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Televisions are just a handful of consumer goods and services that have dropped in price over the past year, which could translate into steep discounts for shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Additionally, according to a recent survey by the Consumer Technology Association, 38% of shoppers say they are likely to buy a TV during the week of Thanksgiving, including Cyber Monday.
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“Those lucky enough to be in the market for a TV will find some excellent deals right now,” said Rick Kowalski, director of industry analytics and business intelligence at the association.
Because TV prices are falling due to rising inflation
Average TV prices fell nearly 17% in October 2022 compared to the same month in 2021, according to the Consumer Price Index.
They’re an outlier at a time when stubbornly high inflation has caused prices to soar for a large basket of consumer products. By comparison, the index was up 7.7% in October from a year ago, which is off recent highs but still hovers near levels not seen since the early 1980s.
TVs (and consumer electronics in general) generally get cheaper over time as technology improves. And increased ownership of smart TVs allows manufacturers to track consumer data and then sell it to advertisers, while also offsetting some costs, said Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert.
But prices started to climb month-on-month starting in early 2021. Demand for consumer electronics remained strong as households upgraded home entertainment during the pandemic. At the same time, computer chips were in short supply and wider supply chains were clogged as the global economy began to reopen, restricting the flow of goods to retailers.
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As of August 2021, the imbalance between supply and demand had caused average TV prices to rise 13% in a year and 3% that month alone, according to the consumer price index.
But prices are falling again. Manufacturers had ramped production to record highs to meet consumer demand and retailers now have a glut of TVs, Kowalski said.
The U.S. imported 46.5 million TVs in 2021, a record year and well above the roughly 40 million in a typical year, Kowalski said.
Retailers are cutting prices to eliminate excess inventory, he added. And households that bought TVs early in the pandemic may not see much of a need to buy again, reducing potential demand.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday TV deals
Retailers have long used TV deals to lure shoppers during Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Consumers often wait to buy big tech items until then, Kowalski said.
The deals may continue through the December holiday season, but that’s not a guarantee, experts said.
“TVs are generally one of those items I would recommend buying, whether you’re looking for a new TV or buying one as a gift,” Woroch said. “It doesn’t mean that every single TV is going to have the best deal you’re going to get all year.”
Plus, the TVs discounted on Black Friday may not be the best of the best — they’re typically entry-level sets and may not be packed with the features you want.
Some Black Friday deals from retailers like Best Buy have been jaw-dropping, especially for some well-known brands, said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.
Some of the best he’s seen among the big brands: a 75-inch Samsung for $580, a 70-inch LG for $550, and a 32-inch Toshiba for $80, which comes with a third-generation Amazon Echo Dot. Separately, he saw a 40-inch Hisense sell for $100, a price level not seen for any 40-inch TV maker since 2018, Ramhold said.
That said, there are plenty of other sets that sell for more than $1,000, depending on make and model, he added.
Woroch recommends comparison shopping using sites like DealNews and BlackFriday.com or the PriceBlink web browser plug-in. Consumers can also look for coupon codes or cash back on sites like CouponCabin, he said she.
One thing to watch out for, experts said: Retailers sometimes sell a special one-day Black Friday TV model to offer a closed-door sale, but that special model often has missing components or features compared to the its traditional cousin. Consumers should check the model number, read reviews and, if buying in person, ask questions of a store clerk, Woroch said.
Consumers should probably skip the deals from “no-name” brands on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Ramhold said.
“If it just doesn’t ring a bell for you or it’s ridiculously cheap — like a 75-inch set for $300 — I’d be wary of buying them,” Ramhold said. “Because you still get what you pay for.
“The last thing you want to do is take home an unnamed set and go shopping again next Black Friday,” she said.