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Cyber Monday is around the corner. Are there any deals left?

Black Friday starts early: Prepare to refresh your computer a lot


Cyber Monday is around the corner. Are there any deals left?

Jefferson Graham
Looking to score Black Friday deals? These apps can help.While Black Friday may look a little different this month, these services help find deep discounts at retail stores and online.Think of it this way: If you didn’t get around to shopping for stuff on Friday, and miss Saturday and Sunday, too, the sale continues on Monday.   Yes, Black Friday was yesterday, and according to Adobe, which tracks online sales, it will clock in as the biggest online sales holiday ever, and Adobe projects sales for “Cyber Monday,” will set records as well.  Adobe says some $5 billion was spent on Thanksgiving and that Black Friday sales tallied up $9 billion, up from $7.4 billion in 2019. It projects sales between $10.8 billion to $12.7 billion for Monday.You’ll recall that Cyber Monday initially began back in 2005. On Friday, we went to the stores, and on Monday, when we returned to work, we used the high-speed internet  at the office to complete our holiday shopping.  But in 2020, we’ve got high-speed internet at home, on our computers and mobile devices, and many of us are not in the office, thanks to the pandemic. So the whole idea of Cyber Monday doesn’t make that much sense anymore. “Because of COVID and the extension of in-store sales to online, there’s no difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday anymore,” said Greg Sterling, vice-president of market insights with online presence firm Uberall. “They’re now just bookends for an extended shopping weekend.”I’ve looked at the ads for Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Amazon and here’s the gist: The offers don’t look very different from what you saw on Friday.Never got around to upgrading your Amazon Echo speakers to the latest model? You can still get $30 off list price from Amazon. And I’m betting the retailer will still offer the same deal around Christmas as well. Need a good cheap TV? Target will sell you a 65-inch Roku branded TV for $279 on Monday, and Best Buy has a 55-inch TCL TV for $199. Both of those are excellent deals for TVs that were in the $400-$500 category just weeks ago. (And odds are, you’ll still be able to buy a cheap TV later in the week too.)Adobe projects discounts in the 10% to 20% range for most categories on Cyber Monday.Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, says consumers have been conditioned to expect great online deals on that day, so they’re ready to purchase then. “It’s also a time when many consumers finally sit down to shop, making it a major e-commerce day even in the era of ubiquitous internet access,” Schreiner said.We’ve already been shopping for days. So how can Adobe predict that Black Friday was and Cyber Monday will be the biggest ever?Chalk it up to volume. More people are buying online this year than ever, both because it was growing anyway, and because the stores have pushed more people to their websites. Concern about catching COVID in a crowded store has made this the year that online shopping finally came of age. However, some of the sales this weekend have been disappointing. Apple’s weekend offerings has $50 gift cards for old model iPhones (SE, 11 and XR), a more generous $100 card for old iPads (Pro and Mini) and a hefty $150 card for an older iMac. Nothing though on the heavily hyped new Mac laptops with the faster M1 chip or the new iPhone 12 series.Walmart offered the best-selling Apple AirPods Pro for $169, down from the usual $249 on Friday, but were sold out by mid-morning. However, $70 off the usual $399 price of the Apple Watch Series 6 was still being fulfilled at the same time. And Target promises $50 off the Series 6 Watch on Monday. Here’s hoping they’ll be in stock for you on Monday, as $50 off is nothing to sneeze at. Finally, today is “Small Business Saturday,” and as good as the deals may seem from Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Amazon and others, please don’t forget that your hometown retailers need all the help they can get. Try to buy at least one product this weekend locally. Your purchase helps pay rent, utilities and advertising costs, as well as salaries for employees. And yes, many of your local stores will be offering sales on Monday as well, and they have websites, too. Or, if you don’t feel like buying new, there’s always a refurb model. They’re usually cleaned, updated, and can save you a bundle. Our guide to refurbs here. In other tech news this week.  The 2020 Internet Grinch: Comcast. The nation’s largest cable operator announced data caps on its Xfinity users, effective Jan. 1, on previously exempt service areas – meaning once you hit that limit, you’ll have to pay more to use more. Residential subscribers in 14 states from West Virginia to Maine, plus the District of Columbia, will face surcharges of up to $100 for exceeding that limit.Mute that audio. A friendly reminder that if you’re not speaking on your video call, you really want to turn that audio off. A New Jersey school board member accidentally broadcast her bathroom break during a board meeting and resigned afterwards. Back to gifts: If you’re planning on sending them to family and friends, FedEx, UPS and the United Postal Service have some advice for you. Send them early to avoid delays. Online spending records are expected to topple every 24 hours, edging above $2 billion each day between Nov. 1 through Nov. 21, then growing to $3 billion a day up to Dec. 3. That’s the word from Adobe, which predicts people will send presents directly to 18% more people this year, increasing the pressure on delivery pipelines. This week’s Talking Tech podcastsTop Tech Turkeys of 2020. Google Photos, Mark Zuckerberg and Quibi top the list. So you want to buy a smart speaker? Let us run down the options. Why not buy a refurb? You’ll save a lot of money. Thanks to tech gadgets. I run down some of my favorites. Apple’s Black Friday sale. Not very exciting, me thinks. Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter

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