lows on big-ticket items (like 4K TVs, Apple devices, robot vacuums, headphones, and gaming consoles).
And yes, that includes discounts even better than Amazon's well-hyped fall Prime Day deals.
If you want to take full advantage of those markdowns once they're live, here's what you need to know about Black Friday 2023 ahead of time.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is a shopping holiday that takes place every year on the day right after Thanksgiving. It used to be synonymous with late-night stampedes, viral fistfights, and long lines of tents pitched outside of department stores because the best doorbusters were available exclusively in person. But many retailers have made their Black Friday deals available online in recent years, turning it into a hybrid event; you can score great deals by camping out on a store's website instead of its literal doorstep nowadays.
Modern Black Fridays have also tended to spill beyond the bounds of their traditional single-day slots into weekend- to week-long affairs.
When do Black Friday deals start?
Black Friday falls on Friday, Nov. 24 this year. However, we expect to see many stores start peppering "early Black Friday deals" and "Black Friday preview deals" into their ongoing holiday sales in the coming weeks to stay competitive.
So far, only Best Buy has confirmed its plans: Paid members of its My Best Buy program will get exclusive early access to "some of our hottest Black Friday deals" at the tail end of its holiday sneak peek sale from Oct. 27 to 29, per a press release, and all shoppers will get early access on Oct. 30. The electronics store will then begin its official Black Friday sale on Friday, Nov. 17 (or a week before actual Black Friday), followed by its Cyber Monday Savings Event on Sunday, Nov. 26.
Are things actually cheaper on Black Friday?
The Mashable Shopping team researches and reports on deals constantly throughout the year, and while we see many items go on sale at deep discounts in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, we always encounter new record-lows on the day of. That said, an item on your wish list may be worth buying during a pre-Black Friday sale if's a popular gift or already abnormally cheap: Products that sell out ahead of time aren't always restocked for the actual event.
How to find the best Black Friday deals
Price-tracking sites and coupon-hunting browser extensions can do a lot of the heavy-lifting for you — our favorites include Honey, SlickDeals, Keepa, and camelcamelcamel. We'll also be keeping track of the best Black Friday deals ourselves right here on this page once they start bubbling up, so bookmark it for future reference.
If you want to seek out deals yourself, keep an eye out for dedicated Black Friday landing pages on retailers' websites. These serve as hubs for their best offers.
Black Friday versus Cyber Monday — what's the difference?
The National Retail Federation officially coined the term "Cyber Monday" in 2005 after it noticed that in previous years, the Monday after Thanksgiving saw a massive uptick in online sales. It credited the phenomenon to two factors: Online retailers were starting to vie for a slice of the Black Friday pie, and shoppers were waiting to peruse the deals on their faster work computers come Monday morning. (At the time, office PCs had better broadband than home setups.)
There's little difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday these days because of the former's shift online, and based on our experience, neither is a categorically "better" day to shop. Sometimes it's worth waiting to see if an item you find on sale during Black Friday goes on sale at an even cheaper price on Cyber Monday — but again, you also run the risk of it selling out.
Topics Black Friday