Not all Black Friday sales offer equally good deals — and a new analysis illustrates just how true that is this year.

WalletHub found that the average discount offered this year by major retailers ranges from as little as 16.8% to as much as 65.7%.

The analysis is based on a review of nearly 4,000 deals from the Black Friday ads of 16 of the biggest U.S. retailers.

The smallest and biggest Black Friday discounts

At six of the retailers included in WalletHub’s analysis, the average discount is less than 30%:

  • Costco: average Black Friday discount of 16.8%
  • Best Buy: 22.9%
  • Amazon: 25.7%
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club: 27.6%
  • Walmart: 28.4%
  • Newegg: 28.5%

At the other end of the spectrum are three retailers that are offering discounts of more than 50%. They are:

  • J.C. Penney: 64.7%
  • Belk: 64.2%
  • Macy’s: 53%

What it means for you

Discounts can be deceiving.

Multiple department stores have been sued in the past for manipulating prices in a way that makes discounts seem bigger than they actually are. More recently, an analysis by Consumers’ Checkbook found that many major retailers offer sale prices so frequently that they are more akin to a normal price than a true discount.

Additionally, it’s possible that the discounts offered by wholesale chains like Costco and Sam’s Club are smaller compared with those of other retailers because wholesale chains’ everyday prices are already lower than those of other retailers.

So, while analyses like WalletHub’s are handy tools for deal seekers, you should always do your own homework. Even on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you should compare prices before plunking down your hard-earned cash, especially for a big-ticket purchase.

For more tips on preparing for this Black Friday, which falls on Nov. 25 this year, check out “9 Things You Should Not Buy on Black Friday.”

Karla Bowsher

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