Black Friday deals cheaper at other times, Which? warns shoppers

A Which? investigation has revealed that nearly nine in 10 of last year’s Black Friday ‘deals’ were cheaper or the same price at other times of the year.

The consumer research company has warned shoppers to do their research before hitting the sales.

Which? tracked the prices of 94 popular products, including TVs, cameras and fitness trackers, that were on offer over Black Friday 2017, from six months before until six months afterwards. Interestingly, a staggering 87 per cent of products were cheaper at other times of the year, and the company said this raises questions over the true value of Black Friday.

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The investigation analysed deals at leading retailers Currys PC World, Amazon, John Lewis and Argos, finding that almost half (46 per cent) of products on offer were sold for less in the six months following Black Friday (Dec 2017 to May 2018). Which? is now urging shoppers not to feel pressured into making a purchase this Black Friday – on 23 November.

When looking at the two-week period surrounding Black Friday itself, Which? found that three-quarters (76 per cent) of products were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year, and 74 per cent could be picked up for the same price or less in the six months after.

Which? analysed the prices of 94 popular tech, home and personal products that were on offer on Black Friday last year, compared to their prices in the six months before and after.

The investigation included a look at:

An LG 60-inch 4K TV – £50 cheaper on at least 62 occasions after Black Friday;

A Sony Cybershot HX60B Superzoom compact camera – found £10 cheaper at least 27 times in June and July 2017;

A Fitbit Alta HR activity tracker – not advertised as a Black Friday deal – sold at £109.99 with a £10 discount applied by John Lewis on the day. Which? found that on at least 60 occasions afterwards a further £20 discount was applied in mid-December, dropping to £39.99 for at least 21 days during March and April 2018.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said: “The results of our investigation will disappoint many who are expecting nothing but bargains this Black Friday.

“While retailers are bombarding us with promises of great discounts and time-limited sales, it’s clear that not all deals are as good as they might appear. To bag a bargain, do your research and don’t get carried away by the hype when shopping in the upcoming sales.”

Amazon told Which?: “We offer many thousands of incredible deals around Black Friday representing millions of pounds of savings for our customers across a vast selection of products.”

An Argos spokesperson said: “During Black Friday our customers benefit from a huge range of deals on a wide range of products, all at the same time. This does not exclude these products from other promotions.”

Currys PC World told Which? that it offers great value on products throughout the year, and offers customers pricing transparency by stating in all channels exactly when a product was available for a higher price.

A John Lewis spokesperson said that prices are matched throughout the year as part of its Never Knowingly Undersold commitment, meaning that when competitors run promotions prices are lowered to match, and that the Black Friday period is no different.