The great Black Friday rip off revealed

Vector illustration Black Friday Sale: Scandinavian or russian style knitted embroidery pattern with borders and deers. White, b

Half of the deals offered on Black Friday last year weren't as good as they claimed to be. In fact 49% of the products being sold as deals were cheaper the month before Black Friday - or the month after. The findings come from consumer group Which?, and demonstrate why we need to keep our wits about us if we're going to find genuine deals.

Which? tracked deals on 20 popular tech gadgets and home appliances on Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys and John Lewis for the three months before and two months after Black Friday last year. The results show that only half (51%) of the products were cheapest on Black Friday itself, with the remainder cheaper before or after the day.

The one-day only offers were particularly poor. Only 8% of them were actually cheapest on Black Friday. By contrast, 12% were cheaper at some point in the three months leading up to the sale, and 38% were cheaper in the weeks afterwards.

In response to the study, Currys said that keeping prices low after an event like Black Friday is good for shoppers. Likewise, AO said that some products may remain on promotion beyond Black Friday, adding that this gives customers 'great deals beyond just the one day a year'.

However, as Pete Moorey, Head of Campaigns for Which? said: "Shoppers might be surprised to learn that only half of Black Friday deals are actually cheapest on Black Friday. If you're thinking about starting your Christmas shopping around Black Friday, do your research as some 'deals' may not be all they're cracked up to be."

Get a better deal

If you are planning to hunt down a deal, therefore, Moorey says you need to do your own research, and check the prices well before the sale, so you have something to compare the deals to. You can also use a number of different websites that track price changes for any product over time., for example, tracks prices on Amazon, so you can see how the current price compares historically. It's worth pointing out that the exchange rate will have impacted many prices in recent months - pushing the cost up as the value of the pound fell - but you can get an overall feel from the trackers.

Moorey adds that if you are not impressed with a Black Friday discount, and you're not under a huge time pressure, then it may well pay to hold off. Deals were more likely to be better after Black Friday than in the months leading up to it, so the pre-Christmas or January sales may prove a better bet.

Top ten facts about Black Friday
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Top ten facts about Black Friday
Black Friday originated in the USA in 1950s/1960s and takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving. 
Black Friday was brought over to the UK by Asda in 2010, part of the Walmart group.
However in 2015 the supermarket didn't take part in the event and it hasn't been confirmed if they will be launching any Black Friday sales in 2016. 
In 2015 the average spend instore was £41 while the average amount spent my customers online was £92. 
On Black Friday in 2015 £1.1 billion was spent and there was £3.3 billion spent over the weekend as a whole, including Cyber Monday.  
A staggering 1.4 million people went into debt as a result of their spending on Black Friday in 2015. 
When surveyed, 22% of Brits admitted to having bought something on Black Friday through the years. 
Is Black Friday on it's way out in the USA? Controversially Walmart opened their doors on Thanksgiving evening in 2011 and have done since then. Other stores have started to follow suit, potentially marking the end of the popular discount day.

There is some suggestion the day got its name to represent the first day shops went 'into the black' and made a profit, but there's not hard and fast evidence to support this.

This year Black Friday will take place on 25 November. Find out everything you need to know about deals, discounts and which shops are taking part here.

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