Many see Black Friday (27 November) as the perfect time to snap up deals on electrical goods, toys and clothes just in time for Christmas.
However, not every bargain is what it seems, with analysis by consumer group Which? revealing that almost nine in 10 Black Friday offers can in fact be found for sale at the same price - or cheaper - earlier in the year.
Only 3 out of 219 products were cheapest on Black Friday
Over the course of a year, the consumer group tracked the prices of 219 popular home and tech products. They did this for six months before Black Friday 2019, and six months after.
The items - including headphones and fridge freezers - were sold by Amazon, AO.com, Argos, Currys PC World and John Lewis. Analysis found that 85 per cent of products could be found either cheaper or for the same price in the six months prior to Black Friday.
Which? discovered that only three out of the 219 items tracked were at their cheapest price of the year on Black Friday.
Out of the retailers Which? analysed, the consumer experts said Currys PC World was most likely to have its Black Friday products cheaper or the same price in the six months before the annual discount day, which was the case for 47 out of 49 (96 per cent) products.
For example, Which? found that a pair of Bose headphones at Currys PC World was priced at £249 on Black Friday 2019, but had been cheaper or the same price on at least 15 occasions during the six months before this.
Currys PC World said that, throughout the year, it is continuously price-matching and it has additional sales in order to keep its “promise of amazing tech that is affordable and accessible.”
Analysis also found that 70 of the 78 John Lewis Black Friday deals (a total of 90 per cent) were cheaper or the same price prior to the event.
Which? found that a De’Longhi coffee machine at John Lewis - costing £1,285 in the Black Friday sale - had been at the same price or less on at least 35 occasions in the six months beforehand, dropping to less than £1,200 on several days in May and June 2019.
John Lewis said that, alongside its Black Friday deals, its “never knowingly undersold price promise” means that the retailer can “continuously monitor and match the prices of [its] high street competitors throughout the year.”
AO had a total of 38 out of 44 (86 per cent) Black Friday deals which were cheaper or the same price before the annual event.
Similarly, Which? found that 15 out of 18 (86 per cent) Argos deals had been cheaper or the same price in the six months before Black Friday.
Just over half (57 per cent) of Amazon products that Which? analysed were cheaper or the same price in the six months before Black Friday.
‘Do some research first’
Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, explained the importance of research when it comes to Black Friday deal shopping.
She said, “Do some research first. That way you’ll know a genuine bargain when you see one.”