There isn’t much time left until Black Friday 2020 and many retailers have made clear that their upcoming holiday season will look quite different than years past. Walmart announced in July that they would be closed on Thanksgiving and that their Black Friday experience would be quite different this year. They clarified that information in October by announcing several details for their upcoming sales events. Amazon has hinted that they will host several holiday shopping events as well, but no specific information has been issued.
Black Friday typically follows very routine patterns from retailers, but the pandemic has changed all of them for 2020. Walmart and Amazon are two of the biggest retailers, especially when it comes to Black Friday savings and discounts, which makes 2020 a battle we won’t soon forget.
Walmart vs. Best Buy: Black Friday history
Black Friday has always been hotly contested between Walmart and Amazon. Over the last couple of years, the fighting has started as early as August, when both companies tend to focus on their upcoming toy sales for the holiday season. This year has been slightly different, thanks in large part to the pandemic.
Many of the hottest toys of the year are repeats from the 2019 holiday season and as a result, both Amazon and Walmart have very similar top picks when it comes to the limited toy offerings. Things were complicated even further by the pandemic when Amazon opted to not have Prime Day in July, as is tradition, instead putting it off until October. This led many retailers — Walmart included — to have sales taking place at the same time.
Walmart beat Amazon on their announcement for their Black Friday 2020 plans, and coincidentally decided to drop that information the morning of the last day of Prime Day.
A look back: Amazon Black Friday 2019
Amazon has always held strong Black Friday sales and 2019 was no exception. Amazon hosted low prices on Echo brand products, video games, smart home devices, kids’ toys and video games. Walmart has a large collection of toys available in stores, which makes it a hotly contested product between these two retailers when it comes to holiday savings. Both retailers went back and forth in 2019, slashing toy prices and constantly tripping over one another to offer the lowest price around.
Walmart doesn’t carry many Amazon brand products, which gave Amazon a huge lead last year, especially when it comes to smart home devices.
A look back: Walmart Black Friday 2019
Walmart’s two strongest categories in 2019 were video games and cellphones. Although Amazon did often try to match the retailer on both of these categories, it was really hard to top Walmart’s overall savings during the season. Walmart had a strong lead on video games thanks in large part to their offerings of several Nintendo Switch titles for only $30.
Walmart also dominated the cellphone savings, thanks in large part to offering the hottest phones attached to big discounts when activating new lines or starting new services. Walmart had huge offers when it came to attached gift card promotions for even bigger savings on phones.
Amazon and Walmart Black Friday 2020 predictions
These two retailers have already made it exceptionally clear that they have no problems battling it out over the holidays, even during a pandemic. Walmart choosing to release some of their Black Friday information on the last day of Prime Day was a significant warning shot to Amazon and we’re quite anxious to see just how Amazon will respond.
We predict that 2020, in terms of pricing and offers, will still manage to look similar to 2019. We predict that both retailers will become quite aggressive in regards to their toy pricing and we expect things to heat up in early November. Though toy selections are down overall for the year, we still predict that these two retailers will butt heads over toys as often as possible for the next six weeks. In the end, the only real winner will be anyone shopping for toys.
It’s also easy to predict that Walmart will have yet another stellar year of cellphone promotions and discounts. It’s been quite hard for other retailers to compete in this category, thanks largely to so many carriers offering their activations through Walmart. Walmart will more than likely dominate this category over Amazon.
We predict that Amazon will, in return, dominate the smart home category. Walmart doesn’t have the selection that Amazon has when it comes to items in the category and Amazon has already shown, via Prime Day, that they will continue to offer big savings on smart devices.
The category hardest to predict would be electronics, since both retailers have a large selection and traditionally offer great pricing. It’s also been a stellar year for video games, thanks to the pandemic, and we predict that both retailers will fight similarly on games as they do on toys. Either of these two categories could be won by either retailer.