'Black Friday' starts tonight

Prices will be slashed, deals will be everywhere and hordes of turkey-stuffed consumers will descend on America's stores in a frothy frenzy to capitalize on what has become a holiday tradition for many families: Black Friday.

"It gets pretty crazy," said Rob Fladger, manager at the Best Buy in Prescott. "We usually have a line around the building."

Wal-Mart does it a little differently, said Belinda Heller, zone supervisor at the Wal-Mart off Highway 69. Rather than having people line up outside, Wal-Mart will have queues set up at each department in the store. For example, if someone is looking for a deal on a television or video game, they would get in line in the electronics department. Those first in line will receive wristbands depending on what they want and how many of the product are available.

"If there are say 80 TVs, then we'll give out 80 wristbands to the first 80 people in line," Heller said.

At Wal-Mart, the queue lines will open up at 6 p.m. Thursday. Depending on how much someone wants a limited item will usually translate to how long they are willing to stand in line.

"For some of the hardcore people, they'll get here at 4 p.m. and stand in line for two hours," Heller said.

Wal-Mart's deals are also online, but Heller said many like to line up in the store partly for the experience and partly to just roam around and do some impulse buying.

"They want to get all of the other stuff that's out on the floor, such as our DVDs, toys, houseware goods and stuff like that," Heller said.

Black Friday is one of the most significant indicators of how consumers are feeling each year and is a tremendous boon to businesses as we creep into the holiday shopping season. This year, the National Retail Federation expects total retail sales for the holiday season to reach $630.5 billion, an increase of 3.7 percent from nearly $608 billion in 2014.

To help consumers maximize their savings this coming Black Friday, WalletHub, an online personal finance resource, surveyed 8,000 deals from 30 of the biggest U.S. retailers' 2015 Black Friday ad scans and identified the retailers offering the largest advertised discounts for each product category such as "Jewelry" and "Appliances." The company also ran a number of other studies to determine how good the deals really are and how this Black Friday matches up with those of previous years.

Here are some of the key findings WalletHub reported:

• JCPenney and Kohl's are 2015's best retailers for Black Friday deals. JCPenney has the highest overall discount rate at 68 percent with Kohl's right behind at 67 percent. Costco has the lowest at 20 percent.

• "Jewelry" is the most discounted category at 73 percent, whereas "Computers and Phones" are the least discounted at 31 percent.

• The overall average discount for Black Friday is 40 percent. Consumers should aim for this or a greater discount in order to avoid Black-Friday traps.

• Books, movies and music will offer the most value on this Black Friday relative to their current prices, while jewelry is expected to be the worst deal.

• 11 percent of Black Friday deals are the same as last year.

• More than 17 percent of items will actually be more expensive on Black Friday than they currently are on Amazon.com.

• The "Toys" category has the biggest number of discounted items, representing 23 percent of all offers, whereas the "Consumer Packaged Goods" category has the smallest, with only 1.4 percent of all offers.