After a dismal 2008 holiday shopping season, retailers are gearing up early with major Black Friday discount announcements. Best Buy is at the head of the pack with several steals.
Best Buy is selling a limited number of HP G60-507DX laptops, which typically retail for $549.99, for just $197 on Friday. The company is also trying to drive excitement with deals on Android smartphones, Sprint MiFi, Samsung products, and VIP contests.
"Best Buy is committed to continuing to offer a superior shopping experience during the holidays," said Josh Will, vice president of home theater at Best Buy. "While our stores are closed on Thanksgiving, bestbuy.com is open and our customers can be confident that they are getting some of the best prices in the industry this week and throughout the season."
Wireless Deals Galore
This holiday, Best Buy Mobile will offer five smartphones using the Google Android platform across three carrier networks for $99 each with a new two-year activation. They are the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment from Sprint, myTouch 3G and Cliq from T-Mobile, and the DROID ERIS by HTC from Verizon Wireless.
Palm won't be left out of the holiday spree at Best Buy. The electronics retailer also announced that the Palm Pre will sell for $79 on Friday and Saturday.
Best Buy is also offering the Sprint MiFi device free with a two-year contract on Friday and Saturday. The MiFi is a portable 3G device that lets consumers create a personal Wi-Fi cloud. With the MiFi, users can connect cell phones, laptops, portable music players, and other gadgets that offer wireless Internet connection capabilities.
"With the somewhat improved economy compared to where we were last year at this time, retailers are going all out to see if they can dislodge some of that discretionary cash from consumers' wallets, particularly money they thought they were entitled to last year that they didn't get," said Michael Gartenberg, a vice president at Interpret.
Saving on Samsung
Beyond wireless technologies, Best Buy is also offering Black Friday pricing on certain models of Samsung TVs. Best Buy is pushing itself as the destination for home-theater needs this holiday season and showcasing Samsung deals.
Through Nov. 28, Best Buy is offering deep discounts on Samsung TVs, including an entry-level 32-inch Samsung LCD at $397.99, a 40-inch Samsung 1080p at $597.99, and 50-inch Samsung plasma HDTV at $697.99.
But Best Buy isn't waiting until Black Friday to get the discounts under way. Starting online on Thursday and running in-store on Friday and Saturday, Best Buy also also is offering a Samsung 46-inch 1080p 120-Hz LCD HDTV for $999.99.
"A lot of retailers are focusing on price, and price is really the competitive factor here to drive consumers into the stores," Gartenberg said. "It's not clear that consumers are going to buy on price alone, but certainly many will be factoring price heavily into their decisions."
VIP Treatment at Best Buy
Best Buy is also crowning 25 Black Friday VIPs across the country. These VIPs will get an exclusive shopping experience. Rather than standing in line all night, these VIPs will have special access to the store on Black Friday.
Each of the Black Friday VIP winners and three special guests will receive a limousine ride to and from the designated Best Buy store, on-site pampering, prizes and early admittance into the store at 4:30 a.m. Winners also receive a $1,000 Best Buy gift card and an Insignia digital camcorder to document the Black Friday VIP experience.
"I think it's going to be a pretty good holiday season, certainly relative to last year. Consumers are going to be looking to spend, but they are going to be careful about where they spend and who gets their dollars," Gartenberg said. "That's going to make for a fairly competitive buying season. But at the end of the day I think we are going to see some clear winners."