Black Friday not the cheapest time to shop, says consumer group

Just one in 50 Black Friday deals are at their cheapest price on the day of the sales extravaganza, according to analysis of last year’s event by a leading consumer group.

A study from Which? looking at a range of offers on 25 November 2022 found that only 2% were not available at the same price or cheaper within six months either side of the date.

Customers have been advised to be wary about offers and do some research before making any big purchases on Black Friday, a day of discounts exported to the UK in recent years from the US, where it falls on the day after Thanksgiving.

Which? analysed 208 deals last year at eight major home and tech retailers including Amazon, Argos, and Currys. They looked at their prices every day in the six months before and after last year’s big sales day.

Out of 208 products, only five were at their cheapest on Black Friday itself and 98% of them were cheaper, or the same price, in the surrounding 12 months.

Ele Clark, retail editor at Which? Retail said that customers should not feel “pressured to splash out on Black Friday as it’s rarely the cheapest time to shop”. She added that while there are “bargains to be had” consumers should do their own research.

Which? also looked at an extended sales period covering 18 November until 2 December, in order to catch Cyber Monday which follows the Thanksgiving weekend, and still found that 86% of products were the same price or cheaper at other times of the year.

In one of the worst examples Which? found, Apple AirPods (second generation) headphones at both Argos and Currys were discounted from £139 to £119. However, these products were cheaper than their Black Friday price every day between 25 May and 9 September, where the price varied between £99 and £109.

At Argos, three-quarters (75%) of products that were on offer on Black Friday in the Which? analysis were cheaper at other times of the year compared with their price on Black Friday. This was the highest proportion of any of the retailers the consumer group looked at.

Argos told the Guardian that only one product in its analysis was a Black Friday deal, while the others were part of other promotional offers. However Which? found many of the Argos products included in the analysis had “Black Friday” included in the online URL and were included in a section of the retailer’s website called “Black Friday deals and hot products”.

At Amazon, the Garmin Lily Sports Edition smartwatch was discounted from £199 to £149 but Which? found it had been cheaper on 58 days before Black Friday including £114.99 during the Amazon Prime Day sale, when the retailer often offers significant discounts.

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Amazon had the second-highest percentage (69%) of products that were cheaper than their Black Friday price at other times of the year.

Amazon said it aims to offer great value throughout the year, through price-matching and seasonal deal events.

Currys said: “Prices can change throughout the year … but Black Friday is still a great time to get a good deal and we always encourage our customers to take advantage of our price match guarantee at this time.”


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