BIG BRANDS: Black Friday Recap and 2013 Predictions

Best of Black Friday Deals 2013Do you think BLACK FRIDAY 2013 will focus on the same, or newer, more emerging brands?


Holiday sales traditionally receive a nice boost from bigger, stronger brands and 2012 was no exception. However, there were a few newer brands (not generally known for Black Friday deals) that had a good showing for quantity and quality of savings, including Lenovo, V-tech, Skylanders, Leapfrog, Columbia, Dyson and Razor (the scooter, not the cell phone). Some other brand names were somewhat disappointing with either lack of advertised offers or lack-luster sale pricing, including Sharp, Stanley, As Seen on TV, Casio, Dell and DKNY (10% off is not Black Friday worthy…unless you’re Apple).

These 10 brands led the way for awareness and variety, not to mention prices worth comparing.
– Search ALL BRANDS in the Black Friday Deal Finder.

Apple is always a coveted brand during the holidays, but they’ve never been known as a brand that discounts their products. Even the other stores that carry iPads, iPhones and Macbooks won’t mark can’t mark them down enough to have that Black Friday like mystique. What they can do though is offer a bonus with an Apple product purchase, such as Navy Exchange that offered a free Apple TV w/any purchase of an an Apple Computer. Or Meijer, Target, Walmart and Toy R Us who offered in-store gift cards (or Itunes GC’s) with Apple products and along with most mobile carriers offering iPhones at discount with a 2 year agreement. In all, there were 244 Apple deals in 2012.
This was Samsung’s holiday bananza as a brand. They had 360+ deals featured at more than 26 major retailers. We tend to think of them as Apple’s mobile device rival (only), but they make a variety of products, including TVs and appliances. Sears and Lowe’s had huge appliance sales, including refrigerators, during Black Friday 2012 with Samsung as the marquee brand with up to 40% off high quality home products. There were also more than 120 HDTV and/or Home Theatre deals with Samsung’s name on them, including this Samsung 50″ LED 1080p 60Hz HDTV (UN50EH5000) for $698 (was $998) from Walmart and this Samsung 51″ Slim Plasma 720p 600Hz HDTV (PN51E440) for under $500 at Sam’s Club. It was a good year to score a Samsung big screen as Amazon’s popular Lightening Deals were full of them as well.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without Disney products, would it? Whether it’s clothing, toys, video games, movies and music, or home items, the Disney brand is a favorite and if you can find a bargain, we’re going to notice. With more than 230 deals on Black Friday from 2 dozen different stores, we were happy to see some 50% deals like this Disney Princess Ultimate Kitchen from Target for $49.99 and the Disney Pixar Cars 2 2-Disc Combo Pack w/ Exclusive Lego Cars w/2 Bonus Disc (Blu-Ray) from Toys R Us for $14.99. Add 5% (or more) cash back from the Disney Store page on FatWallet and you were flirting with the lowest prices “ever” on some Disney products.
On the surface Microsoft would seem to be a lower profile brand pitted against the brands that had tons of deals and visibility in ads, but their 68 total deals were spread across 15+ different stores in our Black Friday Deal Finder and the Xbox deals and bundles alone amassed a staggering number of views and clicks. Shoppers could save up to 50% on a Windows or Office upgrade and smart shoppers scored a 250GB Xbox 360 w/ Forza Motorsport 4, The Elderscrolls V: Skyrim Download Token and Call of Duty: Black Ops for $249.99 from Gamestop and Sam’s Club offered members a Microsoft Xbox 360 Limited Edition 4GB Console w/ Kinect for less than $200. Shoppers also, millions of them, took advantage of increased holiday cash back on Microsoft products by shopping through the Microsoft store page on FatWallet.
We can’t mention Microsoft in our 2012 recap without Sony, and 2013 will be even more fun as they both introduce (for the first time in years) new game consoles (see our Video Games recap). Like the Xbox, they’re were an abundance of good Playstation bundles and deals in 2012 like this Sony PlayStation 3 250GB System w/ Uncharted & Infamous Collections & Wireless Controller Bundle from RadioShack for $219.99 (was $269.99). But Sony makes a variety electronics and computer products and out of 120+ total deals at 20+ different stores, this Sony 3D Blu-ray Player w/ WiFi for 40% off at Costco , and this Sony DSC-W620 14.1MP Digital Camera for $79 at Kmart really stood out.
This brand brought their “A” game with more than 200 advertised Black Friday deals in 2012 at more than 15 stores (perhaps these stores know something or subscribe to our Hot Deals forum where Nike deals often go viral). For the family that wears Nike clothing, there were good discounts on quality sportswear that made excellent holiday gifts. The Sports Authority offered 40% off Nike Mens Classic Fleece Apparel and 25% off a variety of Nike Apparel styles for kids and adults. And Dick’s Sporting Goods, Finishline, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Modell’s nd Beall’s all offered up to 30% Nike products. Olympia Sports offered a Buy 1 Get 1 for $2.99 deal on several Nike Fleece products (Reg. $42-55) and everal online shoes stores that do not traditionally publish ads (they’re online) had price reductions on Nike shoes including
Much like Sony and Samsung, LG is an electronics brand with huge awareness during the holidays. Black Friday shoppers look for LG deals when buying for themselves for home upgrades (vs. gift buying). In 2012, LG products were featured in 110+ deals at more than 16 different stores (Home Depot advertised 37 LG products deals in 2012). Some of the highlights included a LG 27″ Widescreen Flat-Panel LED HD Monitor (E2742V) for $199 (was $349) at Best Buy and this LG Optimus Logic smartphone for $39.99 at Walmart, which saved you $50 and would save you $40 purchased today. One big ticket LG sale that stood out was this Home Depot deal for a $1000 off LG 30.7-cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator (Stainless Steel).
Next to clothing, toys were the big deal for shear number of items on sale last year, and Fisher-Price was one of the most dominant brands. More than 220 deals were featured from more than a dozen stores (Toy R Us with 40 deals) and more than a few at 50% off, including both Fisher-Price Twirlin Whirlin Entertainer and Fisher-Price Dora Fiesta Favorites Kitchen Playset for $49.99 and both Kmart and Kohl’s offered the entire stock of Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn for 50% off.
We usually think of Craftsman as a stand alone brand for Sears, but there were a five other stores that carried them as Black Friday deals and here’s why they stood out last year. There were 404 Craftsman deals and 177 under $20, all guaranteed for life and a perfect quality holiday gift for the Mr. Fixit-Handyman-Gearhead, or upgrading tools for small business. The highlights included 50% off entire stock of Craftsmen Tools, Bolt-On Attachments, Drill Bit Sets and Versatrack Trackwalls at Sears, plus 25% of Power Lawn & Garden and Outdoor Storage. Kmart offered 50% off Craftsman cordless drills and Navy Exchange advertised a Craftsman 255-pc. Mechanics Tool Set w/ Universal Wrench Set and Case for under $150 (normally $300).
One of the more up-and-coming brands over the last few years has been Under Armour. Up until last year’s Black Friday, you usually paid close to full price for their sportswear. With 137 advertised deals from more than 15 stores, it was hard to miss their visibility in both the clothing and sports& outdoors deal categories. The 25% off discount from Sports Authority, Dick’s Sports and a few other stores, plus the Up to 40% off from Finishline, on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, definitely got us in the mood to work it out.

MAJOR RETAIL Predictions for 2013 Holiday

As is every year (notably since Best Buy and Walmart tried to take FatWallet to court…and lose), the big retailers have allowed their Black Friday Ads to leak in early November, exposing extreme deals and doorbuster prices on mostly the major brands’ products. This has pushed some of the mid-level brands to market themselves to the big retailers, gaining their placement in these heavily sought advertisements. Thus we’ve seen the rise of Lenovo, V-tech, Under Armour, Leapfrog and Razor (to name a few) as players in a space normally reserved for just a few big brands. With that said, Apple (especially if the new iPad Mini makes manufacturing deadlines), Samsung, Sony (PS4) and Microsoft (Xbox One) should dominate the media as the “have-to-have” tech gifts again this year. With clothing coming in as the #1 purchase for most Black Friday Shoppers the last few years, expect niche apparel brands like Diesel, Kate Spade, Jos A Bank and Columbia to keep making big strides w/timely online discounting.

SERIES Master List: “Best of Black Friday 2012”

FatWallet’s in-depth series reveals the top products and deals from last year…some you’ll wish you didn’t miss! Featuring expert deal reviews, shopping tips and predictions for 2013, series content is based on sales and shopping activity recorded from FatWallet’s Black Friday Deal Finder (and mobile app) in 2012 which featured 27,000+ deals and doorbusters, 100+ Black Friday ads, and the hot Thanksgiving Day Deals, as well as Cyber Monday Deals from last year.

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