Nearly nine in 10 Black Friday “deals” could be found at the same price or cheaper earlier in the year, analysis by Which? suggests.
Which? tracked the prices of 219 popular home and tech products over the course of a year, for six months before Black Friday 2019 and six months after.
The consumer group tracked products from Amazon, AO.com, Argos, Currys PC World and John Lewis. It found 85% could be found cheaper or the same price in the six months before.
When Which? compared a year’s worth of prices for these products, which included home and tech goods such as headphones, fridge freezers and soundbars, it found only three out of the 219 items tracked were at their cheapest price of the year on Black Friday.
Out of the retailers Which? looked at, the consumer group said Currys PC World was the most likely to have its Black Friday offerings cheaper or the same price in the six months before. This was the case for 47 out of 49 (96%) products.
Among the examples, Which? found that at Currys PC World a set of Bose headphones was £249 on Black Friday but had been cheaper or the same price on at least 15 occasions in the six months prior.
John Lewis was not far behind with 70 of the 78 (90%) Black Friday deals Which? tracked cheaper or the same price ahead of time.
Which? found a De’Longhi coffee machine at John Lewis cost £1,285 in the Black Friday sale, but the machine had been at the same price or less on at least 35 occasions in the six months before, falling to less than £1,200 on several days in May and June 2019.
AO had a total of 38 out of 44 (86%) Black Friday deals included in the Which? research cheaper or the same price before the big day.
When it came to the Black Friday deals tracked at Argos, Which? found 15 out of 18 (86%) had been cheaper or the same price in the six months before Black Friday.
Amazon came out top of the retailers Which? looked at – but still had just over half (57%) of products analysed cheaper or the same price in the six months before Black Friday.
At Amazon, Which? found a “bargain” on a Shark handheld vacuum cleaner at £97 on Black Friday 2019, just over half the £180 maximum it had been.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: “Do some research first. That way you’ll know a genuine bargain when you see one.”
Amazon said: “We seek to offer our customers great value thanks to low prices all year round as well as a number of fantastic seasonal deals events.
“Our Black Friday Sale is about thousands of deals on a huge selection of products from every category across the site, at a time of year when we know saving money is important to our customers.”
AO said: “We offer great deals for our customers all year. Last year’s Black Friday event had over 9,000 fantastic and fair offers for customers and we expect this year to be even bigger.”
An Argos statement said: “Our Black Friday event gives customers access to hundreds of products at their lowest ever price. They may also be part of sales and promotions we run the following year.”
Currys PC World said throughout the year it is continuously price-matching and it has additional sales “to ensure we keep our promise of amazing tech that is affordable and accessible”.
John Lewis said: “As a participating retailer in Black Friday, we offer hundreds of deals across technology, home, beauty and fashion.
“In addition to the variety of offers we have in-store and online during the promotional period, our never knowingly undersold price promise means that we continuously monitor and match the prices of our high street competitors throughout the year.”
Shoppers are also being warned to watch out for criminals this Black Friday (November 27).
Barclays said its data on shopping scams suggests consumers who fall victim to an online scam this week could lose an average of £735 each.
The bank said electronics, trainers, phones and clothing are popular products used to reel victims in.
Criminals set up fake websites and may offer goods that are bogus, shoddy or never arrive.