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Just 2% of Black Friday ‘bargains’ are the real deal

Just 2% of Black Friday ‘bargains’ are the real deal
Matt Browning
Written By:
Matt Browning

Only 2% of the products sold on Black Friday were cheapest for shoppers during that sales period last year, a consumer champion reveals.

Nearly half (45%) of the 208 home, personal care and tech products tracked by Which? actually costs less during the six months on either side of Black Friday 2022. A whopping 98% of products were the same price or less in that period.

Just five of the items included in the sale were the best price for shoppers during Black Friday.

Which? analysed 66,000 items discounted during the Black Friday sales last November across high street stores Argos, Richer Sounds, Currys and John Lewis. The study also included online retailers Amazon, Very and AO.

Even when the timeframe was extended from 18 November to 2 December – covering the online discount day of Cyber Monday – there were still 86% of products costing the same price or less in the six months before and after 25 November.

Argos has three-quarters of items cheaper on other dates

The worst offender for offering better deals at other times of the year was Argos, which had 75% of its products priced cheaper in the twelve months surrounding Black Friday.

Amazon was next on the list, with 69% of items costing less at other times, followed by Very (54%), AO (59%) and Richer Sounds (47%).

In terms of the products, the worst came from the second-generation Apple Airpods, sold at Argos and Currys at £119 – down from £139. However, during the period 25 May to 9 September, the wireless headphones varied between £99 and £109. This meant shoppers would have spent an extra £40 than necessary if they jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon.

The Garmin Lily Sports Edition smart watch dropped from £199 to £149 on Amazon’s Black Friday sale, but the retailer offered the item for less in the 58 days before, including for £114.99 on Amazon Prime Day.

While Argos may have reduced the price of the Toshiba 50-inch 50UK3C63DB TV from £399 to £289 on Black Friday, there was a further £100 drop to £279 when January 2023 came around.

As retailers scramble to entice shoppers during the heavily promoted sales period, the consumer champion has warned bargain hunters to take a moment to think before splashing the cash.

‘Do your research and don’t panic’

Ele Clark, Which? retail editor said: “Our research shows that you don’t need to feel pressured to splash out on Black Friday as it’s rarely the cheapest time to shop.

“Retailers are not unaware of the extra pressure on household finances this year and will be keen to use Black Friday to attract shoppers looking to get the most for their money.

“While they’re rare, there are some genuine bargains to be had – just make sure you do your research and don’t panic buy. It’s worth comparing the price at multiple retailers and checking the product’s price history using a site such as PriceRunner or PriceSpy – that way you’ll know a good deal when you see one.”

What the retailers say


“We seek to offer our customers great value throughout the year, both through price-matching to ensure our prices are as low or lower than other retailers and with fantastic seasonal deal events that saved our customers hundreds of millions of pounds on Holiday deals last year.”


“Which?’s findings didn’t represent the value that their Black Friday promotions provide.”


Argos said that only one of the products was a Black Friday deal with all other products being part of its everyday competitive pricing and standard promotional offers.

However, Which? stated 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.’


A spokesperson said: “Of the small number of deals reviewed by Which? these were only lower prices during a promotional period – namely our January sale when we often offer big discounts on clearance items. We also offer a price match promise on our range of electrical beauty products.”

John Lewis

“Our customers can get great offers with us all year round, and while some of these prices were impacted by our retired Never Knowingly Undersold policy – we’re focused on great quality and value, having invested significantly to keep prices down in shops and online.”

Richer Sounds

“We try hard to be 100% transparent with our customers, so they can make informed buying decisions.”


“We offer great value on a range of products across all categories throughout the year, including via regular promotional events. Black Friday is one of these events and we know our customers value the deals at this time of year.”

Currys did not respond.

Four tips for shopping on Black Friday

The consumer champion provided four tips to make the most out of the Black Friday sales.

  1. Check the deal price: Use a price comparison website such as PriceRunner to see how much a product has been sold for previously, and work out whether the sale price is good value.
  2. Create a wish list: Some retailers such as Amazon let you set up a wish list for all the things that you want to buy, making it easier to notice when their prices drop. You can then easily click into your list to see what’s on offer.
  3. List products and research them ahead of the day: Every year, Which? finds products in the sales that aren’t worth buying. In 2022, the consumer champion even found products that failed its safety tests. Research what you want to buy ahead of the sale day to ensure you don’t feel pressured into buying a sub-par product.
  4. Use price promises to your advantage: Retailers such as Richer Sounds will match prices you’ve spotted elsewhere, meaning you can buy from a reputable retailer offering a good warranty but pay the lower price you’ve found on a rival site.