Black Friday shopping is one of America’s most treasured holiday traditions, but there’s always a bit of hassle involved. Traditionally, shoppers have to get up early, stand in endless lines at stores and try to find deals through hordes of other shoppers — all in the name of savings. Last year, in-person shopping was very limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time ever, the number of Americans who shopped online on Black Friday passed 100 million, while in-store shopping dropped by 37%. Businesses are largely open to full capacity this year, though, so we may see a resurgence in in-person shopping.
Black Friday sales have also been changing during the past few years. They are starting earlier, weeks ahead of the actual shopping holiday at some stores. That’s good news for consumers who want to stretch out their purchases over a longer period of time rather than buying everything in one day. So which stores offer the best discounts and for which items?
To answer that question and help consumers maximize their Black Friday savings, WalletHub surveyed nearly 5,000 deals from 21 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2021 Black Friday ad scans. Below, we’ve listed the stores offering the largest advertised discounts in various product categories such as “Jewelry” and “Appliances.”
Best Places to Shop on Black Friday
2021 Avg. % Discount by Retailer
2020 Avg. % Discount by Retailer
2019 Avg. % Discount by Retailer
2018 Avg. % Discount by Retailer
2017 Avg. % Discount by Retailer
2016 Avg. % Discount by Retailer
2015 Avg. % Discount by Retailer
|Office Depot and OfficeMax||42.8%||33.3%||36.6%||42.6%||34.5%||43.0%||42.8%|
|Academy Sports + Outdoors||26.3%||31.5%||31.8%||28.0%||N/A||N/A||N/A|
- The pie chart above displays the product categories in which discounts are more heavily concentrated, represented in percentage terms. The percentages do not represent average discounts.
- The bar graph above displays the average discount percentage for each product category.
Average Store Discounts by Product Category
Apparel & Accessories
Computers & Phones
Consumer Packaged Goods
|Academy Sports + Outdoors||29.40%||30.80%||32.03%||N/A||26.67%|
|Office Depot and OfficeMax||N/A||30.84%||N/A||N/A||N/A|
All Other Product Categories
|Academy Sports + Outdoors||15.75%||N/A||N/A||26.24%|
|Office Depot and OfficeMax||N/A||49.17%||N/A||N/A|
The savviest Black Friday shoppers can tell the good deals from the bad — and are likely to save the most money. We asked several experts to share some of their shopping smarts with budget-conscious consumers. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and thoughts on the following key questions:
- How can consumers distinguish between real Black Friday deals and marketing traps?
- How can consumers protect themselves from overspending on Black Friday?
- Which day do you believe people get the best deals: Black Friday, Cyber Monday or another day? Why?
- What are some tips for maximizing bargains on Black Friday?
- Which types of products are better to buy on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday?
Ask the Experts
In order to determine the retailers offering the most money-saving bargains this coming Black Friday, WalletHub surveyed nearly 5,000 deals from 21 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2021 Black Friday ad scans and calculated the average discount that each retailer plans to offer. The average discount was weighted based on the prediscounted price of the item in order to give more credit to the retailers discounting higher-ticket items. Our sample excludes deals that did not have calculable percentage markdowns.
We then organized the deals into 9 product categories such as “Apparel & Accessories,” “Consumer Electronics” and “Appliances.” When calculating the category averages, we took into account only the retailers that had at least five discounted items in that particular category.
For this report, we examined the following 21 retailers:
- Academy Sports + Outdoors
- Ace Hardware
- Best Buy
- Big Lots
- Dell Home
- Office Depot and OfficeMax
- Sam's Club
Amazon did not provide all the requested info for all their Black Friday deals. As a result, some deals could not be included in our calculations. A total of 253 deals were included.
This year, many retailers have opted to release several rounds of markdowns throughout the month of November, changing their Black Friday deals on a weekly basis. All Black Friday data collected for this analysis are current as of November 17, 2021.
Sources: Data used to conduct this study were collected from each retailer’s official website and BlackFriday.com.