Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. In 2021, people spent billions of dollars in shopping with an average annual increase of 3.5% in spending over 20 years.
One thing all those people haven’t yet realized: they don’t actually have to wait for November to find deals. On average, big retailers offer a modest 10-20% discount on the majority of their stock and the listed discounted prices can sometimes be inflated by deceiving cost comparisons.
Once upon a time, Black Friday was truly a day to save big. These days, Black Friday is just a day that companies spend more on advertising. Beyond that disappointing truth, it promotes overconsumption which has a highly negative impact on the environment and contributes significantly to e-waste.
We don’t blame people for wanting to save though – especially not on expensive devices like Apple iPhones, iPads and Macbooks.
Apple makes some of the best smartphones, tablets, laptops and smartwatches available today. While they aren’t the innovative giants they used to be while Steve Jobs was around, the iPhone does represent ~55% of smartphone sales in the US. And the M1 Macbook’s performance convinced tons of lifelong PC users to finally switch over to Mac too.
With Black Friday coming up, people will definitely be looking to find better deals on Apple devices than what’s offered year-round. But let’s really take a look at our options and get to the bottom of how you can actually save big this year.
Let’s just rip the band-aid off: Apple never promotes any limited-time discounts on any of their devices.
You can expect the retail price of last year’s iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and Apple Watches to go down about 10% when the new models roll around. Otherwise, it’s unheard of for Apple to offer any deals – not even during Black Friday.
So we don’t have optimistic predictions for any 2022 Black Friday deals from Apple. We expect the same nothing we got in 2021 (and every year before that).
Now, of course, you can shop from big retailers who will usually discount old stock or overstocked items. But those are limited-supply offers, and they’re usually modest savings anyway.
In any case, buying an Apple device doesn’t mean having to buy a new Apple device. In fact, looking for secondhand devices is always preferable if you’re looking to save money.
No one knows exactly how Apple decides to price their items. In fact, ever since the $1000 Mac Stand, we’re not sure they know either.
One thing that’s certain is that their brand and marketing costs are built into their device prices. Which is why their phones are priced as if they were laptops.
Buying a device used significantly cuts some of those costs. The only problem is you can’t be certain about the quality of all used devices – some may be more used than others, after all.
The solution to this is buying a refurbished device instead. Refurbished items have been checked over by a certified professional and have had any worn-out parts repaired or replaced.
At the bottom of Apple’s website, you can find a link to their Certified Refurbished devices. All products there have been thoroughly tested (like all refurbished items are) and they include a 12-month warranty.
You can find many of their products for sale in refurbished condition, from Macs to Apple Pencils. If you really want to buy directly from Apple, this is the best option.
However, it’s not the absolute best option for buying a cheap Apple device. In our opinion, it’s nice that Apple has a trade-in and refurbishing program – but it’s still pretty expensive.
You can get the same high-quality refurbishing and genuine parts from authorized service providers elsewhere. And they don’t cost nearly as much. After all, a refurbished Apple device is only about 15% off compared to their new prices.
If you want to save even more, you need to check out refurbished marketplaces.
Everyone is familiar with websites like eBay and Craigslist, but the issue with those secondhand marketplaces is that there isn’t a guarantee on purchases.
With refurbished marketplaces, you get both an incredible deal and a guarantee that the item will work.
For example, Back Market has deals on all kinds of Apple items for as much as 30-70% off. Plus, you’re still getting a 12-month minimum warranty.
While these sorts of websites don’t technically participate in Black Friday deals, they have those kinds of offers available year-round. And in Back Market’s case, they do at least compile popular Apple deals in time for Black Friday.
While we’re on the subject, it’s worth clarifying the difference between used and refurbished. While both are second-hand conditions, they aren’t interchangeable.
Used items have been used. Obvious and simple enough. The part that makes it complicated is that there isn’t a standardized way to describe how much an item has been used. You’re basically left to make a purchase decision based on a few shabby pictures and lots of trust.
On the other hand, refurbished items are similarly used, but they’re then renewed. Parts are replaced if they’re worn out, any remaining damage is disclosed, and there’s typically always a warranty supplied to guarantee the item.
Stated even more simply:
- Used items are not refurbished, and they’re not always safe purchases.
- Refurbished items have been used, but they were then renewed; they are always safe purchases.
It’s now worth mentioning: you don’t have to buy the latest and greatest devices. Not from Apple, and not from any other brand.
Phones and laptops these days are incredibly good. Even tech enthusiasts are starting to comment on how true innovation and advancement is hitting a plateau.
Instead of just upgrading each year by default, you should ask yourself if doing so will actually improve your daily life. In most cases, we think there’s very little difference between one generation and the next.
Black Friday deals can be good if you’re willing to spend tons of money on bundled deals. Retailers also sometimes clear out stock which invites savings of 10-25% off.
Largely speaking though – and especially for Apple items – it’s not really worth waiting for November to buy new devices. It happens to be a good time to buy gifts for the Holiday season anyway. But you don’t necessarily have to wait until after Thanksgiving to get your Christmas shopping done.
Buying refurbished instead allows you to score Black Friday deals every day of the year. You’re still getting very capable devices, they’re just at a huge discount. To reiterate, Back Market has discounts of 30-70% off – that’s at least twice as much as Apple’s 15%, and it still beats typical retailer discounts whenever they do happen.
We can all admit it’s fun to shop on Black Friday. But it’s also bad for the environment, and it’s usually bad for your wallet too. We think everyone should at least consider looking at refurbished options. It’s a better alternative to new – and the best way to ensure you’re getting the greatest deal possible on expensive devices.
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