Everything is different in 2020 and that includes Holiday Shopping. Remember Black Friday — those miles-long lines and crowds turning check out counters into mosh-pits? This year the big sales have already started, people are shopping much earlier than normal — and spending a record amount on tech, toys, and “guilt-gifts.”
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) predicts people will spend the lionshare of their entire holiday budgets on gadgets this year. In its annual report, the CTA says Americans will shell out some $135 billion on smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles, stem-toys, TV’s, smart home devices, and wearables.
FILL EVERY ROOM WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC!
This is one of my all-around favorite gadgets of the year — it’s so simple and yet so awesome. The GE LED+ Speaker Bulb is a sunny, bright light and a bluetooth speaker combo. It’s the best “hack” I know to get full sound in every room for a fraction of the cost. Just pop-in the bulb, pair it with the bluetooth on your mobile device (it’s drop-dead simple) and let the music play! You can create holiday playlists, and connect in every room. The best part is that there are no extra wires, no Wi-Fi connections, and no complicated setup.
Savings Tips: It normally retails for $35 but I found it on Amazon for $26 — and the company told us that it will be 20% via Amazon November 11/23-12/6.
This is just one of GE’S “LED+ another feature” bulb series. Another one I love here is a bulb with a battery embedded right inside (around $17) — so the lights stay on, even when the power goes out! Genius!
BUYING A NEW SMARTPHONE?
New Smartphones top the list of tech trend gifts people say they want most. That’s no surprise since all the major handset makers just released the newest, fastest, and best smartphones to date.
This is good news for Samsung Galaxy Note lovers. Its newest Galaxy Note20 5G (starting at $1,000) blows me away. It has a super crisp sharp display, stunning array of cameras, all-day battery life, and lightning-fast processor. It really does work like a computer and games like a pro — and with the advanced S Pen — I LOVE THIS! — it’s a future-proof productivity powerhouse.
For the more budget-minded Samsung fans, the S20 Fan Edition offers all the fan fav’s like a smooth scrolling display, 5G, an AI-powered camera, and comes in a variety of colors including this holiday red — (for the starting price of just $250!)
Savings Tips: Samsung told us that people can save hundreds of dollars on both the Note20 5G and S20 FE 5G by doing a smartphone trade-in on Samsung.com. They also said people should check in often for special Black Friday discounts
Robot cleaners are another gadget flying off the shelves this holiday season. One top device here is this new BISSELL SpinWave Robot (normally $399, on sale here for $249) has two different modes — it can mop or vacuum — all from the same device, (but you do have to change the tank manually). In vacuum mode, it loosens, lifts and removes debris like crumbs, dust, and pet hair — then in wet-cleaning mode, rotating mop pads can scrub hard surfaces. I use the mop after the vacuum in my kitchen, bathroom, and any other waterproof area in need of that extra sparkle and shine.
Onboard sensors recognize stairs and other drop-offs so it doesn’t take a tumble. It runs for more than two hours on a single charge, and drives itself back to its home base. You can control and schedule it all through the Bissell app on your smartphone.
Savings Tips: It normally retails for $399, but the sales have already started, as I mentioned above. One more thing I like about this particular gadget? Every purchase supports Bissell’s Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets.
SHOP EARLY AND ONLINE!
Retailers like Best Buy are going all-in this year with the mantra “shop early and shop online!” A spokesperson told us that starting right after Thanksgiving — Sunday, Nov. 22 —nearly all of their Black Friday deals will be available on BestBuy.com. This includes includes laptops, which is the number-two most wanted gadget right behind smartphones this year.
One deal that already caught my eye? A brand new HP Pavilion 2-in-1 touch screen i5 laptop for just $500 — a savings of $250-bucks. This one has a 360-degree flip-and-fold design, 14-inch touch screen, and built-in HD webcam with a dual-array microphone. That makes it perfect for Zoom calls, streaming movies, playing games, and getting all your work done.
Best Buy says you can buy it online and use contactless curbside pickup and same-day delivery if you order by 1 p.m. local time. They also offer virtual appointments! Best Buy home experts do FREE personal shopping for people and give you all the inside scoop on the best gadgets to buy for teens, men, grandparents — everyone on your list!
MORE SAVINGS INSIGHT
Retailers call everything a “deal” — and we all know there are a ton of ways they get you: upsells, markups, aggressive price reductions on mediocre gear… it’s overwhelming to know if you’re really finding the best price available.
I use a site called Slickdeals. It works through the power of crowdsourcing to find, share and vote on the best deals every single day. The site and its apps have a dedicated Black Friday section with interactive ad scans, top bargains, news, and lots of insider advice from seasoned shoppers.
You can also set a deal alert — some Black Friday sales have already started — so if you’re looking for a specific product, set a Deal Alert and you’ll get notified when a deal that matches your specific criteria gets posted to the site.
***WAIT – READ THIS!***
We’ll post all of our favorite gadgets throughout the holidays. We don’t ever recommend anything we haven’t gone hands-on with ourselves! Our recommendations are always made entirely by our editorial team without input from our revenue team, and our writers and editors are never made aware of any business relationships. While we might make a very small affiliate commission if you buy through the links provided in this article, all comments are strictly editorial. We follow rigorous journalistic standards and ethics, and maintain editorial independence from any potential revenue.