Only 14% of Black Friday deals offer a real discount, warns Which?

Just one in seven Black Friday deals provide a genuine discount for consumers in the UK, according to new research.

A study from Which? found that most promotions are cheaper or the same price in the six months before the sales phenomenon.

Last year the consumer organisation investigated over 200 Black Friday deals across seven home and tech retail retailers - Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, John Lewis, Richer Sounds and Very - to compare their Black Friday discounts to their every day prices in the six months before the shopping event, as well as the day after.

It found that 86 per cent of deals were cheaper or the same as their Black Friday price in the six months before the day, while 98 per cent were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year. None were actually cheaper on Black Friday.

“Our research shows that finding a good deal on Black Friday is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Reena Sewraz, Which? retail editor. “It’s rarely the cheapest time to shop and you’ll probably find the things you want are the same price or cheaper as we head towards Christmas, the New Year and beyond.”

Which? said it found a Zanussi ZHB62670XA chimney cooker hood listed for £239 on Black Friday in 2021 at John Lewis, with a £30 saving. But it had been the same price since 9 November, and was reduced to £160 for two weeks in August.

As it only increased to £269 on around five weeks before Black Friday, the £30 saving didn’t really represent good value for money, said Which?

“The offers referred to in this research were as a result of our Never Knowingly Undersold price match pledge which applied until earlier this year, where we price matched high street competitors throughout the year," said a John Lewis spokesperson. "We retired Never Knowingly Undersold this August and are investing £500m – 25 per cent higher than last year – so all our customers can benefit from great quality and value, whether they shop in store or online.”

At AO, researchers at Which? found a Leisure KIR81VSF0G freestanding electric range cooker for £969 on Black Friday last year with a £30 saving. But it remained at this price until 23 December 2021, when it dropped further.

Which? found that it did not return to above the pre-Black Friday price until February 2022.

An AO spokesperson said: “We’re proud of our role over the last 20 years in driving down prices for customers. The internet is almost always the cheapest place to buy electricals and our over 350,000 4-star-plus Trustpilot reviews demonstrate it’s also a better way to buy the category. Black Friday itself remains but one part of the many deals we offer customers through the year.”

But Which? said that the worst culprits for "dubious discounts" were Amazon and Very, with more than 70 per cent of products included in its analysis proving cheaper at other times of the year compared to their Black Friday price.

An Amazon spokesperson 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 offers thousands of deals from every category across the site at a time of year when we know saving money is important to our customers.”

Finding a worthwhile deal on Black Friday, which falls on 25th November this year, is not the only thing consumers should be concerned about in 2022.

Brits are being warned to brace for a surge in purchase scams after Black Friday and Cyber Monday later this week.

A recent report from Barclays found that the number of reported purchase scams after Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year rose by 34 per cent. The average loss to scammers was £1,072.

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