Update: Live in Australia.
As part of the American Black Friday sales tradition, Apple typically offers minimal discounts on its own products and third-party accessories via its online and physical retail stores. However, this year will be significantly different. According to multiple sources, Apple’s sales event this Friday will be based around gift cards, not discounts on products. If a customer buys a product from Apple on Black Friday, instead of receiving a discount, they will be given an Apple Store gift card. This gift card will likely not be able to be used at the time of purchase, solely at a later date. The setup is similar to that of Apple’s recent Back to School campaigns, but it is Apple Store cards, not iTunes cards…
The gift cards will be included with Apple’s flagship products, such as Macs, iPods, and iOS Devices, in addition to third-party accessories. The gift card amounts are said to fluctuate based on the product. For example, gift cards that accompany accessories will have lower amounts of money than Macs. We’re hearing that accessories, such as the Dropcam, will likely include a gift card worth around $25, and Macs could include a $100 card. iOS Devices like the iPad will include a $50 Apple Store gift card. Some more expensive third-party products will also include $50 gift cards.
While the gift card promotion will likely be the focus of Apple’s Black Friday sale, it’s still plausible that discount pricing could be available for some products via Apple’s online store. Apple is yet to confirm that this year’s deal will be gift-card centric, and, of course, plans could always change. It’s also uncertain if this gift card promotion is U.S.-only or worldwide. Apple’s in-store promotional materials for the upcoming promotion are said to be green and themed similarly to the teaser page that went live on Apple’s website earlier this week.
Update: An Apple employee reached out to share some details as to why Apple moved from standard discounts to gift cards for this year’s Black Friday festivities. According to this person, the switch has been long considered, and is not entirely influenced by Apple wanting to give customers incentives to spend more money through Apple. According to the person, the standard discounts for Black Friday required several months of preparation (each year) from Apple across several teams within the company. Apple was required to manually update the pricing for every product within its entire backend system for both the online and retail stores. This process is said to have been anything but seamless, and it was, as the source put it, a waste of time and resources. Gift cards, instead, take little effort from Apple to ship alongside products, and in some cases, the money savings (overall) will be even greater for the customer.