Black Friday can be something of an unpredictable beast. Yes, we know that there will be bargains rapidly piling on top of each other as the day itself nears. However, exactly what products will get slapped with especially eye-catching price tags can remain a mystery.
Even the duration of the Black Friday shenanigans can be an enigma, with the sales seemingly starting earlier every year. What do memories of last year's Black Friday hint about the next one?
When Black Friday adverts should start appearing
Though it's still happening on the Friday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday 2018 will occupy 23 November on the calendar. That's unusually early by the annual standards, so it stands to reason that retailers will start breaking news of their Black Friday deals earlier, too.
That's a good heads-up considering when major stores started posting their Black Friday adverts last year. Logic suggests that the 2018 adverts will start surfacing during November's first week.
Not to be misled by pre-Black Friday sales
Last year, the united company of Office Depot & OfficeMax got some tongues wagging by launching a "pre-Black Friday" sale on October 29. However, this initially promising sale was ultimately found out; the deals weren't up to scratch compared to those typically emerging on Black Friday itself.
Hence, don't get your hopes up too much if you see a similarly-branded sale this year - even if that sale is launched by a retail giant like Amazon, which might be saving its best deals for a little later.
4K TVs have been well and truly caught by Black Friday's net
There's nothing usual about TV sets being slashed dramatically in price for Black Friday - but, last year, there was certainly surprise when the usual price discrepancy between 1080p TVs and higher-definition 4K TVs significantly narrowed in particular size categories.
At the respective prices of $159 and $160, a 43-inch Silo 4K TV and 49-inch Avera 4K TV were especially good value. Could prices of 4K TVs fall yet further in 2018?
Video game consoles usually attract better deals with age
Last Black Friday, you would have been hard-pressed to find an Xbox One X or Nintendo Switch at a bargain price. At that point, the Xbox One X had only recently been released and was packed with up-to-date technology, while the Switch was supply-constrained going into the sales period.
However, with both consoles now over a year old, we can expect a broader range of enticing deals on them. There could be some great Black Friday deals in store for the PlayStation 4 Pro, too.
The online sales could start as early as Monday, November 19
Remember what we said about the Black Friday promotions seemingly continuing to start earlier on a yearly basis? It could definitely be worth you keeping this in mind to avoid getting caught out - as, this year, the Monday before Thanksgiving could be the date on which major stores get into gear.
Don't even expect Black Friday sales to be limited to bricks-and-mortar stores this early - as, last year, Kohl's commenced its online sale on that magic Monday.
The best deals on Apple products are very unlikely to be at Apple retail stores
Given the commonly jaw-dropping expense of Apple products, you could understandably be holding off buying any until Black Friday is here. However, if you do pursue that strategy, don't visit an Apple retail store in search of Black Friday deals on Apple products.
For years, Apple has resisted wholeheartedly embracing Black Friday - leaving third-party resellers like B&H Photo Video and Best Buy the best sources of cut-price Apple gadgets on the day.
Amazon is generous and reliable with their Black Friday offerings
Unlike Apple products, gadgets with Amazon branding tend to be very financially attainable. However, this doesn't mean that we wouldn't appreciate a little extra financial relief on these items - and, last year, Amazon kept up a long tradition of providing exactly that on Black Friday.
There is good reason, then, to anticipate Amazon cutting the prices of several Echo speakers, Fire tablets and Kindle e-book readers for that day in 2018.
The mobile shopping revolution should continue its march
In 2017, shoppers' collective expenditure on items ordered through mobile devices on Black Friday totaled $2.11 billion. Mobile shoppers' financial outlay on the special day has increased over the years - and this trend suggests that mobile shopping will be even more popular this Black Friday.
It looks like those shoppers have definitely adopted a good tactic. After all, Amazon often reveals deals to its mobile users early, while other stores follow similar strategies via their own mobile apps.
This may help to explain why bricks-and-mortar stores were unexpectedly quiet last Black Friday, so you might not want to omit in-person shopping entirely.