Like every other big-box store, Target wants your business this Black Friday. But exactly who are they courting with their 36-page ad that blasts readers with a barrage of items, prices, door-buster specials and timed discounts? Tech shoppers? House wares bargain hunters? People who need new underwear? Let’s take a closer look inside the circular and see.


The first thing to notice is that Target is dangling the electronics out front again this year. It’s a pretty common practice to frontload things like TVs, cameras, laptops, cell phones, and tablets in these massive ads. The big-ticket stuff catches consumers’ eyes and keeps them turning the pages.

However, you’ll quickly run out of things to look at if tech is the only reason you picked up the Target ad. There are only seven deals on flat screen TVs—including a 47-inch Vizio for $379.99 and a 40-inch Westinghouse for $199.99—a handful of tablets, a cell phone or two, a single page of games and gaming accessories, and then the tech comes to a sudden halt by the top of page eight.

Then you’re looking at a bargain on Monopoly- not that there’s anything wrong with Monopoly, mind you, but high tech it is not. Tech kind of picks up again on the very last page with a mish-mash of offers including a good deal on a Canon T3 DSLR bundle for $449, a tablet and a coffee maker, but by then you might have moved on to Best Buy.

The softer side

Judging simply by the amount of print real estate given over to “soft” gifts such as clothing, household items, and kitchen accessories, you’d be wise to conclude that Target is betting the farm on getting you in to buy mom some new house slippers and dad some long underwear. A full 14 pages of the circular is devoted to all things home related. Noteworthy items include towels for $2, a Dyson DC135 vacuum cleaner for $199, a full set of non-stick cookware for $49.99, and Egyptian cotton sheet sets for $35.

The message is clear: Target is going domestic for Black Friday 2013. Whether that reflects their prediction that the still-sluggish economy means big-tickets remain out of reach for many, or just the time-worn idea big-box stores lure you in with shiny gadgets and end up selling you soap is a question best left to the retail sociologists. We simply note that if your shopping list is heavy on things for the home, Target should be on your Black Friday agenda.

Playing around

Of course there is some fun to be had. Readers of Target’s ad will note that sandwiched between the electronics and the lone deal on a microwave ($40 for a Sunbeam .9 cubic footer, not bad) are 10 pages of toys and video games. The toy offerings are heavy on the dolls and action figures, perhaps reflecting again the idea that Target is putting its less-expensive toys front and center this year because they expect bargain shoppers to be very price conscious.

There are definitely some deals to be had. A bike for $57, Razor scooters for $19, and Monster High dolls for $10 a piece are just a few of them. Also not to be missed: a decent selection of movies starting at $1, and CDs at $5. It’s stocking stuffer material, but the fact that Target is giving it prominent play in their circular indicates they think they’ll move a lot of product at these price points.

Bull’s eye

Black Friday bottom line at Target: If it’s tech and gadgets you seek, there are other stores that are offering better deals. But if it’s house wares, clothes, toys or just low-end gift ideas in general that make up your list, you’ll want to make a stop.

Target image courtesy of Shutterstock.