It was a hopping mad Black Friday that lasted through November and a couple of weeks into December. Since we have twelve years of experience in the business, and because it’s fun (honesty is the best policy isn’t it?) we thought we would tell you which retailers, in our opinion really did the holiday shopping season right, offering great Black Friday deals with plenty of time for you to get one. Of course, we have a stake in this because we’re affiliated with hundreds of retailers, large and small. But we’re also shoppers, and most everyone on our staff spent most of their holiday budget online this year.
Here are our top 10 sellers, in alphabetical order, who either met or exceeded our expectations this year.
Amazon – We expected big things and got them. They offered deals in many, many ways beginning early in November. As many as ten Daily Deals in their Gold Box, hundreds of Lightning Deals, and superb offers in every department we could think of started out with low price points, and they consistently dropped their prices to match or beat the best offers as they appeared at other sellers. In short, you could have done worse than do all of your holiday shopping there this year. They met their own lofty standards, then exceeded them by continuing the hot deals well into the third week of December.
BuyDig – Both at their own site and at eBay, this Edison, New Jersey based retailer featured some of the best electronics deals of the year. But where they truly excelled was in offering a number of shockingly hot HDTV deals. If you were looking for an LG or Samsung model, there was no better place to find it than here for much of the holiday shopping season.
Dell Home and Dell Small Business – Both of Dell’s sites offered some pretty spectacular deals. These included many of their own Inspiron, XPS, and Alienware laptop and desktop PCs, of course, but also some great deals on Bose headphones, fitness trackers and HDTVs. The downside was that their best offers lasted only for Black Friday weekend including Cyber Monday, then once more on Green Monday. In between, the prices were less enticing.
eBay – With their army of sellers from big (think Best Buy) to small (think some guy in his basement) no one has access to a larger variety than this gigantic clearinghouse. They used that power to offer a number of shockingly low HDTV prices, plus hot deals on everything from Christmas decorations to new and used tablets. They offered so many deals at their site that there were times when we had to choose which offers to post due to time constraints. That’s saying something.
Kohl’s – They only do it once per year, but they certainly go all out when that time comes. Not only did they offer their usual stackable coupon codes that allowed you to achieve multiple discounts (10% off cookware plus $15 off $50, for example), but also offered Kohl’s Cash for free with $50+ purchases that you could spend at their site or stores later on. Two things that kept them from being higher on our list were that both the coupons and cash promotions lasted for a relatively short period of time in November.
Lego – If you didn’t know they had a site, you may have missed some exceptional deals this Black Friday Season. From their architecture collection that features the Eiffel Tower, the White House, and other very cool monuments, to everything Lego Star Wars you could imagine, their prices were at or low the best we’d ever seen for more than a month.
Microsoft Store – Fantastic prices on the Surface Pro 3 and 4, dozens of excellent laptop deals, and especially Xbox One bundles at best of the web prices were ubiquitous there for more than 45 days. They started strong and never let up.
Sears – The Craftsman tools were obvious. They featured many of these at lowest of the year prices (we pay close attention to those around here.) But the surprise came in the form of big discounts on shoes, apparel and even a few excellent HDTV deals. The small “ding” on them is that their shipping threshold remained at $49 throughout the season.
Tanga – One of our favorite “small” retailers continued to offer their usual excellent prices on footwear, athletic clothing and other items. But during the big rush they also displayed some very nice deals on Beats Headphones, Bluetooth speakers and various other popular small electronics.
Walmart – In our opinion, no other store had more great deals, period. As they typically do, this giant featured fantastic deals on toys, furniture, fitness equipment, cookware, vacuums, and camping equipment. But this year they kicked things up considerably by finally entering the fray in the enormously competitive category of electronics. Roku players, HDTVs (especially Vizio and budget brand models like Sceptre) were part of their often exceptional daily offers. To make things even more inviting for shoppers, they also waived their usual $50 threshold to receive free shipping for most of the holiday season.