12 Ways This Year’s Black Friday Will Be Different
Life + Money

12 Ways This Year’s Black Friday Will Be Different

REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Black Friday will always be a frenzy of bargains. However, there are some elements that change with the times. Since we at dealnews feel that the best way to make the most of this epic shopping event is to be prepared, we've compiled this list of ways in which Black Friday 2012 will be different than previous years. Here's what you can expect.

1. Fewer People Are Buying TVs
When it comes to Black Friday sales, HDTVs lead the charge year after year. However, for current HDTV owners, there are few reasons to upgrade to a new set. In fact, many of the features touted by today's top HDTVs can be found in almost every consumer electronics device, from Blu-ray players togaming consoles. For instance, both Netflix and Amazon's Instant Video service can be streamed on a variety of devices, from tablets to an Xbox 360. With very few incentives to upgrade, TV sales will not be as high as previous years.

2. More Stores Will Offer Mobile Promotions
Mobile shopping is on the rise, and as a result, many stores now offer dedicated shopping apps, Twitter feeds, and Facebook pages where followers are rewarded with exclusive discounts and coupon codes. We expect the number of these promotions to rise this holiday season, with many retailers offering select discounts via their mobile and social platforms.

3. 4G Will Make Showrooming Easier
You do it. We do it. And by the looks of it, so does everyone else.Showrooming — the act of going to a brick-and-mortar store to test drive a product before purchasing it online for less — is on the rise. And thanks to the proliferation of speedy 4G technology, you can now compare those online prices much faster while you're in-store. This speed could help you save on site too, as some retailers like Best Buy will make an attempt to counter showrooming by price-matching deals found online via your smartphone.

4. The Smartphone Market Will Include 3 Major Players
Last year, iPhone and Android smartphones were the top players in the cell phone arena. This year, however, Microsoft is entering the fray with its line of Windows Phone 8 smartphones. And while we don't anticipate seeing any significant deals on the iPhone 5, we do expect another major Android sale this year from the likes of Amazon or Wirefly. Last year the former discounted the latest generations of Android smartphones down to a penny, with the purchase of a new contract. And with Microsoft in the picture, this year's sale may just include a few Windows Phone 8 handhelds — a viable alternative for consumers who are tired of the iOS vs. Android wars.

5. There's a New Gaming Console in Town
It's hard to believe that it has been over five years since we've seen a new major gaming console. But, this holiday season Nintendo is bringing theNintendo Wii U to the market. The console uses a tablet-like controller called the GamePad to interact with games and will launch on November 18, just days before Black Friday. Naturally, the Wii U console will be extremely difficult to obtain and we expect to see little to no dollar-off discounts on it, although we might see some bundle deals.

6. Shoppers Are More Likely to Use a Mobile Wallet App
Smartphones have quickly climbed their way to the top of the gadget hierarchy, replacing cameras, GPS units, and even portable gaming consoles. Pretty soon, they could also replace your wallet. Google Wallet, Square, and LevelUp are just a few smartphone apps designed to make payment transactions easier for consumers this Black Friday. In most cases, shoppers just scan the screen of a smartphone and payment for goods is deducted from a linked bank account.

7. Mainstream Tablets Are Finally Affordable ... But Deals Will Be Scarce
For the past few years, Apple's iPad has been the tablet of choice for most consumers. But with its $499 starting price (and scarcity of deals), it has kept a lot of consumers from becoming tablet owners. Enter theAmazon Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7. With a starting price of $199 a piece, these tablets have single-handedly turned the tablet market upside down. So much so that Apple released its own "entry-level" tablet, the iPad mini. However, in spite of their lower prices, Black Friday deals on all three tablets will remain rare with few discounts to be had.

8. Consumers Will Start Holiday Shopping Earlier
Every year, retailers look to kick-start the shopping season and get folks buying as early as possible. This year, we saw a Black Friday ad surface as early as September, and rumors abound that many brick-and-mortar stores will actually open their doors on Thanksgiving. Consequently, it's now a well-accepted fact that holiday deals will start early, and shoppers will begin seeking deals out even before Black Friday arrives. Black November, anyone?

9. We'll See Low Prices on Old iPhone Accessories
With the release of the iPhone 5, Apple discontinued its trusty 30-pin connector in favor of a new, smaller Lightning connector. While it allows for a slimmer design, the upgrade instantly makes iPhone accessories that use the old sync cable obsolete. As a result, this Black Friday we expect to see a fire sale on old iPhone accessories and docks. Fortunately, bargain hunters can also use their iPhone 5 with the older 30-pin connection, but will need an adapter to make the connection.

10. Social Gestures Might Spoil Holiday Surprises
In today's share-everything society, the chances of you (or a retailer) tweeting or posting on Facebook about your latest purchases are greater than ever before. And as a result of these sometimes-automatic social gestures, you're more likely to accidentally out someone's holiday gift too. To avoid spoiling the surprise, always be on the lookout for actions during and after checkout that might result in a retailer publishing a note about your purchase.

11. Retailers Will Stalk Consumers Like Never Before
Not a fan of overly aggressive sales clerks? Well, brace yourselves because this holiday season we are all bound to meet their digital counterpart — the retargeting ad. Say you spot a coat you like on a particular website, but after adding it to your cart, you decide you don't want to buy it after all. So on you move to a different website to catch up on your daily news and whatnot, when lo and behold, that same coat you just left in your shopping cart is now a banner ad appearing on every subsequent site you visit. We're anticipating this type of ad targeting to become more pervasive this holiday season, especially since consumers will likely visit multiple sites in a short time period.

12. Retailers Will Tie Early Ad Previews to Marketing Ploys
For the past two years, we've seen an increase in the number of retailers who offer partial Black Friday ad previews to shoppers that "Like" the store's Facebook page. This year, Lowe's has upped the ante by announcing that MyLowe's credit card holders will receive a "sneak peek" of the season's savings in early November. We expect to see more of this exclusive early access reserved for shoppers that are willing to commit to the brand in someway, whether it be socially or via program registration.

Despite these changes in the seasonal landscape, this Black Friday is expected to be bigger and better than years before. HDTVs will hit new lows, mainstream tablets will finally be affordable, and shoppers will have new methods of paying for their purchases via their smartphones. And you can still trust the staff at dealnews to bring you the best deals throughout the holiday season 24/7. So sit back and enjoy that turkey drumstick knowing that you're getting the best of Black Friday and Cyber Monday delivered straight to your screen, without even having to set foot inside a store.

Excited for Black Friday shopping? Check out dealnews.com's Black Friday page to find ads and other special features.