A Which? investigation reveals that nearly nine in 10 of last year’s Black Friday ‘deals’ were cheaper or the same price at other times of the year, as it warns shoppers to do their research before hitting the sales.
Which? tracked the prices of 94 popular products, including TVs, cameras and fitness trackers, that were on offer over Black Friday 2017, from six months before until six months afterwards. An overwhelming majority (87%) of products were cheaper at other times of the year, bringing into question the true value of Black Friday.
The investigation analysed deals at leading retailers Currys PC World, Amazon, John Lewis and Argos, finding that almost half (46%) of products on offer were sold for less in the six months following Black Friday (Dec 2017 to May 2018). Which? is now urging shoppers not to feel pressured into making a purchase on 23rd November.
When looking at the two-week period surrounding Black Friday itself, Which? found that three-quarters (76%) of products were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year, and 74% could be picked up for the same price or less in the six months after.
Examples of Black Friday ‘deals’:
- The LG 60UJ630V, a 60” 4K TV, was advertised at £799 by Amazon on Black Friday but this wasn’t its cheapest price. In fact, it was £50 cheaper on at least 62 occasions after Black Friday and even dropped a further £150 for at least four days at the end of December and beginning of January.
- The Sony Cybershot HX60B Superzoom compact camera was advertised as £189 (save £10) on Black Friday by Currys PC World, but we found it £10 cheaper at least 27 times in June and July 2017. It was also cheaper by £10 or more at least 43 times in the six months following Black Friday (including 33 days in December and January).
- The 49” LG 49SJ810V TV was £599 on Black Friday from Currys PC World, but it was £20 cheaper from the end of December to mid-January, and again in April.
- The Fitbit Alta HR activity tracker wasn’t advertised as a Black Friday deal, but was sold at £109.99 with a £10 discount applied by John Lewis on the day. We found that waiting until after the Black Friday period would have resulted in a better deal as it was cheaper on at least 60 occasions after, starting with a further £20 discount in mid-December and even dropping to £39.99 for at least 21 days during March and April 2018.
Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:
“The results of our investigation will disappoint many who are expecting nothing but bargains this Black Friday.
“While retailers are bombarding us with promises of great discounts and time-limited sales, it’s clear that not all deals are as good as they might appear. To bag a bargain, do your research and don’t get carried away by the hype when shopping in the upcoming sales.”
Tips for shopping on Black Friday
- Be careful not to impulse buy – Make sure you know the sorts of products you want to buy and how much you’re prepared to spend before you start shopping in the sales.
- Don’t panic – Don’t worry about missing out on a good offer as our research has revealed that you could be better off waiting until after Black Friday anyway.
- Find out about offers in advance – Sign up to your favourite retailers’ newsletters for inside tips, or check their social media pages ahead of the sales for any clues or hints to what will be on offer.
- Do your research – Look at the price on previous days to make sure you really are getting a good deal and don’t always trust reviews you find online. Our recent investigation revealed how shoppers are being misled by unscrupulous sellers using fake and paid-for online product reviews.
- Which? Reviews app – Download the Which? Reviews app to have Which? in your pocket when shopping in the sales this Black Friday.
For more advice on making most of the Black Friday sales, visit: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/black-friday/article/guides
- Which? analysed the prices of 94 popular tech, home and personal products that were on offer on Black Friday last year, compared to their prices in the six months before and after.
- The investigation looked at 59 deals at Currys PC World, 18 deals from Amazon, 14 deals at John Lewis and three from Argos.
Rights of replies
- Amazon told us: “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 Argos spokesperson said: “During Black Friday our customers benefit from a huge range of deals on a wide range of products, all at the same time. This does not exclude these products from other promotions.”
- Currys PC World told us that it offers great value on products throughout the year, and offers customers pricing transparency by stating in all channels exactly when a product was available for a higher price. It said: “While our prices – like all retailers – can fluctuate throughout the year, we’re proud to offer our Price Promise across our entire range – and this covers the Black Friday trading period.”
- A John Lewis spokesperson said that prices are matched throughout the year as part of its Never Knowingly Undersold commitment, meaning that when competitors run promotions prices are lowered to match, and that the Black Friday period is no different.