Shoppers are being urged to do their research before they part with their cash this Black Friday as a new Which? investigation reveals that the vast majority of ‘deals’ are the same price or cheaper before the day itself.
The consumer champion tracked the prices of 219 popular products advertised as ‘Black Friday deals’ across Amazon, AO.com, Argos, Currys PC World and John Lewis and found that almost nine in 10 (85%) of these so-called ‘deals’ were actually cheaper or the same price in the six months before.
In fact, when Which? compared a year’s worth of prices for these products, which included home and tech goods such as headphones, fridge freezers and soundbars, only three (1%) out of the 219 items tracked were at their cheapest price of the year on Black Friday.
Out of the retailers Which? looked at, Currys PC World was the most likely to have its Black Friday ‘deals’ cheaper or the same price in the six months before. This was the case for 47 out of 49 (96%) products.
John Lewis was not far behind with 70 of the 78 (90%) Black Friday deals Which? tracked cheaper or the same price ahead of time.
AO had a total of 38 out of 44 (86%) Black Friday deals included in Which?’s research cheaper or the same price before the big day.
When it came to the Black Friday deals tracked at Argos, Which? found 15 out of 18 (86%) had been cheaper or the same price in the six months before Black Friday.
Amazon came out the best out of the retailers Which? looked at but still had just over half (57%) of products analysed cheaper or the same price in the six months before Black Friday.
Among the examples, Which? found that at Currys PC World a set of Bose Quietcomfort headphones was £249 on Black Friday but had been cheaper or the same price on at least 15 occasions in the six months prior.
Which? found the same problem with a pricey De’Longhi Primadonna Coffee Machine at John Lewis. Costing £1,285 in the Black Friday sale, the machine had been at the same price or less on at least 35 occasions in the six months before, dropping to less than £1,200 on several days in May and June 2019.
Which? also found that at AO a Zanussi fridge freezer was £549 on Black Friday but had been sold at that price on 153 days in the six months before Black Friday – 84 per cent of the time.
While many of the items tracked by Which? had been cheaper or the same price in the six months before Black Friday, price drops were even more widespread after the day itself.
This applied to almost every single product from AO, Argos, Currys PC World and John Lewis included in the analysis and nine in 10 (90%) of the products Which? tracked on Amazon.
Among the sales season duds Which? did uncover a few great deals, including some Bose Soundsport headphones on Amazon that were on sale at £45 on Black Friday 2019, half the maximum price of £90 and, according to Which? data, the cheapest price of the year.
Meanwhile at Amazon, Which? also found a bargain on a Shark Handheld Vacuum cleaner at £97 on Black Friday 2019, just over half the £180 maximum, the cheapest price of the year.
Which?’s research shows that while a handful of offers might be genuine, the vast majority of Black Friday deals are not necessarily cheaper than at other times of the year – and those who hold out a little longer will often end up paying the same price or even less.
Which? is urging shoppers to not be tempted to impulse buy this year, and to make sure they do their research to assess whether the price and quality of the product they are considering makes it the right deal for them. Even if a deal is advertised as time-sensitive, chances are it will not be the last opportunity to buy at that price.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:
“With many of us stuck at home this Black Friday it might be tempting to scour the sales for a bargain, but we’ve found that you could get the same deal – or an even better one – at another time.”
“Deals that look too good to be true often are, so don’t fall for time-limited offers and if you are looking for something in particular, do some research first. That way you’ll know a genuine bargain when you see one.”
Notes to editors:
- Which? tracked the prices of 219 popular home and tech products over the course of a year, for six months before Black Friday 2019 and six months after.
- The below table shows the number of products tracked and whether they were the same price or cheaper before and after the sales event.
- In August 2020, a Which? survey found that 84 per cent of respondents were not planning on buying anything this Black Friday and those who were said they were taking a more considered approach by either tracking prices of coveted items or using price comparison sites.
- However, internet industry body IMRG last week reported that the combination of Black Friday discounts and coronavirus restrictions will make November a record-breaking month for online spending in the UK. Their report suggested that online sales were up 61 per cent in the first week of November compared with the same period last year.
Black Friday example ‘deals’
AO -Hotpoint SA2844HIX 60cm 71L Built In Electric Single Oven
You could have bought this built-in oven for £219.99 on Black Friday at AO, but if you’d bought it in the six months prior then you might have saved yourself a tenner – it was £209.99 on at least seven days. In the six months after the sale, it was £209.99 on at least 80 days, and was cheaper or the same price for a total of 134 days after the sale.
AO – Zanussi 178Cm Integrated Frost Free Fridge Freezer ZBB28651SV:
Black Friday price was £549. It was priced at £549 on 153 days in the six months before Black Friday, and was cheaper or the same price on 46 occasions after the sale.
Argos – GoPro Hero7 White Action Cam
This action camera was £129.99 at Argos on Black Friday, and was the same price for the week before the sale day. In February 2020, it dropped to £119 for 11 days before staying at £129.99 – the same as its Black Friday price – until at least the end of May. In total, it was cheaper or the same price as Black Friday on at least 154 days in the six months following the sale.
Currys PC World – Samsung RS50N3513S8 Freestanding American Style Fridge Freezer
Last Black Friday, the silver version of this Samsung Fridge Freezer cost £849 at Currys PC World. Prior to the sale day, it was priced at £799 on at least 15 days – meaning a saving of £50 compared to Black Friday. Following the sale, it was £849 or cheaper on at least 27 days.
Currys PC World – Sonos Playbar Soundbar
This stylish soundbar was £649 at Currys PC World last Black Friday, but had been the same price for at least 19 days in October 2019 too. After the sale day, it was the same price or cheaper on at least 129 days – including dropping to £599 over Christmas and new year, meaning shoppers could have saved £50 by holding out a little longer. For those prepared to play the waiting game, it was priced at £499 on several occasions during April and May 2020 – a saving of £150 compared to Black Friday.
Currys PC World- Bose Quietcomfort 35 Ii Black QC35IIB: was cheaper or the same price as Black Friday on 15 occasions in the six months prior to Black Friday, and 66 days after the sale.
John Lewis – Brother MFC-J6930DW Wireless Inkjet Printer
On Black Friday, this Brother printer was £199.99 at John Lewis. In the six months before the sale day, it had been priced at £199 on at least 79 occasions. John Lewis told us that this was due to its price matching scheme. It was cheaper or the same price on 72 days in the six months after the sale, too.
John Lewis – The De’Longhi Primadonna Elite Experience Bean To Cup Coffee Machine
The silver version of this expensive coffee machine was £1,285 at John Lewis in the Black Friday sale, but had been at the same price or less on at least 35 occasions in the six months before. This included costing less than £1,200 on several days in May and June 2019.
John Lewis – The Sonos Beam Compact Smart Sound Bar with Voice Control, Black, was cheaper than its Black Friday price (£399) on 71 occasions in the six months before Black Friday, dropping to £369 for 14 days in July. It was cheaper or the same price on 184 days in the six months after the sale.
Additional useful Which? Content
Which? Black Friday Hub – https://www.which.co.uk/news/black-friday/
How to check if your Black Friday deals are real – https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/black-friday/article/black-friday-deals-how-to-check-if-a-black-friday-deal-is-real-aKtJD2L0zJEt
15 Shopping tips to help you get a deal this Black Friday –
Amazon said: ‘We seek to offer our customers great value thanks to low prices all year round as well as a number of fantastic seasonal deals events. Our Black Friday Sale is about thousands of deals on a huge selection of products from every category across the site, at a time of year when we know saving money is important to our customers. And the best thing about shopping online is that customers can easily compare prices, allowing them to make an informed purchase decision.’
An AO spokesperson said: ‘We offer great deals for our customers all year. Last year’s Black Friday event had over 9,000 fantastic and fair offers for customers and we expect this year to be even bigger.’
An Argos spokesperson said, ‘Our Black Friday event gives customers access to hundreds of products at their lowest ever price. They may also be part of sales and promotions we run the following year.’
A Currys PC World spokesperson said: “We have 1000s of deals in Black Friday every year, and aim to give our customers the best value with over 45% at their lowest price ever this year. Throughout the year we are also continuously price-matching and have additional sales to ensure we keep our promise of amazing tech that is affordable and accessible. Also as we are constantly looking to bring customers the latest and most innovative tech it means over time some of our older products will generally reduce in price as they are replaced by newer technology with improved features.”
John Lewis said: ‘As a participating retailer in Black Friday, we offer hundreds of deals across technology, home, beauty and fashion. In addition to the variety of offers we have instore and online during the promotional period, our Never Knowingly Undersold price promise means that we continuously monitor and match the prices of our high street competitors throughout the year. As such, we offer our customers the best value on the high street all year round, including during the Black Friday period.’