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Televisions are among a handful of consumer goods and services that have fallen in price over the past year—which may translate into significant discounts for shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
What’s more, 38% of shoppers say they are likely to buy a TV during the week of Thanksgiving, including Cyber Monday, according to a recent survey by the Consumer Technology Association.
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“Those lucky enough to be in the market for TVs will find great deals right now,” said Rick Kowalski, director of industry analytics and business intelligence at the association.
Average TV prices fell nearly 17% in October 2022 compared to the same month in 2021, according to the Consumer Price Index.
They are outliers at a time when stubbornly high inflation has driven up prices of a broad basket of consumer goods. For comparison, index increased by 7.7% in October compared to the previous year. — which is off recent highs but still hovering near unseen levels since the early 1980s.
Televisions (and consumer electronics in general) generally get cheaper over time as technology improves. And greater ownership of smart TVs allows manufacturers to track consumer data and then sell it to advertisers, which also offsets some costs, said Andrea Woroch, a consumer savings expert.
However, prices began to rise month-to-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 was in short supplyand wider supply chains were clogged as the global economy began to reopen, limiting the flow of goods to retailers.
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By August 2021, this supply-demand imbalance had pushed average TV prices up 13% for the year and 3% in that month alone, according to the Consumer Price Index.
But prices are falling again. Manufacturers have ramped up production to all-time 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 clear excess inventory, he added. And households that bought TVs earlier in the pandemic may not see much need to buy again, reducing potential demand.
Retailers have long used television deals to attract customers on Black Friday — the Friday after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Consumers often wait to buy big-ticket tech items until then, Kowalski said.
The deals may continue through the December holiday season, but it’s not a guarantee, experts said.
“Televisions are usually one of the items I would recommend buying if you’re shopping for a new TV or buying one as a gift,” Woroch said. “It doesn’t mean that every TV is going to have the best deal you’re going to get all year.”
Plus TVs discounted on Black Friday may not be the best of the best — These are usually basic kits and may not have the features you want.
Some of the Black Friday deals from retailers like Best Buy were mind-blowing, especially on some big-name brands, said DealNews consumer analyst Julie Ramhold.
Some of the best she’s seen among big-name brands: a 75-inch Samsung for $580, a 70-inch LG for $550, and a 32-inch Toshiba for $80 that comes with the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot. On its own, it has seen the 40-inch Hisense sell for $100 — a price point not seen by any manufacturer for a 40-inch TV since 2018, Ramhold said.
That said, there are plenty of other sets that sell for more than $1,000, depending on the make and model, she added.
Woroch recommends comparison shopping using sites like DealNews and BlackFriday.com or the PriceBlink web browser plug-in. Consumers can also search for coupon codes or cash back on sites like CouponCabin, she said.
One thing to watch for, experts said: Retailers sometimes sell a special one-day model of a TV on Black Friday to offer a sale — but that special model often includes components or features that are missing from its traditional cousin. Consumers should check the model number, read reviews and, if shopping in person, ask a store associate questions, Woroch said.
Consumers should probably skip the bargains 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 $300 75-inch set — 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 bring home a no-name set and shop again next Black Friday,” she said.