Nine out of 10 (92%) ‘deals’ offered to customers on Black Friday are the same price or cheaper in the six months ahead of the discount shopping event, according to new research by consumer group Which?
Which? looked at 201 of last year’s Black Friday deals for home, tech and baby and child products at six major retailers — Amazon (AMZN), AO, Argos, Currys (CURY.L), John Lewis and Richer Sounds . The group compared their prices, for items such as washing machines, soundbars and TVs, on each day during the six months before and after Black Friday as well as on the big day.
A total of 184 of the products were the same price or cheaper in the six months leading up to to Black Friday.
Only 17 of the deals seemed to be a real bargain, seeing a reduction only on Black Friday.
Just one of the 201 products saw its cheapest price on Black Friday alone.
All 32 products from electrical retailer Currys’ Black Friday sale in 2020 analysed by Which?’s experts had been an equal price or cheaper in the previous six months.
Currys said: “At Currys we pride ourselves on offering great prices all year round, particularly during the Black Friday period.
"In 2020 over 98% of our Black Friday promoted products were equal to or at their cheapest price from the previous six months and 54% of our products were at their lowest ever price.
"Black Friday represents one of the best times for customers to shop with us over the year. With our unique price promise, we won’t be beaten on price. Full stop. This applies even during the Black Friday period.”
One of the worst deals was a Zanussi ZWF81441W washing machine being sold by John Lewis that was cheaper on 88 different days before Black Friday than on the day. The store advertised the washing machine at a "discounted" price of £309 on Black Friday but it was £60 cheaper at £249 five months before and for £289 within the month after.
John Lewis said : "As a participating retailer in Black Friday, we offer fantastic deals across technology, home, beauty and fashion — these are just some of the many promotions our customers can take advantage of throughout the year.
"The offers you refer to occur as part of our Never Knowingly Undersold price promise, where we match high street competitors and continuously monitor prices to offer great value all year round."
Home entertainment retailer Richer Sounds had the highest proportion of deals that were not cheaper or the same price before Black Friday. However, the real deals still only numbered four out of 14.
Richer Sounds said: "You’re absolutely right. Prices fluctuate pretty wildly in our industry, both up and down for all sorts of reasons, but primarily availability from suppliers and the prices we have to pay to our suppliers.
"So, this can mean that products (annoyingly for all) may be sold in the following Black Friday promotion at prices that are higher than during the preceding year but rest assured that all the deals that we sell are at the keenest prices possible at the time of the Black Friday ‘event’ (which, please note, starts several days before the day itself)."
When analysing the prices of items in the six months after Black Friday, almost all (98.5%) of the products across the six retailers were cheaper or the same price at some point during this period.
Some retailers told Which? that their Black Friday offers are parter of a longer event with the discounts stretching across several days, or even weeks, not just the day itself, which falls this year on 26 November.
However, when looking at a longer two-week period, from 23 November to 4 December 2020, 92% of products were still cheaper or the same price at other times of the year.
"In some cases shoppers may be better off biding their time and waiting for the price of a product to fall further," Which? said.
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Many shoppers do not do any research before making Black Friday purchases and many had not read product reviews before choosing to buy, Which? found.
Four in 10 (39%) Brits shopping for baby and child products on Black Friday last year did little or no research on price, while 28% of those looking for home appliances 18% those buying tech products did little or no research, according to a Which? survey of 2,000 Brits.
Ele Clark, Which? retail editor, said: “Our latest investigation has shown that the vast majority of Black Friday deals are not as good as they appear to be, which is why it’s so important to do your research before diving into the sales.
“Take time to identify the products you really want and check that the ‘deal’ you’re seeing represents a genuine saving. That way, you can beat the hype and be confident that you’ll emerge from the Black Friday sales with quality products that will last for years to come — and all for a bargain price.”