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Have you been fooled by a Black Friday ‘deal’?

Is Black Friday really the best time of year to find the greatest discounts on products? We want to know if you’ve bought a product on offer that you later regretted.

Black Friday has been a firm fixture in the UK shopping calendar for eight years now – it’s become so entrenched that some retailers have started running fortnight-long Black Friday deals.

Still, most of the anticipation and excitement is reserved for the day itself, which, in case you needed reminding, is tomorrow.

But with this infamous day of discounts almost upon us, our new research has exposed some of the ‘deals’ for what they really are.

Deal or no deal?

We tracked the prices of 94 popular home, tech and personal products from five major retailers that were on offer on Black Friday in 2017.

And what we found was surprising: 87% of these products were the same price or cheaper at other times of the year than their Black Friday price.

While some 46% of products were cheaper than their Black Friday price on at least one day during the six months afterwards.

Additionally, unique bargains were scarce – only 13% of the products we tracked were truly discounted on Black Friday, IE the same or a lower price wasn’t found on any other day.

Take a look at some of the worst deals we’ve found, including an LG TV that was £50 cheaper on at least 62 occasions after Black Friday.

Black Friday beliefs

Although Black Friday deals aren’t always advertised as the cheapest ever price, consumers have certain expectations about the shopping day.

When we surveyed Which? members, 64% said they would expect prices to be at their lowest during a sale than they had been in the previous six months. But as our research shows, this isn’t always the case.

Given consumers have such high expectations for Black Friday, surely retailers have something of a responsibility offer genuine deals on the day? What do you think?

Are you a big Black Friday fan? Or have you been previously swept up in the frenzy of it, only to later regret certain purchases? We’d love to hear your experiences.

Retailer reply

We offered the retailers mentioned a right of reply.


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:

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 high street competitors run promotions its prices are lowered to match, and that the Black Friday period is no different.


It used to be the New Year sales, and, indeed, some clothing bargains were to be had as well as discounted L.Ps and cassettes. If one was lucky there were ones that we wanted that were not selling so well. The whole point of Black Friday is that somehow the retail trade have managed to make it into an event and thus an excuse to sell more merchandise. One could align this with fake news until it was no longer seen as fake and enough shops and consumers accepted it. Say something often enough in enough places and Black Friday is now understood for what it is. Naturally, shops have always tried to make deals and bargains seem to be the best things you ever thought of buying while at the same time doing their best to keep the price as it was. Some of this is smart selling and some downright dishonest. Books have been written on how to do this. In the end, if we feel we have had a bargain, then both shop and customer can be happy. Roll on White Saturday.

I bought some new headphones earlier this week in a pre-Black Friday sale. The claim was they were reduced by 30%. I’m going to be interested to see if the price reduces any more in the future…

For furniture, appliances and tech products, Black Friday is just one step in the downward progression of the prices of this year’s stock before the new season’s releases come in. In other words it is just a different form of stock clearance with retailers bringing their December sales forward to equalise the November and December sales figures given that Christmas sales distort the December figures. It is unrealistic not to expect prices to continue downwards in the period after Black Friday culminating in the January sales.

If you want a Big Buy before Christmas, Black Friday is possibly as good a time as any to get it. If you can wait until January, the sales are probably a better bet. Bear in mind that shops push the stuff they want to clear to make room for next year’s models at higher prices which makes the sales discounts look keener than they really are.

I have never quite understood why it is so important to have a new sofa or dining set delivered before Christmas when they will trashed by excited kids, have wine and coffee spilt on them, and have granddad tip over on the chair. It’s just another marketing gimmick and every year there are tales of buyers being let down by late deliveries or quality problems that cannot be remedied in time for Christmas.

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Lessismore says:
26 November 2018

Season of stress and excess.