BLACK FRIDAY Smartphone deals get a new twist
Last year’s 2014 Black Friday ads featured a record 230 cell phone deals and even more deals on accessories. Many deals featured a free phone and/or in-store gift card if you opted in to a two-year contract. But the landscape of buying a smartphone or cell phone has changed.
Instead of offering low prices on the phones with a two-year contract — with the remaining cost of the phone cost seamlessly worked in to your monthly contract charges — we now “lease” phones, making for a more transparent monthly charge to buy the phone. Recently, Apple and now Samsung (CNET) announced direct lease/upgrade programs, forcing major carriers to respond with similar offers (see iPhone 6S Buying Guide). NOTE: T-Mobile’s JUMP! program has let customers upgrade since 2013 for an additional $10/month.
FatWallet.com 2015 Black Friday Predictions
2015 Black Friday iPhone deals and competitor smartphone deals will look a bit different this year, which will make them more difficult to compare with the past. That said, expect similar discounting from carriers on existing monthly lease plans, with current monthly charges for smartphone leasing dropping by 25% or more.
Big-box stores will lure customers in with huge door-buster gift cards (e.g., Best Buy is currently offering a free $200 Best Buy gift card with the purchase/activation of any smartphone from Verizon Wireless). Trade-in offers will see modest increases, hopefully besting this current Verizon offer of up to $400. Those looking for family plans (T-mobile currently has 4 lines for $140) and phone bundling leases (B1G1) will be pleased on Black Friday, and we may see some bundling of phones and tablets, too. Here’s a list of predictions to set an alert for:
Sprint iPhone Forever lease will drop to $5/month, and Verizon and AT&T will lower the iPhone 6S monthly lease to less than $20
Free SIM cards with the purchase of Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge
T-Mobile Family Plan for less than $100 (4-10GB lines)
Best Buy, Walmart and Target will offer $100 Gift Cards with the iPhone 6S
Previous generation smartphones will drop to their lowest prices ever
Black Friday shoppers should also be on the lookout for increased cash back from FatWallet. Current cash back rates vary from $37.50 to up to $125 per purchase from two dozen carriers. Plus, keep your eye on Amazon for cheap cell phone accessories throughout the holidays and eBay for some of the lowest prices available for unlocked smartphones.
Top 10 Smartphone Deals from Black Friday 2014:
Apple iPhone 6 16/64/128 GB with two-year contract
$99/$199/$299 with two-year contract (basically $100 off any model)
Best Buy (door-buster)
Samsung Galaxy S5 with two-year activation
$1 with two-year contract (AT&T/Sprint/Verizon)
Samsung Galaxy S5 Duo Deal
$68 off – $24 off each, plus two free SIM starter Kits (worth $100 each) with the Simple Choice Plan ($140 per month combined)
Moto X (Football Leather)
$150 off or free with two-year contract
LG G3 4G Blue Steel Cell Phone
$1 with two-year activation (AT&T/Sprint/Verizon)
HTC One M8 for Windows
$48 off $0 up front
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Black (Sprint/Verizon/AT&T)
Free + $50 Best Buy Gift Card (for Well-Qualified Buyers)
Sony Xperia Z3 (Black)
$48 off $0 up front
iPhone 5s 16GB (Sprint)
$1 with two-year contract
This series of 2015 Black Friday Predictions is a forecast for upcoming prices in the most popular holiday categories and reviews of the top stores, brands, products and deals from the 2014 holiday shopping season. All data is drawn from 2014 sales and shopping activity from FatWallet’s Black Friday Ads, which featured 45,000 deals, 5,700 door-busters, 10,000 deals less than $20 and more than 100 retailer ad flyers (including Thanksgiving sales events and 2014 Cyber Monday deals). Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for expert insights and additional data.
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