The great Black Friday rip off revealed

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