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Everybody take a deep breath: Black Friday has come to an end. While there are still some Cyber Week sales to consider, and an onslaught of holiday promotions is on the horizon, we can at least close the book on Black Friday 2013. And as we do so, we've got some amusing tidbits from #BF2013 (Did you know that one of the hottest deals of the week was a towel?) and some major gripes to share. But first up, we crown the King of Black Friday 2013.
Deciding which retailer reigned supreme during Black Friday is difficult. If you had asked us what store was winning before the big event, we would have said Walmart; we analyzed the ads from all the major retailers (and within a variety of categories), and by far Walmart had the most standout deals.
And come Black Friday week, the deals did indeed show up — but on many occasions, our staff had issues with the website itself. We frequently saw messages about the site being busy, which likely resulted in delays in getting deals. Despite these e-commerce fumbles, Goldman Sachs declared Walmart to be one of the top three retailers for the week, noting that the store "drove the market" with its promotions. Moreover, before Black Friday was even over, Walmart announced that it had already sold a record-breaking number of items, so we agree that there's a strong case to be made for Walmart.
That said, when it comes to sheer volume of deals and top offers, no store can hold a candle to Amazon. A whopping 49% of Amazon's deals were Editors' Choice, compared to Walmart's 26%. Amazon also had almost three times as many offers overall. However, this staggering number of deals is partially due to the nature of Amazon's sales; the site released new promos roughly every 10 minutes, and many were valid for only a very brief period of time. That much-lauded $98 32" TV, for example, lasted for just a few moments before it was out of stock.
Additionally, a shout out is in order for Best Buy; typically the retailer is hot in the lead up to Black Friday, but this year its pre-Black Friday ads seemed a bit snoozy. However, come Tuesday and Wednesday of Black Friday week, Best Buy stole the show by releasing deals early — and by matching some of the hottest offers from other retailers' ads. This allowed shoppers to score, for example, hotly-anticipated gift card iPad deals up to two days early — without waiting in line on Thanksgiving. So, major snaps go to Best Buy for providing deals that kept us from standing outside. That said, if you weren't prepared to start your serious shopping that early, then you might have missed out. (Should Tuesday or Wednesday get a special holiday name now too? Teal Tuesday? Wicked Wednesday? Let's brainstorm some ideas in the comments section.)
One of the choice details from Walmart's "record-breaking" announcement was not the fact that the store sold 1.4 million tablets (although that's impressive), but rather the note that its most popular deal was... a towel that cost 29 cents. The store sold 2.8 million towels, and apparently people fought over them in multiple locations. The incidents even inspired a hashtag — #WalmartFights — so naturally it became a joke. (A sample tweet: "I saw that a hockey game broke out at Wal Mart [sic] again. #walmartfights.")
And while we firmly believe that it's extremely likely you won't get punched in the face on Black Friday (we've done in-person reconnaissance on the subject), there were still instances of aggression that made us do a double facepalm. For example, there was a stun gun fight at a mall in Philadelphia and a police officer was injured in a suburb of Los Angeles. Also, this Instagram video gave us anxiety despite being all of 15 seconds long. Let's all work on our manners before we do this again next year, shall we? It doesn't need to be this way.
Fittingly, all this talk about ridiculous behavior has lead us to our annual cheers and jeers list. Which retailers made the week awesome, and which just made the week more difficult? Check out our list below, and please voice your own props and grievances in the comments section. (You know, for posterity.)
Lastly, a big CHEERS to the DealNews staff! Our writers and editors worked long hours to find and research the best deals for you bargain-loving people. We hope you all found something you wanted this Black Friday.
Readers, who do you think won Black Friday? What was the best deal, and did we miss any major cheers or jeers? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to vote in our poll.