Love it or hate it, Black Friday is here once again. But while we know the deals aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be, is it really an event to be avoided at all costs? Here’s how we approach it.
Long-standing followers will know that every year, we reveal the eye-watering proportion of the previous Black Friday’s deals that were available for the same price or cheaper in the six months before and after the event.
This year, that figure is the highest it’s ever been at 99.5%.
You might think it’s obvious that products’ prices will fall over time – but even when we focused exclusively on the six months before Black Friday 2020, 92% of the products in our study were available for the same price or less. All of which makes it clear that most of the time, those ‘special offers’ flashing up on our screens and in stores aren’t all that… well, special.
So why cover Black Friday deals at all?
Despite what you might think, we don’t actually believe shopping on Black Friday is a bad thing – you just need to go into it with eyes wide open and a bit of research up your sleeve.
Thanks to our small army of researchers, we know that there are genuinely excellent deals to be found among the duds. Our experts scour thousands of offers, using their unrivalled product knowledge and pricing expertise to identify the deals that really are worth a look.
We cover those deals through a selection of articles – some, such as the best TV and laptop deals, grouped by product type, and others, like the best Amazon, Argos, Currys and John Lewis deals, cut by retailer. But this isn’t a random decision: we do it because we know it’s what shoppers want, based on market analysis and online search trends (last year, more than 98,000 people Googled ‘Amazon Black Friday’ in November, while for Currys it was just shy of 80,000).
Does Which? make money from that coverage?
When someone clicks on a retailer (affiliate) link in one of our deals articles and goes on to purchase something from that website, we do sometimes earn a commission (you can read more about that here).
We also encourage non-members to join Which? before deciding what to buy, in order to check our detailed product reviews and lab test results.
The money that’s made through affiliate revenue and subscriptions helps us to continue our not-for-profit mission.
What’s our advice for Black Friday shopping?
Before buying anything in the Black Friday sales, we’d always urge you to do the following:
🛒 Plan what you want to buy in advance, to avoid impulse purchases you might later regret.
🛒 Check product reviews with a reputable source such as yours truly.
🛒 Investigate the product’s pricing history to see whether today’s price is actually any good, using price comparison sites such as PriceRunner, PriceSpy or – if you’re buying from Amazon – CamelCamelCamel.
🛒 Shop around, and if you’re in store check competitor prices on your phone. If somewhere else is offering a better price, ask the store to match it.
🛒 Know your rights– if you’re buying online you have 14 days from the date of delivery to cancel the order and a further 14 to return it. Returns policies are less black and white for in-store shopping, so check before you buy.
🛒 Whatever you do, don’t feel pressured to buy anything this Black Friday: as our research has shown, chances are it will be available for the same price or less in the months ahead.
So, what do you think – are you planning to buy anything in the sales, or are you hibernating until it’s all gone away?