DealNews 2010 Black Friday Predictions

Has it already been a year? With just over 100 days left until Christmas, we're kicking off the holidays at dealnews with our Black Friday deal predictions, compiled by myself with the help of our expert staff.

It's our third year predicting Black Friday's best deals, and we should tell you whether our predictions from last year were worth the electrons they were printed on. We're happy to report that our 2009 accuracy rate was 84%. (See last year's piece.)

Three quick clarifications before we start prognosticating. First, these are predictions of the best deals for the Black Friday season. They're the lowest of the lows, not averages. (See our Methodology section on the last page.) Second, some of these deals will involve mail-in rebates. However, the good news is that most won't. Best Buy, OfficeMax, and Walmart have long given up on mail-in rebates after numerous customer complaints. Third, we're predicting that these deals occur during "Black Friday Season," a dealnews euphemism for mid-November to Cyber Monday. On to the predictions.

For more great Black Friday coverage:


As we've said before, the best time to buy a new TV is usually around the holidays. That will hold true again, but the discounts won't be as steep this year as last year. Why? Many popular sizes are already at their floors, like 42" and even 46" LCD HDTVs. Also, retailers are being stingier with their discounts — 52" LCD HDTVs and 50" plasma HDTVs are actually more expensive now than they were last November. That's never happened before for HDTVs. But don't be discouraged! dealnews has identified which TVs will be much cheaper than last year.

Before we begin, let's get some conventional wisdom out of the way.

  1. Don't buy a 3D TV. There is virtually no 3D content, 3D glasses are an expensive nuisance, and it costs up to twice as much. (See our review of 3D TV.) Buying a TV now and upgrading to a 3D TV in two years or so will cost about the same as buying a 3D TV now. Plus, you'll have two TVs!
  2. Don't worry about whether you should buy a TV that streams Netflix or YouTube. A slew of new TV gadgets are either available (Roku) or coming (Google) that will do the same but cost $100 or less. Buy the best TV you can, and if it's missing this feature, add a cheap media streaming box.
  3. Experts advise you to buy the biggest TV you can afford. Penny pinchers look at such advice with skepticism, but in this case, the conventional wisdom is right. Have you ever heard a friend complain about his or her new TV being too large?
  4. You don't need to see a TV to judge its picture. The bright overhead flourescent lights at a Best Buy or Costco — and we've all seen those lousy, grainy signals those stores send to 20 TVs at once — make it nearly impossible to discern differences. Rely instead on reviews and your social networks.
  5. LED-Backlit LCD HDTVs are more expensive than standard LCD HDTVs. However, some LED models offer a superior picture (deeper blacks and truer colors) and thinness (down to 1"-thick). These benefits vary by model and manufacturer, so we suggest doing a little bit of research before jumping on a deal just because it's for an LED-backlit LCD HDTV.

Onto the predictions. There will be plenty of HDTVs on sale, but the best bang for your buck will be a budget 55" 1080p LCD TV. Prices are down 25% from one year ago. In fact, 55" LCD HDTVs are now cheaper than 52" LCD HDTVs, and have been since May. Expect to see a 55" 1080p LCD TV for $799. It should have a 120Hz or 240Hz refresh rate (useful for sports) and come from a name-brand like LG, Toshiba, or Vizio. (It won't be from a Sony or Samsung, though ... expect those to cost more.)

How we did last year with 52" LCD HDTVs? We nailed it to the dollar. ;-) There was no prediction for 55", it was too new a size.

A budget alternative to 55" is the 46" or 47" 1080p LCD HDTV. We're predicting that you'll find one for $499, down 20% from one year ago. We've actually already seen this price once before, back in June. For 2010, we think that's the floor. And by the way, unlike last year, 120Hz or better is pretty much a standard nowadays. You'll find it for most 55" and 46" HDTVs.

How we did last year with 46" LCD HDTVs? Within 6% of prediction. ;-)

40" and 42" 1080p LCD HDTV prices are also on the floor. Expect to pay $399, a price we've already seen several times this summer. Retailers just aren't likely to drop prices much further.

How we did last year with 40-42" LCD HDTVs? Within 10% of prediction. :-/

If you can afford it — and fit it in your home — we recommend 55" LCD HDTVs over all other sizes. For 60% more money, you get 43% more screen than a 46" LCD HDTV, and pretty much every expert says that you should always buy a bigger TV than you'll think you'll need. (For comparison, 60" LCD HDTVs generally cost almost twice as much than 55", for a modest 19% gain in real estate.)

What about other TVs? 60" LCD HDTV deals are too rare to generate a prediction. 50" 1080p plasma HDTV prices have been higher than 2009's Black Friday prices all year long. (Ouch!) What about 32" 1080p LCD TVs? With few exceptions, they aren't much less than 42" 1080p LCD HDTVs, which are much bigger (72% more screen, in fact).

Before you buy a TV on Black Friday, consider this: for the last three years in a row, the best time to buy a good TV wasn't on Black Friday. It was either in December (2007 & 2008) or January (2009). High-end, name-brand 55" LCD TVs were far more plentiful in December than in November. The general rule is, Black Friday is the best time of the year to buy no-name TVs. The following weeks are the best time to buy high-end TVs. You'll know it's a big deal when dealnews' own cheapskate editors bring out their wallets and start buying TVs ... keep an eye on our Twitter feeds to see what we buy.

Summary: Black Friday Predictions for HDTVs

  • 40"-42" 1080p LCD HDTV for $399
  • 46"-47" 1080p LCD HDTV for $499
  • 55" 1080p LCD HDTV for $799


Computers are always the big item around the holidays. Will this year be different because of the iPad? Yes, fewer people will buy laptops, opting for iPads instead. But laptop PCs will still be enormously popular gifts this holiday season for three reasons. First, there's still much that they do better than an iPad. Second, laptops are cheaper than the iPad. Third, people fear change. (Well, not you. Other people!)

The workhorse laptop PC changes specs every few years. This year, we're proclaiming the 15"-16" notebook PC with a dual core processor and at least 4GB of RAM to be our yardstick. This is a very standard laptop, the kind they'd give you at work, or you'd buy for around the house or to give to your parents or college-bound kid. It's good for all everyday tasks.

It's a funny thing, but prices for this spec of laptop have had incredibly little variance. In the past 16 months, the best deal for this type of computer has never been less than $399 or more than $450, and that includes last Black Friday. Folks, you read it here first: everyday laptop prices have bottomed out at $400. For this Black Friday, we predict a modest low of $379, a mere 5% drop over the prices we've seen for over a year.

Less well equipped notebooks — 3GB of RAM or less, with inferior processors — will hit $199. That might sound incredible, but that's only the same as last Black Friday.

How we did last year with our laptop prediction? For the cheapie, we were off by 20%, but in the wrong direction. :-( However, that's when we like being wrong ... predicting $249 and watching a $200 Black Friday laptop deal roll in. For the more advanced laptop, we got it exactly right, to the dollar. ;-)

A year ago, netbooks (tiny, cheap laptops) were still among the hottest systems around. Times have changed. The 10" netbook from this year is identical to the 10" netbook from last year, and it costs the same, too: $200. The fact that netbooks have had so little innovation in the last year tells you just how little margin there is in a netbook. No doubt the advent of the iPad has pushed netbook research funds into tablet research.

For the 10" netbook, the gold standard, we predict a slight drop in price for Black Friday, to $179, a modest 10% drop from the prices we see every month. That's right, you'll find a deal for a real laptop for not much more than a netbook. The age of the netbook is over.

How well did we predict 10" netbook prices last year? We almost nailed it, getting within 4%. ;-)

If you're shopping for an iPad or MacBook, we have a more extensive Apple predictions piece coming up. Shopping for a desktop PC? Sorry, there just aren't many deals on Black Friday anymore for those.

Summary: Black Friday Predictions for Laptop PCs

  • 15"-16" Laptop with Dual Core Processor & 4GB RAM for $379
  • Basic Laptop for $199
  • 10" Netbook for $179


As far as audio/video is concerned, Blu-ray disc players will again take a lead role in this year's Black Friday sale. Retailers and manufacturers have kept Blu-ray prices quite stable over the past eight months. In fact, Blu-ray is one of the few everyday technologies that hasn't seen a downward trend in price in 2010. However, a cheap Blu-ray player is a guaranteed draw for Black Friday. Expect to find a deal at $45.

A new type of Blu-ray player has emerged as a must-have item: Netflix-enabled Blu-ray players. Sure, Blu-ray players can also work with YouTube, Amazon Video on Demand, and a host of other video streaming services. But Netflix is the service people want most, and prices have dropped substantially this year compared to last year. For Black Friday season, we're predicting a price of $69.

How we did last year with Blu-ray players? We got within $4, which was within 8% of prediction. ;-)

As for Blu-ray movies themselves, retailers weren't nearly as aggressive last year as we expected. This year, we predict you'll find good titles from years past for $5 and relatively new releases for $10 around Black Friday. You'll also see Blu-ray movie and TV bundles — e.g., all the Rocky movies, an entire season of CSI — for $25. That's not a lot better than the best deals we see every month, however.

How we did last year with Blu-ray movies? We whiffed, predicting $5 and seeing $7 and up (off by 29%). :-(

We have one more prediction. Blu-ray players are gradually losing relevance as more and more people turn to streaming online video. The well-regarded Roku media streaming box was on sale for 50% off last Black Friday directly from Roku. We expect Roku to repeat its performance, with HD players from $49. Hopefully, Roku's web site won't crash and stay down like it did on Black Friday of 2009, earning a "jeer" in our Cheers & Jeers piece.

Summary: Black Friday Predictions for Blu-ray

  • Blu-ray player for $45
  • Blu-ray player with Netflix for $69
  • Blu-ray movies you actually want from $5
  • Roku HD box from $49


For the sixth year in a row, Apple will have its very own Black Friday sale. For the third year in a row, we expect to include Apple as a "jeer" in our Black Friday Cheers & Jeers summary. Why? Apple's Black Friday sale always has terrible prices that, at best, offset the cost of sales tax. Last year, Apple's prices were undercut by Amazon and MacMall, and we expect a similarly lackluster performance from Apple this year.

We should also point out that you're likely to see rumors that Apple's Black Friday sale will be fantastic. In both 2009 and 2008, major news outlets reported predictions of huge discounting during Apple's Black Friday sale. Both years, these predictions turned out to be complete rubbish.

Er, wait a second: you get huge national media attention for fabricated Apple predictions? We predict Black Friday iPads for $99! And Verizon iPhones for free!

So, what will you actually see on Black Friday from Apple? You'll see free shipping with no minimum from the Apple Store. (Normally a $49 minimum applies.) Apple's Black Friday sale, such as it is, will be in stores and online, so beat the crowds and skip going to Apple's retail stores. To score a real deal, look to Apple resellers like MacConnection, Amazon, and MacMall for about 5% off Mac prices and stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy for 10% off iPod prices (including Apple's latest, like the iPod nano with Multi-Touch). Expect no discounts on the iPad or iPhone from anyone, although you may see factory-refurbished models at substantial discounts from Apple's online store or from AT&T.

How we did last year with Apple? We nailed it, predicting Mac prices and most iPod prices within 5% accuracy. ;-)

While we're talking about computers, large capacity hard drives have fallen in price by about 33% since a year ago. We predict that this Black Friday will be a great time to buy that external hard drive you've been keeping your eye on. Expect to find 2TB USB 2.0 external hard drives for $74, which is under 4 cents per GB.

How we did last year with hard drives? We were off by less than $1, or 2%. ;-) We also made predictions on LCD monitors, getting within 7% accuracy for 24" and 10% for 22" LCDs. ;-) However, we have no predictions this year, because external monitors have waned in popularity.

Summary: Black Friday Predictions for Apple and hard drives

  • Free shipping no min at Apple Store online
  • The newest Apple iPods for 10% off
  • iMac and MacBook computers for 5% to 10% off
  • No deals on a new iPhone or iPad
  • 2TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive for $74


With mature offerings from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple, this is the first holiday season where eBook readers will step up to the forefront.

The new Kindle 3G is now sold at Target, Best Buy, and Amazon. The Nook is sold at Best Buy and Barnes & Noble. That means that you're likely to see deals on one or perhaps both of these popular eBook readers. Both Target and Best Buy commonly run 10% off coupons, although it's too soon to know if these eBook readers will be excluded from such promotions. Even so, we expect one of these retailers to offer a sale price during the Black Friday season. Expect to find the Kindle 3G for $169 and the Nook for $129. Also, we expect to see a deal on one or both of these eBook readers at list price but with a massive eBook credit (at least $50).

Your best bet to score a killer deal on an eBook reader is to get the recently discontinued Kindle 2 and find it factory-refurbished. We last saw it available in July for $110. We also saw a Woot deal for the Kindle 2. Don't be shocked to see another before the holidays end.

The Apple iPad may soon be sold at Target. Even so, we find it highly unlikely that you'll be able to order from and use one if its 10% off coupons. So, we predict no iPad deal for the holidays. Also, we should mention that there are dozens of off-brand eBook readers that will fight for the bottom of the market in terms of price. However, since most don't support the eBook stores of Amazon, B&N, or Apple, we don't recommend any of those as gifts. Oh, one last thing: Sony still makes eBook readers. So what, you say? Exactly.

Summary: Black Friday Predictions for eBook Readers

  • The Kindle 3 for $169
  • The Nook for $129
  • E-Reader bundles with at least $50 in eBooks
  • No deal on the iPad


It's no surprise that video game consoles are still hot gift items for the holidays. What is a surprise is just how long the current crop of consoles has been around:

  • The Nintendo Wii was introduced in 2006.
  • The Sony PlayStation 3 was introduced in 2006.
  • The Microsoft Xbox 360 was introduced 2005.

2005! Maybe that's why gaming console sales have slowed. How long ago was 2005? For comparison, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. The Steelers won the SuperBowl, the Spurs won the NBA Finals, the White Sox won the World Series, and no one won the Stanley Cup (labor dispute). A 19" LCD monitor for $300 was a good deal ($300 bags you a 27" LCD monitor now). So was a 250GB hard drive for $70 (which can now get you 1.5TB, which is 6x more). In 2005, writers continued to cite irrelevant historical factoids in a clichéd effort to add weight to how old something was.

Onto the predictions. The Nintendo Wii will be available for $99. That's a steep 50% off the current list price, but we've seen close prices once before.

The Sony PlayStation 3 is traditionally not steeply discounted for Black Friday. Expect to pay $249, which is only 8% less than last year's price.

The Xbox 360 is a bit more complex. A year ago, Microsoft had a version of the Xbox 360 without a hard drive, called the Xbox 360 Arcade. It cost $200. There's a new Xbox 360 Arcade available, now with a 4GB flash drive. It also costs $200. Last year, Walmart pioneered Black Friday gaming by selling the Xbox 360 Arcade with a $100 Walmart Gift Card for $200. Amazon did the same. We're predicting that the stars will align to recreate that same deal this year: the Xbox 360 Arcade (new hotness) for $200, with a $100 credit at a major store.

And what about the Xbox 360 with a real hard drive? The Xbox 360 with a hard drive was not discounted last Black Friday. In fact, it was more expensive last November than in preceding months. This year, we expect light discounting. Expect to find a deal for $199, a modest 5% drop from the best deals we've recently seen.

Summary: Black Friday Predictions for Video Game Consoles

  • Nintendo Wii for $99
  • Sony PlayStation 3 for $249
  • Microsoft Xbox 360 Arcade (new) + $100 gift card for $199
  • Microsoft Xbox 360 with Hard Drive for $199


We begin the end of our predictions with a few quickies:

Office Depot and Staples will offer free shipping with no minimum for Black Friday. (OfficeMax? As if!) Free shipping on a Sharpie is kind of a holiday tradition here at dealnews. Other online retailers are likely to team up with PayPal (and possibly Google Checkout) to offer special discounts.

Despite Black Friday's focus on tech items, those not looking for electronics won't be out of luck. Expect to see coupons for an extra 20% off at a large number of online stores. It's the most common Black Friday discount. For in-store purchases, see last year's Big List of Black Friday Printable Coupons, where we saw significant savings from Ace Hardware, Staples, Coach Factory Outlet, Victoria's Secret, and many more.

For high-end luxury retailers, wait until the second week of December when strong sales and coupons roll in from the likes of Kiehl's, Gucci, and others. Once again, one place you can ignore is The vast majority of Target's Black Friday deals are in stores only and not online.

Last year, we nailed most of our "in conclusion" predictions, including our office superstore predictions and our "soft goods" predictions. However, we predicted lots of $0 after rebate deals for Black Friday, and there were very few.

As usual, you can expect some very aggressive deals this Black Friday season. The bulk of them will be referenced in our special Black Friday deals section. The best advice I can give you is the same I gave you last year: Be choosy about when you buy.

Dan de Grandpre is the Editor-in-Chief of dealnews, consistently named one of the Best Black Friday Web Sites by PC World and PC Magazine, and a Top 100 Most Useful Sites on the Internet by MSN.

See our Methodology on the next page.


For its Black Friday predictions, dealnews uses up to two years of historical data based on deals listed on

To make a prediction, dealnews takes these measures:

  1. How much have prices fallen this year to date?
  2. How much did prices fall at this time last year?
  3. How much more did they fall on Black Friday last year?
  4. How much did they fall the preceding year?

Using that data, we extrapolate prices for this Black Friday by applying current trends to historical Black Friday price drops. In so doing, we correct for anomalies like outliers, floor effects, and disruptive new technologies that influence pricing trends. We also usually round to the nearest dollar amount ending in a "9" since retailers overwhelmingly do the same.


dealnews defines accuracy for its Black Friday Predictions of 2009 in the following manner:
  • The predicted price was within ±10% of the observed price
  • Predictions with no data are excluded (e.g., retailers had no notable desktop PC sales during Black Friday 2008, so the accuracy of dealnews' 2008 desktop PC prediction was not evaluated)


The data for this analysis is derived from "deals" that were previously listed on By definition, all deals on dealnews are price-checked, verified offers — "the lowest total price we've seen" — so the data used for dealnews' Black Friday predictions is based on low prices, not average prices.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


Leave a comment!

or Register