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Only one in seven ‘deals’ worth buying on Black Friday

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Only 14% of deals on Black Friday offer a genuine discount, according to research, which finds most promotions are cheaper or the same price in the six months before the sales extravaganza.

Analysis from consumer champion Which? has revealed that Black Friday ‘deals’ may not be the great bargain they are purported to be.

Which? analysed 214 Black Friday deals last year at seven major home and tech retailers – Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, John Lewis, Richer Sounds and Very – looking at their prices every day in the six months before and after the sale day (26 November 2021).

Out of the deals, the consumer champion discovered that 183 (86%) were actually cheaper or the same as their Black Friday price in the six months before the sales event and 209 (98%) were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year. None were cheaper on Black Friday alone.

Which?’s research showed that while there are some deals to be had, genuine discounts are often few and far between, and with the mammoth sales event less than 72 hours away, Which? is urging customers not to fall for the hype.

Examples of poor Black Friday deals abound

In one example, researchers found a Zanussi chimney cooker hood was £239 on Black Friday in 2021 at John Lewis, with a £30 saving. But it had been the same price since 9 November, and was reduced to £160 for a fortnight in August. It only increased to £269 on 13 October, meaning that the so-called £30 saving didn’t really represent good value for money.

At AO, a Leisure freestanding electric range cooker was £969 on Black Friday last year with a £30 saving. But it remained at this price until 23 December 2021, when it dropped further. Which? found it did not return to above the pre-Black Friday price until February 2022.

Even when including discounts applied in the two weeks around the big day, to take account of Cyber Monday sales, Which? found that 186 (87%) of deals had a lower or equal price at another time.

Amazon and Very ‘worst’ for dubious Black Friday deals

Amazon and Very were noted as the worst retailers overall for dubious discounts, with more than 70% of products included in Which?’s analysis cheaper at other times of the year compared to their Black Friday price.

When Which? spoke to the retailers about its findings, all, apart from Currys and Very who didn’t respond, said that Black Friday is a key time for deals but is just part of efforts to offer savings through the year.

Which? is therefore urging customers not to feel pressured into making purchases and instead take the time to do research before parting with any cash to make sure they are buying a high quality product at a price that genuinely offers value for money.

Which?: ‘Take time to do research’

Reena Sewraz, Which? retail editor, said: “Our research shows that finding a good deal on Black Friday is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s rarely the cheapest time to shop and you’ll probably find the things you want are the same price or cheaper as we head towards Christmas, the New Year and beyond.

“Retailers are not blind to the extra pressures on people’s finances this year and will be keen to use Black Friday to attract people looking to get the most for their money, so we should still expect some deals. Our advice is to take the time to do some research if you want to find a genuine bargain.”

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