Getting the best deal on a new TV isn’t easy these days.
Many of the big-box stores that used to fight each other for our business have closed their doors forever. Worse yet, websites like BFAds aren’t scanning sale ads so now we have to get them from each retailer directly.
Finding the best deal requires either a lot of luck, or really good timing.
I spent over ten years working in a big-box electronics store, and I spent countless Saturdays setting up the sale for the following week. Over the years, I’ve noticed a pattern when you can find the best deals.
With that in mind…here are my insider tips to finding the best time to buy a new TV.
1. NFL Playoffs & Super Bowl Season
If you live in a football market, and your team makes the playoffs, that is absolutely the best time of the year to buy a new television!
You might think that it would be expensive to buy a new TV then because there would be so many people wanting to upgrade. But that’s not the case.
Especially if you’re looking for a new big-screen TV, it’s the best time to buy. Most manufacturers release new television models in early spring (see below). With the holidays long gone, most TV retailers take advantage of the Super Bowl season to clear their old stock.
The first quarter of every year is usually the slowest times for retail stores. Families just got hit with their holiday credit card bills, and they’re not spending as much.
Retailers look to the Super Bowl to try to capitalize on making big sales.
When I lived in Pittsburgh, the Steelers made a few deep playoff runs, including one trip to the Super Bowl. Although my company had great prices on TV’s around the country, our market got additional price cuts to get as many sales as they could!
2. Mid-November through Black Friday
Black Friday, or ‘the day after Thanksgiving’ if you live outside the US, is the next best time to buy a TV, if you’re looking for the best deal.
This is the time of the year when most retailers compete aggressively. That means prices can shift drastically as different stores react to their competitors’ pricing.
Black Friday deals are famous because you’ll often find $200 laptops or $300 big-screen TV’s. Retailers call these ‘doorbusters’ or ‘loss-leaders’ to try to get you in the door and spend more money.
However, it’s not necessarily that one day that you need to watch for.
Most retailers will run their Black Friday ad from Thursday through Sunday, and release a new ad for Cyber Monday (more on that later). But often they’ll bring out even better deals around the first week of November!
If you think about it, it kind of makes sense.
Shoppers are waiting for Black Friday, especially for big purchases. So they often do all their window shopping and research beforehand. There won’t be as many people actually purchasing leading up to Black Friday, so retailers want to capitalize on the shoppers they do have.
3. Late-May through Father’s Day (Dads & Grads)
When I was in retail, we called the time between college graduations and Father’s Day as ‘Dad’s & Grads.’ Whether it’s a gift for dad, or dad wanting to treat himself, it’s a great time to buy a new TV, or a new laptop.
Prices are normally more aggressive than usual around this time. I can confess to buying my dad a few TV’s for Father’s Day over the years. This is when most people plan to get gifts for their dad, and some retailers capitalize on it by offering great deals on television.
Retailers also expect to get increased sales from recent grads getting their first ‘real job’, or as a graduation present. Usually, graduation sales are focused on smaller, dorm-room sized TV’s. However, there’s always a couple of larger TV’s on sale as well.
4. The New TV Release Cycle
This is the hardest one to nail down, because each manufacturer has a different release schedule for their new models. Most new televisions are announced in January at CES Las Vegas, and hit the market later in the year.
Even if you’re not looking for the latest, cutting-edge television technology, it’s the best time to buy last year’s TV. Retailers will take huge price cuts on older models in order to make room for the new televisions.
Remember, TV’s usually don’t change much from year to year unless a completely new model comes out. Most models are very similar, with only slight modifications.
It’s a good idea to follow CES, or the Consumer Electronics Show. As I said, most manufacturers will announce new models then. I like to pick one model from each manufacturer, and set up a Google Alert to email me as soon as it’s mentioned on the web.
That ensures that I’ve got my eyes open whenever it hits my local retailer.
Immediately before the new model comes out, expect to find huge discounts on the previous year’s model. Even if you don’t want to save money, you can often buy a lot more TV for the same amount of money.
New TV’s usually come out between March and May. It’s a great time to buy an older TV.
You have to be quick though. Retailers will have limited inventory and a lot of people will have the same idea as you.
5. Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday is the Monday that immediately follows Black Friday every year. It started as online retailers tried to capitalize on the popularity and extend that huge shopping weekend into the following week.
It gives shoppers who missed the Black Friday deals one more opportunity to get a great deal on different items, including televisions.
Often the deals won’t be as good as you’ll find on Black Friday. The key here is to pay attention to the items that didn’t sell as well on Friday and Saturday. Often retailers will try to take additional discounts in order to clear out their stock.
Unfortunately, this usually only applies to specific types of TVs, however. It’s very important to do your research as soon as the deals go live for whatever retailer you’re shopping with.
This is necessary because it ensures that you’re online before the sale goes live.
Remember that the best deals won’t be available for too long, so consider adding the TV you wish to buy to your cart before time. That will help you beat out other prospective customers for the limited inventory.
6. Between Christmas and mid-January
Although the deals aren’t as good as they are leading into Christmas, you’re still likely to see some pretty good discounts immediately after Christmas and into the beginning of January.
This is also the perfect time to buy an open-box TV. Returns are at their highest point of the entire year, and many retailers are eager to get them out of their stores. That means some great prices!
So, if you didn’t take advantage of the Black Friday deals, or you’re looking to spend your holiday cash on a TV, you can find great offers on different TV sizes.
Just keep in mind that most of the deals around this time will be on models expected to be discontinued the following year.
7. Beginning of Football Season Through Labor Day
I don’t know why other sports don’t have this affect on TV prices, but August is another great time if you’re planning to buy a TV. As the players hit the field, lots of fans decide that their old TV just isn’t cutting it anymore.
Additionally, many college students are preparing to go back to school and upgrade their apartments and dorm rooms. Retailers usually have great deals suited for student life, including reduced prices on small-sized screen TVs.
So, if you’re searching for a small TV for your guest room or children’s room, this is the perfect time to shop for a TV.
Labor Day is typically one of the slowest retail holidays, because most people are enjoying picnics and barbecues with friends. Retailers still put out an aggressive ad trying to woo customers into their stores.
8. Amazon Prime Day
If you’re looking for an Amazon product, including the FireTV-enabled televisions from Insignia and other manufacturers, Amazon Prime Day could be a great time to shop.
Prime Day is a yearly event that usually happens during the second or third week of July. When it started, not too many people were aware of it. However, Amazon Prime Day has become a perfect time to get great deals on a TV over the years.
Although the main discounts are on Amazon’s own products, you can find deals on hundreds of TV models from several manufacturers.
Expect to find significant savings on Amazon bundle deals such as the Amazon Fire Stick for streaming as well.
Although choosing the best time to buy a TV is a money-saving hack, how do you ensure you purchase the right quality set?
Browse our buyers’ guides blog to get insights on the best TV to look out for and other related TV news.