For the Best Holiday Deals, You Might Not Want to Wait for Black Friday

Sale prices come early this year

While battle-hardened shoppers steel themselves for the impending annual Black Friday madness, retailers may be ofering the best deals even earlier in the shopping season.

Today, The Wall Street Journal predicted retailers will offer better bargains in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving rather than in those leading up to Christmas.

Adobe Systems Inc. collected data from 4,500 retail websites beginning in 2008, tracking the biggest price cuts and the best times to buy during the holiday season. The data showed that people who shopped on the Sunday before Thanksgiving 2013 had the greatest savings. (That's Nov. 23 this year.) These savvy shoppers also saved themselves the hassle of large crowds and out-of-stock items.

To test the point, the Journal is tracking the price of 10 popular gifts across online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Target, including how quickly they price-match the items. The gifts range from a Hot Wheels remote control flying car and a Disney "Frozen" doll, to a KitchenAid stand mixer and a Vizio television.

A recent study from The National Retail Federation projected that the average person will do 44 percent of his or her holiday shopping online this year—another way to avoid the mad rush of Black Friday.