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Televisions are among several consumer goods and services that have fallen in price over the past year — which could translate into steep discounts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers.
What’s more, 38% of consumers say they will 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 TV market will now find great deals,” said Rick Kowalski, the association’s director of industry analysis and business intelligence.
Why are TV prices falling amid broader inflation?
According to the consumer price index, the average price of televisions fell by about 17% in October 2022 compared to the same month in 2021.
They are extreme at a time when stubbornly high inflation is driving up prices for a broad basket of consumer goods. By comparison, the index rose 7.7% in October from a year earlier – down from recent highs but still near levels not seen since the early 1980s.
Televisions (and consumer electronics more broadly) get cheaper over time as technology improves. Consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch says the greater ownership of smart TVs allows manufacturers to track consumer data and then sell it to advertisers, which offsets some costs.
But starting from the beginning of 2021, the prices started to rise from one month to another. Demand for consumer electronics remained strong during the pandemic as households upgraded home entertainment. At the same time, there was a shortage of computer chips, and as the global economy began to reopen, wider supply chains were clogged and the flow of goods to retailers was restricted.
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Through August 2021, this supply-demand imbalance pushed up average TV prices by 13% in the year to August 2021 and 3% in the same month, according to the consumer price index.
But prices are falling again. Manufacturers have ramped up production to historic highs to meet consumer demand — and retailers now have a glut of TVs, Kowalski said.
Kowalski said the U.S. imported 46.5 million TVs in 2021, a record year and up from about 40 million in a typical year.
He added that retailers are cutting prices to clear excess stock. During the pandemic, households that previously bought TVs may not see much need to buy again, reducing potential demand.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday TV deals
Retailers have long used TV deals to attract shoppers on Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Consumers often wait until then to buy big-ticket technology products, Kowalski said.
According to experts, the deals may continue during the December holiday season, but this is not a guarantee.
“TVs are usually one of the things I recommend shopping for if you’re in the market for a new TV or buying it as a gift,” says Woroch. “That doesn’t mean every TV is going to be the best deal you’ll get all year.”
Plus, Black Friday discounted TVs might not be the best of the best — they’re usually entry-level sets and might not come with the features you want.
DealNews consumer analyst Julie Ramhold said some Black Friday deals from retailers like Best Buy have been surprising, especially on some big-name brands.
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 that comes with the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot. Separately, it saw a 40-inch Hisense sell for $100 — a price level not seen by any manufacturer for a 40-inch TV since 2018, Ramhold said.
But there are plenty of other sets that sell for more than $1,000, depending on the make and model, he added.
Woroch recommends comparison shopping on sites like DealNews and BlackFriday.com or using the PriceBlink web browser plug-in. Consumers can also search for coupon codes or redeem cash back on sites like CouponCabin, he said.
Here’s something to watch out for, experts say: Retailers sometimes sell TVs for a special, one-day Black Friday sale, but that special model often lacks components or features compared to its traditional cousin. Consumers should check the model number, read reviews and ask a store employee questions if shopping in person, Woroch said.
Consumers should probably skip deals from “no-name” brands on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Ramhold said.
“If it doesn’t ring a bell for you, or if it’s ridiculously cheap — like a 75-inch set for $300 — I’d avoid 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 kit and have to shop again next Black Friday,” he said.