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In-Store Only Black Friday Deals Are Dying Out

True doorbusters may soon go the way of the dinosaurs! There are half as many in-store only Black Friday ads this year.
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We've said for years that it's not worth shopping in-store because so many deals end up online. However, that advice has always come with a caveat: some deals will still be in-store only. If you want those true doorbusters, then you'll have to join the masses when doors open on Thanksgiving night.

But our data for Black Friday 2017 suggests that might be changing.

There Are Half as Many In-Store Only Deals This Year

Amazon has increasingly forced Black Friday to become an online holiday, and it's now commonplace for stores to denote both in-store and online deals in their ads. Since the DealNews team uploads each item individually from the Black Friday ads, we're able to tag every deal as in-store, online, or both.

In 2016, 10% of all Black Friday ads were labeled as in-store only. In 2017, however, that number has dropped to 5%.

We took a look at the top ads from the past several years and noticed a fascinating trend: this year, the number of in-store only deals has decreased. In 2016, 10% of all Black Friday ads were labeled as in-store only. In 2017, however, that number has dropped to 5%. That's a 50% drop year over year for in-store only deals.

Most stores follow this trend, but a few stand out as particularly noteworthy:

  • BJ's Wholesale Club:
    31% of ads were in-store only in 2016
    14% of ads were in-store only in 2017

  • Kohl's:
    7% of ads were in-store only in 2016
    .14% of ads were in-store only in 2017

  • Toys "R" Us:
    12% of ads were in-store only in 2016
    6% of ads were in-store only in 2017

A Few Big Black Friday Stores Remain Flat

That said, two heavyweights are notably tame when it comes to this trend. Target was mostly flat year over year, with only about 3% of ads being in-store only in 2016 and 2% in 2017. Meanwhile, Best Buy was 1% in 2016 and .4% in 2017.

SEE ALSO: Our Master List of EVERY 2017 Black Friday Ad Worth Buying This Week

Walmart, the other major player in Black Friday, has been vague for the past two years about which deals are available in-store and which are online. Instead, the store has opted to say, "Customers can access the majority of Walmart's Black Friday deals on Walmart.com." While that suggests some deals won't be available online, we can't quantify how many.

While some key stores have remained flat year over year, it's clear that Black Friday deals are moving away from in-store only limitations overall. That said, if you're interested in that 5% of deals — this Sharp 50" 4K LED LCD Roku Smart TV from Best Buy, for example — then you'll need to know when stores open. Click here to see our Black Friday store hours guide.

Excited for Black Friday deals? Consider subscribing to the DealNews Select newsletter to get a daily recap of all our best deals; you never know when a Black Friday price will be released! You can also download our app, visit the Black Friday Hub for the latest ads, or check out all our blog articles for more buying advice.


Director of Content Marketing

Lindsay Sakraida specializes in writing about retail trends and lifestyle subjects. She's also obsessed with music, movies, and tennis. Follow her on Twitter at @LinSakraida.
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).
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