Black Friday may serve as the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season, but that's not necessarily when you'll find the best prices.

In fact, experts say you're better off waiting until closer to the December holidays for some products. To be sure, there'll be bargains to be found on Black Friday, but your best option on that day might be "doorbusters" — items with super-low prices that retailers dangle to convince you to shop with them — and products that could sell out, such as popular toys. 

This year may prove to be a particular challenge for shoppers given the tight window between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because Thanksgiving falls six days later this year than in 2018, shoppers will have fewer days to hunt for holiday bargains.

Consumers may be wising up to the fact they can get better bargains on days other than Black Friday. For instance, 35% of consumers intend to shop on Black Friday this year, down from about 39% in 2015, according to data from PwC. About half of consumers said they'll finish their shopping after Black Friday, PwC reported. 

Read on for some expert advice on what products to look for come Black Friday — and when to wait for better bargains. 

What to buy on Black Friday

  • Televisions. The key here is to look for doorbusters, says Kristin McGrath, editor and shopping expert at BlackFriday.com. She notes that 4K televisions will likely to have their lowest prices of the year — and sales are likely to start on Thanksgiving day.
  • Gaming consoles. Prices should drop on Black Friday because they're hot holiday gifts this year.
  • Popular toys. You might be able to get a better price on toys closer to the holidays, but you also might encounter shortages on hot items, which is why McGrath recommends buying sooner rather than later. 

What to buy on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday

  • Smart home devices. Assistants such as Amazon's Echo and Google Home fall in price during the Thanksgiving weekend, McGrath notes. 

What to buy on Cyber Monday

  • Laptops and personal computers. Cyber Monday offers great tech deals, especially on all things computer: laptops, desktops and gaming PCs, McGrath says.
  • Clothing. Retailers such as Old Navy and others typically discount heavily on Cyber Monday, so it's best to hold off on clothing purchases until Cyber Monday, when you can find sitewide discount codes, she adds.

Wait for "Travel Deal Tuesday"

  • If you have travel plans coming up, your best bet may be to search for flights and hotels on Tuesday, December 3, which flight-tracking service Hopper calls "Travel Deal Tuesday."
  • Flight and hotel prices are consistently the lowest in the post-Thanksgiving shopping period on this day, based on analysis of about 25 billion flight and hotel prices. 

Wait until closer to Christmas

  • Toys and games. If it's not a popular toy in danger of selling out, wait closer to Christmas to buy your toys and games, McGrath says. That's because retailers will mark down these playthings starting the week of Christmas.  
  • Holiday decor and seasonal items. If you can hold off until a day or two before Christmas, you'll get great deals on holiday decor, she adds. Of course, you'll get even better prices if you wait until the day after the holiday.