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Black Friday season has officially begun

The first leaked ad is out. What kinds of bargains can Americans expect to get them to loosen their purse strings?

By MSN Money Partner Oct 14, 2011 1:29PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer at MSN Money.


Have they started playing Christmas carols in your store already?


Halloween is still two full weeks away, but retailers are already starting their full-court press for your holiday shopping dollars.


The first Black Friday ad -- from hardware chain Harbor Freight Tools -- was leaked to deal sites earlier this week, officially kicking off the start of what has now become Black Friday season on the Web, a period where the nation's largest retailers leak their post-Thanksgiving shopping ads to different sites to try and entice shoppers out to their stores on the traditional holiday shopping kickoff.


Black Friday, so named for its ability to push retailers' bottom line into the black (i.e., profit) has gotten bigger each of the past post-recession years as buyers have become more deal-conscious. How big? Almost 22 million people shopped post-turkey dinner last year, up from 10.3 million in 2005, according to the National Retail Federation.


This year, however, retail analysts are expecting a tougher sell, with only 44% of consumers saying they are likely to shop on Black Friday, down from 47% last year and 52% in 2009, according to a survey by Accenture.


Fantastic deals

One-quarter of shoppers say they plan to have a "thrifty" holiday season and 18% say they will just be focused on "necessities." Only high-income shoppers are expected to loosen the purse strings this year, boosting holiday sales a projected 2.4% from last year, according to the NRF.


"'Precision shoppers' will dominate," says Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture's retail practice. "They will be very targeted about where and what they buy, and will be more inclined to shop around for the best value."


In other words, retailers had better offer some fantastic deals on Black Friday or shoppers will take a pass and wait for stores to offer desperate last-minute bargains. Post continues after video.

What are shoppers coveting this year? Smartphones and tablets are expected to be among the hotter items. Retailers are shipping more of these items than PCs this year, according to The Economist., an offshoot of the BradsDeals site, expects big price drops on e-readers such as the Nook and Kindle, as well as bargains on Samsung's Galaxy Tab and other Android tablets. And this year 32-inch backlit LCD HDTVs should hit a new low at $200.


Here at Smart Spending we'll help you plot your holiday shopping strategy in coming weeks, alerting you to some of the hotter deals and some of the best incentives retailers are dangling via social media, the Web, and on your mobile phone.


What's on your list this year?


More on MSN Money:

Oct 14, 2011 3:56PM

Here is something to try.  We did it 3 years ago and have not looked back.


Stop the excessive gift spending/giving at Christmas.  3 years ago, our entire family (parents, brothers, sisters, kids) all decided enough was enough.  No more spending $700+ each year, running around for hours and hours on end, fighting malls, traffic... Just to give gifts that next year, we have completely forgotten about.


3 years ago we decided to take a "break" from this madness.  We limited our gifts to what could fit in our stockings and that was it.  Nothing else.  We laugh as we give gifts of "Tums" (to the older parents), socks, underwear, etc..  We turned Christmas from a literal $4000/year combined spending spree to under $150.  And things we could find at the dollar store, or in our everyday trips.


We still enjoy the time together, the dinner, the movie watching by the fireplace.  The only thing that is different that instead of hundreds of packages under the tree, we have our 8 stockings.


Screw big retail and their corporate GREED.  I don't need their overpriced trash to have a happy holidays.  

Oct 14, 2011 3:01PM

here we go again ,waisting money on buying latest greatest electronics from china rather than purchasing needy items,and supporting local buisnesses here in the USA! Ithought we were in financial debt trouble!

Oct 14, 2011 4:04PM
Christmas is not a contest to try to impress someone with the amount you spend on this psycho commercialist life the big corporations want you to lead. Have a nice meal and enjoy some people you know or are related to. Live debt free and don't be a slave to the system. The best folks will love you without spending and will just enjoy your company.
Oct 14, 2011 3:39PM
i dont think anyone should buy jack this holiday season because our leaders will take that as a sign that everything is all better now.Just remember , Debt is slavery!! The less debt you have the more freedom you have.Alot of these purchases you make will be in the garbage before you pay them off. Is it worth it.? The MAN Wants you to stay in debt ,So that you are willing to work  for the peanuts they want to pay!!
Oct 14, 2011 3:28PM

Compulsive shopping problem?


The gold, frankincense and myrrh were only given to Jesus. What are American's thinking? We can't live up to this expectation of Christmas so don't even try.


Help the hungry, cold and people needing shelter, forget about the greedy marketers.

Oct 14, 2011 4:57PM
Retailers have ruined christmas.  It' not a season anymore. It's no longer a fun time, it's annoying with 3 mo. of christmas carols ,unending ads , many of them aimed children. Ba humbug.
Oct 14, 2011 5:36PM
Before Halloween?  This is getting so freaking old.
Oct 14, 2011 6:24PM

I can barely stand the Christmas season anymore.  Pretty soon it will over run the 4th of July at the rate it is going.  As we all can see it has already taken over Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Oct 14, 2011 7:09PM
HA!  I got one up on the retailers and media because today I got my xmas shopping DONE.  Four presents for each of my 2 kids.  They don't need much, they get toys/books/handmedowns from family, we buy them their clothes, feed them, house them.  As much fun as it is to buy presents, I have to hold myself back cause I don't want demanding and ungrateful kids. ;)  Besides, the deals in December aren't going to be any better than they are now, and the selection will be worse!
Oct 14, 2011 4:21PM

"Leaked" ad, baloney, but I do love Harbor Freight.  I already know how much I have to spend on gifts so if stores want my money, make me a deal.  If not, I'll buy online.  I'm a bit claustrophobic in crowds so even Walmart can be a little unnerving when it's packed. 

Oct 14, 2011 7:16PM
what happened to the birth of JESUS in all this madness? My family celebrates Christmas with gift-giving but we know the real gift is our Savior.
Oct 14, 2011 9:27PM
Hey, since i can't afford to buy gifts for my family, friends, etc., I am going to bitch about how much this holiday sucks on
Oct 14, 2011 8:44PM
It is all planned out the ad leaks. If anything is advertised at a great price for black friday the stores usually get a very limited number of that item and only have 50 items for 400 people waiting in line for it. I do not wait in line usually within a couple of weeks you will find it for that price someplace. People get nasty standing in line on black friday. bad business for that store then usually will not shop at that store during the year either.
Oct 14, 2011 7:20PM
Everybody on this thread has said it best but Mormaniac, she will oneday find out junk from China will not make her kids llike her any better.
Oct 14, 2011 7:24PM
I've been refusing to partake in any of the commercialization of Christmas for a long time. Drove my wife nuts at first but now realizes how bastardize the holiday is now. 
Oct 14, 2011 7:05PM

Christmas is my favorite holiday and I have no intention to scale back this year or any foreseeable year to come. It simply makes me happy.Gift with a bow    I give from my heart and mostly adhere to my family's needs, not necessarily their wishes.  As for all of you who decry spending money on all of the foreign made (crappy)  products I respect your choices not to buy those.  However,  how many of you own a PC, an iPod, a Cell Phone,  an iPad, an E-Reader, dishware, clothing, home accessories, tennis shoes, regular shoes, furniture, light bulbs, any toys for young children or grandchildren?  The grand majority of these things are made overseas and many are very nice items.  How many of these items have you removed from your homes?  Personally. I can't really go out of my way to avoid these items. I'm sure they are here to stay.


In regard to becoming a slave to debt, that does not happen in our house unless you are saying I'm a slave for having a mortgage, insurance, property taxes, etc.  I carry zero balances on the 2 credit cards I have.  If I happen to make a purchase, I pay it off in full each cycle.  Mostly, I save.  I knew Christmas was coming and since last June I have been putting aside as much money as I possibly can. Dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, penny's and as much as I can from my paycheck.  Come Christmas, every present, the homemade candy, the complete dinner, meals for the out-of-towners, et al is paid in full.


I took a awhile here, but the point is, Christmas's need not be lavish, purchase a well needed gift or two for the loved ones.  Save as much money as you can during the year, it really adds up.  Leave ALL credit cards at home.  Buy only American if you wish but the most important thing is, for that ONE single day, tune out,  I Really mean that.  Tune out to the anger you may feel, tune out all of your worries.  Tune out everything EXCEPT, the love that you feel towards your loved ones and dearest friends, the joy of being together, the gratefulness for the food  that lay before you.  Savor the day ~~~

Oct 15, 2011 1:30PM
There's a site that not only has posted the Harbor Freight deal, but posts Black Friday ads from appx 100 stores and posts deals before, during and after Black Friday.  Check out
Oct 14, 2011 7:29PM

The real reason for the season is the Winter Solstice when the days start to get longer. It's been covered up by others for a millennia or more.

Oct 14, 2011 6:18PM

Thankfully my family does not celebrate Christmas. I don't have money to waste and we are expecting our first child a week after Christmas so if they have great deals on diapers then I will be there :o) I think this year Americans would make a great point if they did not participate in this brash consumerism-might make more a point than Occupy Wall Street.

Oct 14, 2011 5:52PM

What is all this bitching.  If you dont' want to buy your kids presents, then don't.  They probably don't deserve them.  Me - I'm going to buy my kids everything I can afford.  Judge me if you must, but it's the reason I work all year. To provide what I wasn't provided with.


Mormons rule the world.



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