Where the Black Friday Deals Are

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A lot of ink has been spilled and a lot of pixels have been burned in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. In large part that’s due to major retailers announcing their promotional prices almost immediately after Halloween and even dribbling out Black Friday pricing on certain items over the four-week run-up to the big day itself.

Now that it’s finally here, what can consumers and retailers expect? Will the crowds be huge? Will consumers really be able to save a ton of money? Will consumers spend more than they did last year? Does anybody know anything?

According to a new survey from Gallup, the average American consumer plans to spend $752 on gifts this holiday season. That’s nearly $80 less than last year’s average and within a dollar of the spending average since 2010, the first year following the Great Recession. Excluding consumers who plan to spend nothing this year (9%), Gallup expects average spending of $831.

Here are some of the Black Friday stories we’ve covered over the course of the past month. They may be useful for those of you who are looking for good deals either in-stores or online for everything from cars to toys.

Just over half of the average consumer’s Black Friday weekend budget is forecast to be spent online this year. Nearly 90% of Americans plan to shop online this weekend while 85% plan to shop in stores.

If you’re planning to hit the malls, you might want to visit those stores that are offering the largest overall average discounts. This year’s leader is Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) where discounts will average a whopping 63.4%. Online behemoth Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is near the bottom of the list. Discounts are expected to average just 24.7% at Amazon.

While many of us think of Black Friday as a day to shop for gifts, it is also the best day of the year to shop for a used car.

If a new TV or laptop or game console is on your wish list this year, Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) offers the best deals on electronics gear of any retailer. How about a 49-inch smart HDTV for just $200?

Video game controllers and games are always a gift-giving hit, and GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) has included some 300 items in its 12-page advertising brochure, including bundles for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has not only been promoting its Black Friday sales for weeks, the company is also kicking off its Cyber Monday sales at midnight on Black Friday. Competing with Amazon is hard work and Wal-Mart does not seem to be afraid to go after the online giant.

Even home improvement giants The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) and Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) have entered the Black Friday sweepstakes. Both stores are closed Thanksgiving day, but open early Friday with deals on hundreds of items from yard ornaments to tools.