A year-long investigation by Which? has found that six in 10 of last year’s Black Friday deals were cheaper or the same price at other times of year.
Which? tracked the prices of 35 of the most popular tech, home and personal care products that were on sale on Black Friday last year. The study revealed that more than half (60%) of products discounted on Black Friday were cheaper or the same price at other times during the year.
Deals investigated included the Neff Slide and Hide oven (made popular in Great British Bake Off), premium TVs, coffee machines, and even an electric toothbrush.
The Neff Slide and Hide oven from Currys/PC World was one of the worst deals we found. This sounded like a good deal at £494.99, particularly as the retailer’s advertising claimed it had been £599.99 throughout September and most of October. But the oven was actually cheaper than the Black Friday price for at least 113 other days of the year. It was £45 cheaper (£449.99) just three weeks later.
A Samsung 55-inch Smart 4K Ultra HD curved TV was advertised in Currys/PC World as ‘Save £400, now £849’, but was £50 cheaper at least 29 times in December, January and April, the same price at least seven times in April and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May.
The DeLonghi bean-to-cup coffee machine looked like a bargain last Black Friday at £349 in Currys/PC World, a huge saving on the £729.99 the retailer’s advertising stated it was for most of September and October. However, Which? data showed that it sold for £579.99 for nearly three weeks when the ad claimed it was selling at £729.99. Additionally, it remained at the Black Friday price for almost all of December.
An Oral B electric toothbrush from Amazon was advertised as ‘save 26%: was £40.49, now £29.99’. This sounded like a good offer, until you realise it was £5 cheaper on at least two days in July.
A 49-inch LG TV advertised in Argos at £499 with the tagline ‘Our lowest price’ was £4 cheaper a week later and another £16 cheaper at the end of December.
Advice from Which? on smart shopping this Black Friday
- For top tips on making the most of the Black Friday sales, visit: which.co.uk/BlackFriday
- Do some research – A recent Which? survey found that one in five (18%) consumers who bought something in the Black Friday sales last year didn’t read any reviews.
- Shop at retailers with price promises, which may ensure you can get a part-refund if your item drops in value in the weeks following your purchase.
Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:
“Our research shows that although Black Friday can offer some great discounts, not all offers are as good as they seem.
“It’s easy to get swept along by the hype and excitement on the day, so we recommend doing some preparation and research to help make sure you really are getting a good deal when shopping in the sales.”
Notes to editor
- Which? tracked deals on 35 of the most popular tech, home and personal care products – 22 from Currys/PC World, 12 from Argos and one from Amazon – over the course of a year to find out if deals were as good as they seem.
- Which? has independent and rigorous lab test results for thousands of products on its website.
Rights of reply
- Amazon:“We offer many thousands of incredible deals around Black Friday representing millions of pounds of savings for our customers across a vast selection of products.”
- An Argosspokesperson said, “Black Friday is a fantastic event which allows customers to choose from thousands of products which offer great value. This does not exclude these products from other sales or promotional activity at other times of the year. We regularly review our prices to make sure we’re giving customers the best possible value whenever and wherever they shop with us.”
- Currys: “We are bemused as to why a long established consumer focussed organisation such as Which? would think that it is untoward for retailers to reduce prices on some items to a point lower than it had been in November. The Black Friday sales period has become an established part of our promotional calendar alongside January Sale and Bank Holiday weekend offers. Currys PC World alone featured around 4000 product sku’s reduced as part of the Black Friday period and we make no apology for reducing some of them even more after that period.”