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Black Friday 2021: The best and worst time to buy a smartphone

Black Friday 2021: The best and worst time to buy a smartphone

Black Friday 2021 will surely be an opportunity to buy a smartphone at a special price. However, one does have to ask the question, is it really the best time to pick up a new smartphone? The answer is Yes and No, and in some cases, it trends more toward No than Yes for that matter.

However, let me savor this particular moment first. Hmmmm, haaaaah! I'm inhaling the sweet smell of public debate and feeling the warm glow of the spotlight that I've been deprived of for so long. Yes, after weeks of exile, I'm back with a vengeance for another opinion piece and I can't wait to hear your little fingers typing frantically on the (virtual) keyboard to voice out your disagreement on your smartphone keyboard.

Let's talk about your smartphone, since it might be the occasion to replace it this year. That is, if you're planning to take advantage of one of the many available Black Friday 2021 promotions that we'll obviously select and fact-check for you. But, as always, you shouldn't blindly jump on the first good deal that comes along. To really make the most of your smartphone purchase, it's not just the price that counts, but also the timing. Let me explain.

Black Friday arrives at the right time after the flagship season ends

The date of Black Friday normally falls on the Friday after the last Thursday in November, and it is a particularly strategic one. Yes, in the first place, it is almost exactly one month before the year-end holidays and many digital shoppers take advantage of it to get their Christmas purchases in order.

But this date is also unique in the sense that it arrives at the end of the smartphone market season, after Techtember (September) and Techtober (October). At the end of November, all the flagships for the year have already been released regardless of whether it is by Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Google, or any other manufacturer. When it comes to the mid-range market, major launches have normally been locked in for the year as well when it comes to the likes of Redmi, Poco, OnePlus, or Realme.

At least, if you're still undecided about which model you want to buy, you'll have plenty of choice and, above all, you won't have to FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to a superior model since no other (important) smartphones are supposed to be launched on the market right after.

Black Friday is also the time when smartphone price drops experience a peak, outside of the legal sale periods that arrive later. For a smartphone that was released in early 2021, this is usually the most likely time for its first truly significant price drop. This is particularly true when it comes to Android smartphones, but it also holds true for iPhones, and even the iPhone 13 is not immune as we witnessed via very recently deals.

But then, it's all good, right? Why am I bothering you with my alarmist predictions ala Nostradamus 2.0? Well, without pretending to be as knowledgeable as a leaker, I know that a sales period like Black Friday, which is normally held at a pivotal moment in the calendar, can be a double-edged sword.

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It is pretty unlikely to see these smartphones on sale during Black Friday 2021. / © DrHitch / Shutterstock.com

Black Friday is too close to the 2022 winter sale

It's an undeniable fact that since Black Friday is not a legal sales period, which means retailers cannot sell at a loss to clear their inventory and therefore are unable to offer a 50% discount without inflating the price tag.

You know it, I know it, and most of the buyers don't seem to care anyway. Too bad for them! But the reason why this detail is interesting is that just a month and a half after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the 2022 winter sales are supposed to start. So why not wait until then, when merchants are able to legally offer real big discounts without having to 'cheat'?

Another element to take into consideration in terms of timing comes back to the FOMO issue mentioned above. Granted, Black Friday comes after the release of most major smartphones of the year. But by the end of November 2021, we'll be just over a month away from the launch of the next Samsung Galaxy S22, or even the OnePlus 10, and Xiaomi 12.

Yes, I know, by that count, we can wait forever since smartphones are released every month. But as we've seen before, the release of a new smartphone is a good time for discounts, especially during the pre-order phase with launch offers. For the Galaxy S21, Samsung offered a discount of up to $100 in exchange for your old smartphone, along with a pair of Buds Live and a SmartTag.

I doubt we'll find a similar deal during Black Friday unless we make a purchase from a third-party seller on the likes of Amazon, Fnac/Darty, or Rakuten marketplaces, which frankly aren't necessarily the best options. Ditto for the Pixel 6 and the excellent launch promotion that offered a pair of free Bose NHC 700 headphones.

Black friday singles day cyber monday
Black Friday discounts are not necessarily worth it / © Andrii Yalanskyi / Shutterstock.com

Promos just in time before the infamous shortage?

There has been a lot of talk about component shortages lately and the likely future tech product shortages would also result. In the US, supply chain issues are a big part of the national debate right now. But I don't think the tech media is being detailed enough about the subject.

I don't question the existence of component supply problems and disruptions that are related to production and logistics. In 2021, buying a PS5 or a Pixel 6 is as complicated as buying a pair of sneakers. But, we shouldn't let this scaremongering turn into blackmail to make a purchase decision, either.

We know where that kind of logic can lead, don't we? This is especially true since the consequences of supply chain disruptions will not have an obvious effect on the amount of discounts. On the contrary, as early as mid-October, Bloomberg was already worried about the negative consequences of this phenomenon on Black Friday 2021, warning these readers, "Don't count on this Black Friday for bargains."

So, should we buy or not?

As with any crisis, you will simply have to adapt and not shut yourself away in your little cocoon and wait for it to pass. The market will align and correct itself, following that where intentions as well as purchase decisions will follow.

Personally, I advise you not to be too optimistic about everything. If you're looking for promotions on a smartphone that was released in the second half of 2021, don't expect to find too many. For models released before that, I'd say you have a good chance since the bulk of the units have already been manufactured and shipped.

For a flagship handset, I'd suggest keeping an eye out for models from OnePlus, Samsung and Xiaomi, the most recent of which, the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, Galaxy S21/S21+/S21Ultra and Xiaomi Mi 11, where all of them were released in H1 2021. Last year's models are also potential candidates for discounts, especially the likes of the Galaxy S20 FE of which we've seen a lot of in promotions with its 5G version that is powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset.

When it comes to the mid-range market, I wouldn't buy a pre-2021 model simply for the issue of software updates. And, if I were you, I'd focus on mid-range "flagships" like the Redmi Note 10 Pro that costs less than $350, the OnePlus Nord 2, or the Galaxy A52s that retail for under $500.

In any case, the profitability of Black Friday smartphone deals will largely depend on your timing. NextPit will obviously be there to guide you and filter out fake deals on your behalf, but remember that during Black Friday, there are plenty of good deals to buy a smartphone that is on sale. But buying a smartphone on sale during Black Friday is not always a good plan.

It's on this note (I'm a black belt holder, so don't argue with me) that I conclude my rather bleak post. May all of your purchasing plans come to fruition!

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  • storm 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    For what's out there, I can wait 6 or so months for the newer wave of phones I find more interesting than is currently available given my current phone.