We Compiled The Deals for the Last 4 Black Fridays So You Know What Sales to Expect This Year

previous black friday deals

Let’s pretend that life is a movie for just a second, and you need to prepare yourself for the madness that is the most anticipated and heavily trafficked (in person and digital) shopping event of the year: Black Friday.

Consider this your training montage.

Just like a four-star general wouldn’t go to battle without a clear strategy, several back-up plans, and a thorough knowledge of the terrain and the enemy, we’re not going to let you wake up, blearily unlock your phone, and charge in blind on the 29th. Every year, retailers compete to have the most enticing deals and sales. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the deluge and panic-buy a bunch of stuff you don’t really need (or click on what looks like a good deal but isn’t).

The best way to weather Black Friday and emerge victorious is to have a clear goal (what you want) and a little insight into your opponent.

That’s where we come in.

We’ve been tracking Black Friday sales since the early days of Primer. And we’ve noticed that most retailers tend to pick a deal structure and stick with it. Companies plan out their Black Friday sales months in advance, and they’re probably not going to offer 35% off of full-price items one year and then 60% off clearance the next.

For example, Banana Republic has done some variation of “50% off” for the last 3 years.

We’re giving you the tactical advantage with our Black Friday comparison chart compiled from the deals we featured from 2015-2018, which should help you gauge what you can reasonably expect from your favorite brands.

How to Actually Get a Good Deal on Black Friday

Let's start with the number one, most important buying tip that always applies: Buying something you don't need just because it's on sale isn't a good deal.

Unlike a lot of sales throughout the year that come up unannounced, unless you follow retail industry trends, we know the year's best discounts are coming on the day after Thanksgiving. Knowing that, and armed with the information in the table below, you now have a full week to think about what you actually need so you can buy it for the cheapest price all year.

This is when many companies have deals without exclusions. So if there’s a large-ticket item that you know you’ll need in the next few months (like a suit), or there's a splurge purchase like a leather jacket, which are excluded from normal sales, jump on it now rather than paying more at a later date.

If you're like me, when you start poking around the Primer Black Friday gift guide that morning, you probably aren't mentally prepared to drop $250 on a leather jacket, so instead you buy a bunch of $10 pocket tees and a pair of jeans for 50% off.

But with a little bit of thinking ahead of time, it may make sense to finally pull the trigger on that suede trucker jacket if it's at an all-time low price.

How to Shop Tactically

Since Black Friday is one of the few annual promotions that retailers offer their highest discount or have no exclusions, that makes it the smart time to look at:

  • Higher quality brands / material compositions than you can normally afford
  • Outerwear
  • Sweaters
  • Leather
  • Suits
  • Higher quality secondary buys like premium underwear, socks, and ties
  • Nicer brands like Taylor Stitch that rarely do sales outside of BF

So think about what you need or have been wanting and use Black Friday to buy it at a cheaper price, or to buy a better version at a price you can afford.

If there’s one retailer that’s known for its dizzying array of special sales and pricing, it’s Amazon. We do a round-up every year, and can say the safe bet is you should think about upgrading accessories like watches and belts, as well as sneakers and outerwear. Of course, Amazon devices are going to be featured, and popular home gadgets like Sous vide machines, air fryers, Instapots, etc., frequently get industry-leading discounts.

Be sure to check back with us next week for our deals post–

We’ll keep you updated with the best sales and prices on tech, apparel, home goods, and more. You can head to Primer's homepage Black Friday morning for the full guide, or better yet, subscribe to our newsletter to get first dibs. Forewarned is forearmed!

This chart is based on the deals we tracked in the previous years. Cells with a “/” are missing because we chose not to feature that retailer in a particular year. Many sites have already started Black Friday promotions, but we've found the best deals still start on the day after Thanksgiving.

The Last 4 Years of Black Friday Promotions

RetailerBlack Friday 2018Black Friday 2017Black Friday 2016Black Friday 2015
Abercrombie & Fitch50% off everything + free shippingup to 50% off//
Aldo50% off sale items/50% off full price styles20% off full price styles
Alpha Industries/Up to 50% off//
Allen EdmondsExtra 20% off with code CYBER20Select models $199 + $50 off select boots50% off Black Friday styles50% off Black Friday styles
Allsaints30% off everything///
Amazon $25 Watches, $21 New Balances, $12 Flannels, $32 Levi’s 511 + Devices & MoreUp to 60% off (11/21-11/24)Extra 30% off select shoes, watches, and clothing30% off clothing, watches, jewelry and more
American Eagle//40% off + Free Shipping / All sweaters and flannels $2540% off holiday collection plus free blanket with purchase of $75
ASOS25% off everything with code EPIC2530% off everything//
Banana Republic50% off everything + free shipping50% off regular and sale items50% Off 5 Items / no exclusionsHalf off sweaters and 40% off the rest of your purchase – code: BRFRIDAY
Banana Republic Factory//50-70% off50-70% off
Best Made Co.25% off sitewide with code 25×24//
Birchbox//10% Off for everyone: 10FORALL / 15% off for subscribers: 15FORSUBS25% off order of $35 or more – code: BIGDEAL
Bonobos 35% off everything with code MONDAY25% off of an order of $150+ or 30% off of an order of $250+ in store and onlineUp to 30% off sitewide: TGIBFUp to 30% off sitewide
Brooklinen10% off $250+, 15% off $350+, 20% off $450+Spend $150 and get a free $35 scented candle of your choice.//
Brooks Brothers4 select shirts for $1994 select shirts for $1994 shirts for $1994 for $199 dress shirts + 30% off sweaters
Clarks 30% off select styles with code CYBER///
Club Monaco40% off sale with code CMCYBERMONDAY18, plus 25% off $150+, 30% off $250+, 35% off $400+25% off $150, 30% off $250, 35% off $400 with code SHOPFRIDAY25% off $150, 30% off $250, 35% off $400 with code THANKS25% off $150, 30% off $250, 35% off $400 with code THANKFUL
Cole Haan50% off everything, plus extra 10% off with code CYBER30% to 50% off select styles50% certain styles50% certain styles, 30% off everything else
Daniel Wellingtonfree strap with any watch + 50% off Dapper collection + 20% off sets///
Dockers//Up to 50% off sitewideUp to 60% off sitewide
DSTLD25% off storewide with code BLACKFRIDAY///
East Dane15% off $200+, 20% off $500+, 25% off $800+ with code MORE18Up to 70% off sale items and 30% off full-price items15% off $200+, 20% off $500+, 25% off $800+ with code GOBIG1615% off $250+, 20% off $500+, 25% off $1000 with code GOBIG15
Eddie Bauer50% off your purchase with code CYBER50///
Express50% off everything + free shipping50% off everything + free shipping50% off everything + free shipping50% off everything
Fjallraven20% off select styles///
Florsheim50% off select styles with code CYBM25% Off site-wide25% off sitewide – code: TGIVING1620% off sitewide – code: TGIVING15.
Frank and Oak50% off bestsellers, 30% off everything else with code CYBERMONDAY3030% off for Black Friday; 35% off for Cyber Monday/250+ styles 60% off
Finish Line20% off online orders + free shipping with code CYBER20///
FossilUp to 70% off sale styles for online orders only, 30% off full-priced styles with code CYBER30///
Gap50% off everything with code CYBER + extra 10% plus free shipping with code YOURS50% off everything with code BLKFRIDAY + extra 10% off with code JUST4YOU50% off with TGIF5050% off everything with code: EARLY
Gap Factory//50-70% off50-70% off everything
Grant StoneB Grades and Discontinued items up to 50% off retail.///
Grayers/30% off site wide//
Greats25% off with code HOLIDAZE///
H&M30% off everything + free shippingUp to 30% off20% off with Free Shipping / $3 deals up to 70% OFF: Code 5188Deals from $4.99 and 20% off with code: 3231
HuckberryUp to 50% Off + free shipping20-55% Off Exclusive Deals on 2017 Best SellersBlack Friday events / Select sale itemsArmogan Spirit of St. Louise 20% off
IndochinoUp to 70% off with code CYBMONSave up to 70% site-wide and in stores.Up to 70% off: BLKFRISave up to 70% – Code: BLKFRI
Jay Butler50% off Naples driving loafers and handbags (JBCM18) 20% of Cromwell & Shipley loafers, belts, wallets, duffels, ties, and more (JBBF18) 10% off all Millbank loafers (BFbits18)///
J.Crew60% off sale styles + 50% off everything else with code CYBER (online only)40% off most regular prices items + 40%-50% off sale items with code THANKU40% off + free shipping over $150 or $5 flat rate30% off purchase, 40% off sales – Code: HOLIDAY
J.Crew Factory60% off original prices* online only with code ADD2CART50% – 60% off your purchase + extra 50% clearance with code FRIYAY plus extra 20% off $100 with code GIFTFACTORY50-60% off everything50% off everything + 60% select styles
Jachs60% off sitewide with code BLKFRIDAY + up to 90% off Cyber Monday styles//
John VarvatosExtra 40% off sale with code CYBER40///
Jos A. BankUp to 70% off throughout the site + extra 20% off your entire purchase of $125 or more with code CYBER18///
Land's End50% off full price: code PECAN pin: 446250% off everything (sale items included) with code FRIDAY pin 256540% off everything: TURKEY50 PIN: 106240% off outewear, 50% off everything else – Code: black pin:2727
Leesa//$75 off + $50 Amazon gift card/
Levi's 40% off everything use code CYBER40% off side-wide and in stores, free shipping on online orders.40% off everything and free shipping HOLIDAY40Up to 40% off and free shipping on all orders
Life After Denim40% off sitewide with CYBER4040% off sitewide//
LinjerUp to 50% off + extended returns///
LL Bean20% off clothing and outerwear with code THANKS20, 25% Wicked Good slippers with code WICKED2525% off with FRIDAY2520% off when you spend $50: THANKS20/
Macy's/20% off site-wide60% off outerwear, $15 fleece, sweaters, and shirts, $180 suitsWeb buster deals + 20% off with thanks and free shipping over $50 – code: thanks
MeUndies/20 percent off site wide//
The Motley/Get 15% off orders under $75 and 20% off orders between $75-$150. Orders over $150 will get 20% off plus a mystery kit valued at $40+.15-20% off sitewide20% off $150 plus free mystery dopp kit
Mott & Bow25% off site wide, 30% off orders of $200, 35% off $300+with code CYBERMONDAY18///
Mr. Porter30% off selected items//
MVMT WatchesUp to 25% offUp to 20% offUp to 20% off15% off all watches
Neiman MarcusUp to 25% off sale items, including designer items///
Neiman Marcus Last CallExtra 40-80% off everything//40-80% off
New Republic by Mark McNairyUp to 65% off select styles///
NikeExtra 25% off selected styles with code CYBER///
NordstromUp to 60% off select itemsTake an additional 20% off select sale itemsBlack Friday deals + 20% off select itemsExtra 25% off starting Friday
Old Navy 50% off everything50% off in stores and online50% off everything60% off hundreds of styles, 50% off even more, 40% off everything else
Orient WatchesUp to 40% off sitewide + extra 15% off with HOLIDAY1850% off with code BF201750% off with code BF201650% off order with free shipping – code: BF2015
OrvisUp to 50% off///
Reebok50% off sitewide with code CYBER///
Rogue Territory30% off select styles with code RGTBLKFRI2018/30% off RGTBLKFRI2016/
Saks Fifth AvenueUp to 40% off designer sale + free shipping with code FREESHIP///
Saks Off 5thExtra 60% off cold weather styles with code COLD60 + free shipping with code CYBERMON///
Sierra Trading Post///Up to 70% off
Spier and Mackay20% off sitewide with code CM201820% off sitewide with code BF201720% off sitewide with code BLACKFRIDAY/
TargetBOGO 60% off + extra 15% off clothing, shoes, and accessories (online only)/30% off40% off clothing
Taylor Stitch30% off sitewide20% off sitewide//
TaniSave 30% off automatically sitewide//
The Tie BarFree holiday socks with orders of $30 + free shipping on any orderFree socks with a purchase of at least $40 with code FESTIVE. Free standard shipping on orders $30+Free socks with $40 order – code: STRIPE40Free socks with $60 order – code: GETFESTIVE
Theory25% off select styles with code CYBER///
Ties.com40% off everything with code YOUVEGOTSALE/35% / 45% off purchase of $150 Free US Shipping FAVORITEFRIDAY35% off no minium, 45% $150 or more, free shipping – code: BLKFRIDAY
TimberlandUp to 50% off select clothing, accessories, and footwear30% off almost everything//
Todd Snyder25% off select styles + free shipping with code CYBERMONDAY30% off Todd Snyder and Todd Snyder + Champion50% off Todd Snyder and Todd Snyder + Champion collections with code HOLIDAY30/
Tommy John20% off everything + free shipping///
TopmanUp to 50% off selected lines + free worldwide shipping///
Unionmade25% off sitewide with code CYBERMONDAY///
UniqloUp to 50% off + free shippingExtra fine Merino wool sweaters $10 offBlack Friday select discounts / $15 off $150 / Free ShippingEverything in store under $50 except some outerwear, free shipping
Urban Outfitters$50 off purchases $150+, $25 off purchases $100+, $10 off purchases $50+/Buy 1 get 1 50% off everything30% off all sale items
Vineyard Vines40% off sale items, and 25% off everything else use code HOLIDAY18///
Will Leather Goods25% off with code HOLIDAY18///
Wilson Leather60% off Sitewide + free shipping with code CYBERFS///
Wolf & Shepherd$100 off shoes and boots with code HUNDO///

If you found this helpful, please share! And check back on Black Friday for our best deal picks guide!

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Ali grew up in New York and currently lives in Philadelphia, where she works as a copywriter. She enjoys cooking, playing the guitar, and powerlifting, and has a brown belt in Krav Maga. You can find her collected articles on health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics at https://alibzagat.contently.com/ Instagram: @alibzagat