Well, loyal readers, the party is over! After a week of pretty amazing deals, just about everything is now at holiday pricing – that means retailers have to make up for all the low margins of the past month. So we’re going to take a break for a while – we’ll be back mid-December with plenty of last-minute deals for you to take advantage of. In the meantime, we thought we’d provide a summary of what we saw (and didn’t see) during the Black Friday sales, because while it wasn’t all roses, there were definitely some diamonds in the rough!
The biggest trend for Black Friday was for retailers to basically sit it out. We track online retailers for the most part, and compared to 2013, most of the retailers we tracked simply didn’t have more than a couple serious deals. The one exception was Newegg, which went all-out as usual, and Amazon often price-matched it. So it was a two-horse show for most of the week. There were also some great game deals over at Electronic Arts/Origin, but as for TigerDirect, Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Best Buy, and many others we track, well, we’re looking at you. You got to pay to play, and while they talked a tough game, with plenty of loud and colorful ad copy, the deals just weren’t that good.
But let’s take stock of what you really could score a good deal on during 2014’s Black Friday week:
(1) SSDs and Hard Drives – fabulous, amazing deals all around – if you needed one, this was the time to buy (we did!).
(2) RAM – after a year of climbing prices, we saw RAM prices drop about 10-15% across the board. If you needed RAM, this was the time to buy it (again, we did!).
(3) Cases and Power Supplies – we found a few awesome deals that were definitely best of the year so far.
(4) The Xbox One – yes, the holiday deal was excellent, and yes, Microsoft actually took the holiday lead over the PS4 due to the excellent pricing.
(5) CPUs and Motherboards – wow, if you wanted to build a new system, this was the best Black Friday in recent memory for across-the-board cuts on AMD and Intel CPUs from $100 to $1,000, along with very serious discounts on motherboards.
(6) Monitors and Peripherals – there were some simply fabulous deals on the most popular monitors, keyboards, mice, speakers, and headsets. Definitely a good time to buy (we picked up a new mouse, by the way!).
(7) HDTVs – yes, this was a great market segment to be shopping in, and 4K TVs have arrived, you heard it here first! Congrats if you scored one, but if you bought a new TV that wasn’t 4K, we bet you’ll be replacing it sooner than you think!
And as for what we wanted to see but didn’t, here you go:
(1) Video Cards – pathetic discounts, forget about any deals on Nvidia cards, and even the Radeon cards we were tracking weren’t any cheaper than they’d been all month, for the most part. The saving grace for AMD is that Radeons had already been discounted in the face of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970/980 launch, and that means it wasn’t a terrible time to buy, it just wasn’t any better than the previous month or so.
(2) Laptops – yes, there were a few good deals here and there, but this market segment has taken such a beating from tablets that it seemed vendors were waiting for consumers to realize that the $500 they were spending every year on a iPad should just be spent on a laptop, with or without a discount! That being said, we at TBG picked up yet another Asus Transformer Book T100 – why these weren’t being pushed harder by Microsoft and its retail partners, we just don’t know. Oh, maybe it’s that silly $1,000 Surface they’re trying to force on people…
All right, that’s it for now. We hope you found at least some of what you were looking for during Black Friday week…we’ll be back mid-December to catch you up on the best deals going into the final holiday stretch!