WalletHub: Shopping insights for Black Friday, pitfalls to avoid

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 133 views 

Black Friday shopping and the week before and after have become some of the biggest shopping days of the winter holiday season. But with all the hype around Black Friday, pre-Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving Day shopping, it can be hard for consumers to know where and when to start.

WalletHub recently released noted the best bargains on average by store and category as well as cautions with respect to overpaying and knowing when it’s best to pay cash or charge the purchases.

WalletHub reports the two best department store retailers offering the biggest discounts on Black Friday this year are Belk and J.C. Penney. The two retailers average discounts are nearly 70%, according to the report. For this report, WalletHub surveyed nearly 7,000 deals from 35 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2018 Black Friday ads. Following are the top 10 best discounts by store.
• Belk: 68.9%
• J.C. Penney: 65.1%
• Stage: 62.1%
• Kohl’s: 60.8%
• New York & Co.: 54.5%
• Payless ShoeSource: 50.3%
• Dick’s Sporting Goods: 49.9%
• Macy’s: 48.7%
• Fred Meyer: 45.3%
• Sears: 42.9%

Target came in at 34.8%, Walmart at 29.9% and Amazon at 29.3%.

While a few retailers – Belk, Macy’s and Fred Meyer – increased the percentage discount from a year ago, the majority of them are offering lower discounts in 2018, according to the report.

WalletHub said consumers wanting to save the most money will have to shop multiple retailers because the discounts can vary greatly by category. In apparel the biggest discounts this year can be found at Meijer (63.4%), J.C. Penney (62.99%), Belk (62.86%), Stage (59.65%) or New York & Co. (54.52%).

In consumer electronics the biggest discounts can be found at Fred Meyer (51.96%), Academy Sports (46.28%), Staples (42.26%), Belk (41.32%) and Walmart (39.61%). For computers and phones, the biggest discounts are at Lenovo (40%), J.C. Penney (39%), Office Depot (38%), Target (37%) and Kohl’s (36%).

For toys, the biggest discounts are coming from Stage (56%), Belk (54%), J.C. Penney (47%), Jet.com (44%), and Mejier (44%). Other retailers like Walmart and Target will have larger toy selections but offer lower discounts.

The WalletHub report indicates the biggest Black Friday discounts will be on jewelry at an average of 68% off. Apparel and accessories are next at 47% off. Video games (software only) will average 43% less expensive on Black Friday. Toys are about 36% cheaper and computers and phones are roughly 31% less expensive on Black Friday.

‘GOOD DEALS’ AND GIFT CARDS
While there will be plenty of discounts on Black Friday, WalletHub said more than 10% of items promoted are still more expensive than the everyday price on Amazon. WalletHub said 100% of Black Friday promotions at Big Lots, Costco and Dick’s Sporting Goods are “good deals.” In other words the deals offer true savings over the Amazon prices at most times.

Roughly 97% of the Black Friday promotions at Sam’s Club, Target, Academy and Harbor Freight are pegged as “good deals.” About 88% of the promotions at Belk, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney are “good deals.” The retailers at the bottom of this list include: Walmart with 61% of the deals seen as “good” and Macy’s 53%.

WalletHub compared the most popular gift cards across five major categories: card popularity, discounts, value if sold, retailer popularity and shipping fees. WalletHub said its top ranking card is Disney which provides buyers an 18.97% discount and has a 79% resale value, this card ranks 11th overall for popularity. The iTunes card also carries a high resale value at 72.5% and ranks 5 in popularity and 11% average buyer discount.

The Visa gift card is another card ranking high for popularity at No. 2. This card carries no resale value and an average buyer discount of 28.7%. The most popular card is Amazon and it carries a resale value of 70%. The buyer discount is just 1% with the Amazon card.

Rounding out the top five gift cards for popularity is Walmart at No. 3 with an 87.43% resale value and a 1.7% average buyer discount. American Express is the fourth most popular with no resale value and a 5.95% average buyer discount. WalletHub ranks Hobby Lobby and Shell cards the lowest overall. But the least popular with consumers include Old Navy, Apple, Forever 21, Cinemark and Michaels.

The report also states Visa, MasterCard and Discover gift cards are sometimes purchased and given as gifts because they appear to be as good as cash. WalletHub said these cards are inferior to cash because the retailer makes money immediately when one of these cards is purchased. The cards carry additional charges for the buyer. WalletHub said if consumers want the versatility of cash, then give cash because it’s cheaper.

CREDIT VERSUS CASH
WalletHub said consumers will turn to credit again this holiday season in part because of added bonuses and discounts on purchases. That said, WalletHub reviewed more than 1,000 credit cards and came up with a short list of those offering the best perks this holiday shopping season.

On initial purchases, WalletHub said the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will give 50,000 bonus points when users spend $4,000 during the first three months. That is equal to $625 in travel or $500 credit against the bill.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa is offering 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. WalletHub said consumers can get into trouble if they don’t work to pay off the debt in the first 18 months.

The Amazon.com credit card is favored for online shopping. This card has no annual fee and users get a $50 sign-on bonus, Prime members get a $70 sign-on bonus. Amazon also gives reward points for every dollar spent.

The Kohl’s credit card was the highest ranked for a store card. New accounts will receive a 35% discount on their first purchase. Kohl’s gives another 15% discount when the card arrives in the mail. There is no annual fee.

WalletHub said most retailers don’t charge an annual fee and they all give initial discounts. The pitfalls can occur when retailers offer 0% financing for a certain term because the interest is deferred. WalletHub said this has the potential to make holiday purchases up to 27.5% more expensive than expected.

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