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Black Friday 2019: everything you need to know

Black Friday 2019: everything you need to know
(Image credit: Future)

You may think it's too soon to start counting down the days until Black Friday 2019, especially if your wallet took a beating during Amazon Prime Day, but when it comes to that next big (or small) tech purchase, you really should have Black Friday in mind.

The Black Friday sales are the world's biggest shopping event and they take place in just a few weeks' time. Black Friday will take over every US retail website and dominate every high street, with discounts on everything from TVs to headphones, toothbrushes to pet food. You name it, there'll be a Black Friday deal for it.

So, when is Black Friday 2019? What deals can you expect? And is it really worth the hype? Read on for our A-Z of Black Friday...

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday began in the US but in recent years has very much become a worldwide shopping phenomena. It's regarded (and backed up by stats) as the busiest shopping day of the year – both online and in-store – and officially kicks off the holiday season.

Why is it called Black Friday? The date was traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping season, when retailers hoped to move out of the "red" (loss) and in to the "black" (profit), hence Black Friday. 

The term 'Cyber Monday', meanwhile, was coined by Scott Silverman and the National Retail Federation's Ellen Davis in a bid to encourage people to take their shopping online during the Black Friday event. That was back in 2005, when people needed such encouragement! It's always the Monday after Black Friday (this year Monday 2nd December).

Consumer electronics is unsurprisingly one of the most popular product categories, alongside groceries and clothing. Last year, the Amazon Echo Dot, Bose noise-cancelling headphones and Apple AirPods were among the best-selling tech products in the US.

The Black Friday shopping event shows no sign of slowing down either, with online and high-street retailers promising another year of big discounts on a wide range of products.

When is Black Friday 2019?

Black Friday always takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, which means this year it will fall on Friday 29th November. Most retailers will want to make the most of what will typically be the busiest 24 hours of the event, meaning we can expect deals going live at midnight and running until the end of the day.

How long will Black Friday last?

Well, Black Friday is 24 hours. And Cyber Monday is 24 hours. But like Amazon Prime Day and the January sales, these events always have preliminary and aftermath offers. For one, deals will run during the weekend sandwiched in the middle of the two days. And in the days and weeks building up to them, there will be plenty of 'pre-Black Friday' savings serenading the sites.

It's worth keeping an eye (or two) out in mid-November – and especially in the week of Black Friday. Last year, for example, Amazon dropped discounts on several Sonos speakers – including $90 off the Play:5 speaker, and $50 off both the Playbase soundbase and Playbar soundbar. Look out for Sonos One savings this year. The Amazon Black Friday sale is sure to start well before Black Friday. 

It's likely some deals, stock-dependant, will spill into the rest of the Cyber Monday week, too.

Are the Black Friday deals any good?

After the initial few years of excitement around Black Friday, we naturally moved to the apathy stage, as people began to question whether the offers were genuinely good deals. And it remains up for debate.

For example, it's not unusual to see discounted products rise in price in the summer months ahead of a "price cut" come Black Friday; naturally this means you're essentially just getting the original discounted price from earlier in the year. That said, there are always genuine deals to be had – it's just finding them amongst the onslaught of offers. 

Luckily that's where our service will come in; we'll handpick the best TV, audio and AV deals across retailers to find the ones that are really worth your hard-earned cash.

We'd suggest having a rough idea of what you want in mind – whether that be noise-cancelling headphones under $100, a discounted 55in OLED TV or a portable, outdoor-friendly Bluetooth speaker – but restricting yourself only to specific models will reduce your chance of being lucky in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Pick the features you fancy, then see what ticks your boxes and has the best Black Friday discount. 

What Black Friday deals can you expect?

With Prime Day (and actually Black Friday 2018) still fresh in our minds, we can of course imagine the deals that will run across the weekend, not to mention the early Black Friday deals that begin in the days (weeks, even) building up to the actual date. And if previous years are anything to go by we can expect quality as well as quantity!

Last year we saw half-price Sony, Beats and AKG headphones, $250 off an Award-winning Denon AV receiver, a 50in Philips 4K TV for $399 and 30% off Amazon Echo and Fire devices. Similar deals appeared during this year's Amazon Prime Day too, so it's likely we'll see more of the same hefty discounts on similar popular products.

The Sonos One will be two years old come Black Friday, so could we finally see it slip under its best-ever price of $164? We'd eat an HDMI cable if Apple's AirPods weren't reduced, and OLED TV deals are bound to be plentiful. We could even see the ridiculous $799 price of a 55in Philips OLED TV of re-surface.

And expect all the big US retailers to be involved in Black Friday, with Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart all in on the action, as well as AV specialists such as Crutchfield and World Wide Stereo.

We will get the first hints of what to expect on Black Friday when the Black Friday ads drop. The big retailers take out newspaper adverts teasing the best deals, which are soon scanned and uploaded online. These ads and scans will be our first hint of the Black Friday deals to look out for.

Black Friday TV deals

A handful of Philips 4K LCD and OLED TVs – both big and small – have featured in the last few online shopping events, so we'd safely bet they will pop up for Black Friday 2019.

LG OLEDs are also regularly in the spotlight – we could see lowest-ever prices on the last of 2018 OLED stock, and the 2019 models will have been around long enough to be subject to some serious discounts too. 

Now that the likes of Hisense and TCL are competing with big-screen 4K TVs at dirt-cheap prices (we're talking 55in TVs for under $300), it's likely that rivalry will re-emerge. We expect anyone looking for such a telly will be rubbing their hands together come the end of November.

Can't wait? These are the best 4K TV deals available right now:

Samsung UN65NU6900 65-inch 4K TV $1000 $548 at Walmart

An entry-level 2018 4K TV with HDR, 4K upscaling and direct access to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and YouTube. Approaching serious screen size territory, this 65in is among the cheapest Samsung 4K TVs we've seen.View Deal

Black Friday headphone deals

Perhaps the most prolific tech category in Black Friday deals, headphones will feature in their thousands. There'll be everything from budget in-ears and on-ears to premium noise-cancellers and true wireless buds, from big brands such as Sony, Bose and Beats

If the stars align we could see the latest Apple AirPods down to as low as $140 with a wireless charging case – which would be $60 off! A lower price on the latest AirPods with the regular (non-wireless) charging case is likely, too.

Can't wait? These are the best headphones deals available right now:

Sony WH-XB700 Wireless Headphones $130 $99.99

Sony is top of the pile when it comes to noise-cancelling cans, making some of our favorite sets in recent years. While this particular model isn't one we've tested, Sony can usually be relied upon when it comes to quality, comfort and sound – and we welcome the $30 saving, too. View Deal

Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless headphones $249 $199

Thanks to a recent update, these wireless earbuds gained a practically-perfect five stars from this very publication. They're now $50 off and, with the kind of meaty bass and full-bodied sound that'll get you through the toughest of sessions at the gym, it helps to know they're also sweat- and water-resistant. View Deal

Black Friday hi-fi and audio deals

You'll see the odd great hi-fi deal on the likes of Amazon, but specialist retailers such as Crutchfield and World Wide Stereo getting in on the Black Friday action will probably be where it's at for the best hi-fi deals. We'd expect $20 off here, $50 off there and perhaps even hundreds off some pricier bits of kit.

Many recognisable brands will no doubt feature, and expect to see Award winners and five-star products across the speaker, stereo amplifier, soundbar and DAC board too. 

Can't wait? These are the best hi-fi deals available right now:

Sonos Play:1 wireless speaker $199 $149

Save $50 on the original little Sonos speaker. The Play:1 offers great sound, all the multi-room skills, and the ability to pair two speakers together. There's no voice assistant here, but that might be a good thing for some people...View Deal

Yamaha R-N303 network stereo receiver $350 $300

A budget stereo receiver with a full suite of features, including music streaming from Spotify, Tidal and Deezer, compatibility with Yamaha's MusicCast multi-room feature, and vinyl input.View Deal

Rega Planar 1 Plus turntable $595 $475

The perfect marriage of convenience and sound quality. The Planar 1 Plus is essentially the Rega Planar 1 turntable with the Rega Fono Mini A2D built in. Both are Award-winning products, so this deck's success comes as no surprise.View Deal

Black Friday home theater deals

Denon AVRX2400H AV receiver $849 $399

If you fancy a home theater receiver at the more affordable end of the price spectrum. A 7.2-channel receiver that supports HEOS wireless multi-room functionality and delivers Dolby Atmos and DTS:X multi-dimensional sound.View Deal

Onkyo TX-RZ630 AV receiver $899 $429

Another big AV receiver saving and this time on a 9.2-channel, networked device. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback, and allows streaming over AirPlay, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. There's also internet radio thrown in along with FlareConnect wireless multiroom plus Google Assistant voice control. View Deal

Bose Soundbar 700 3.1 soundbar and sub $1498 $1398

With built-in Amazon Alexa and both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections for music streaming, this Bose soundbar and subwoofer combo is a multi-media mogul. There's proprietary audio room calibration, HDMI ARC and coming soon is AirPlay 2.View Deal

Black Friday Sonos deals

Black Friday is not only a great time of the year to find a Sonos deal but one of the only times! The multi-room mogul has a bigger catalogue of speakers, soundbars and other audio products than ever, and we can predict deals across individual and bundle products. They'll likely be small savings – 10 per cent off here, 20 per cent off there – but any discount on Sonos kit is welcome.

Can't wait? These are the best Sonos deals available right now:

Sonos Play:1 wireless speaker $199 $149 at World Wide Stereo

Save $50 on the original little Sonos speaker. The Play:1 offers great sound, all the multi-room skills, and the ability to pair two speakers together. There's no voice assistant here, but that might be a good thing for some people...View Deal

Black Friday Apple deals

Almost as rare as Sonos deals: Apple deals. For Black Friday 2018 we had discounted iPhones, AirPods, iPads, MacBooks Apple Watch, and the HomePod, as well as free gift cards with some purchases. Naturally we're expecting more of that this year.

Can't wait? These are the best Apple deals available right now:

Apple AirPods wireless earbuds $159 $144

Technically and sonically better than before, the second generation AirPods offer unbeatable Bluetooth usability and decent sound quality. And now you can save $15.View Deal

Where to get the best Black Friday deals?

4K TVs, smart and Bluetooth speakers and wireless headphones will almost guaranteed be on offer at pretty much every electronics retailer, and those looking to buy into, or build upon, an Alexa ecosystem will surely be able to save money on a Fire streamer or tablet or Echo speaker.

The dominant names, such as Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart will always go big on games console bundles ahead of Christmas, and as OLED continues to be such a buzzword (and beginning to drop under $1000 in the key shopping sales) some cheap OLED TV deals are as sure as night follows day.

We're confident the specialist AV retailers such as Crutchfield and World Wide Stereo will deliver some hi-fi and home theater bargains – last year's What Hi-Fi? Award-winners are a good place to start when it comes to finding a price reduction.