By Digital Producer and Presenter Rishi Davda
Massive queues, screaming shoppers and discount deals are just some of the things we’ve come to associate with Black Friday. An annual sale spectacular which started in the US but now firmly has a grip on the rest of the world.
One thing is for sure, Black Friday 2020 (November 27) will be like no other. For starters, non-essential shops are currently closed in England in an attempt to control the spread of coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean that Black Friday is cancelled, far from it.
What could Black Friday look like this year?
Consumers in the UK could spend well over £750 million this Black Friday, a pretty substantial increase on the £718 million spent in 2019. That’s according to Lloyds Banking Group, whose research also shows that nearly two thirds of shoppers have delayed a purchase in order to bag a bargain this week.
It looks like despite Covid-19 hitting many people hard financially, shoppers with money to spend will be capitalising on Black Friday from behind their computer screens.
Nationwide Building Society has 15 million members and anticipates them making more than 6.5 million transactions this Friday, each spending £172 on average.
Is it all it’s cracked up to be?Some advertising campaigns would have you believe that Black Friday is the only day of the year to get everything you need at a fraction of the price, but this simply isn’t true.
Which? examined the prices of 219 home and technology products for six months before the 2019 Black Friday sale and for six months afterwards.
Only 1% of the items it looked at were at their cheapest on Black Friday itself. In fact, 85% of the goods they analysed were actually the same price or less before Black Friday.
That’s not say that there aren’t good deals out there, because there are, but you have check and compare prices ahead of time to make sure you are actually getting a good deal and not a normal deal with a shiny Black Friday sticker on it.
We now see discounts extended through the weekend into Cyber Monday and lots of companies have made Black Friday deals available already.
For example, Amazon runs a Black Friday Week with daily lighting deals expiring after a certain time has elapsed. Amazon’s best deals are often on their own-brand tech, like the Echo or Fire TV Stick. Tech giants Apple hold a special four-day event but rather than offering direct discounts on products, you’ll get an Apple store gift card with an eligible purchase.
How to get the best Black Friday deals?
Research plays a key roll in getting what you want for a good price. Money expert Martin Lewis says you should do the following things:
Check out the products you want beforehand. It’s no use grabbing a bargain if the product is no good. Read the reviews to find out which products are best for you and and your budget.
Make a list of different retailers selling the same product. The rush of activity on Black Friday can cause websites to crash and retailers to run out of stock. Having a backup shop will make sure you don’t miss out.
Start Early: Promotions are already up and running on many sites. The best deals are likely to be snapped up quickly - especially expensive items - and some products may already have sold out.
Look at the price, not the ‘saving’. Don’t assume a deal is worth it just because it claims to offer a big saving. Offers such as ‘was £100, now £50’ often exaggerate the discount you’re actually getting.
Don’t forget about Cyber Monday (November 30): Some retailers, particularly those focused on computing, will have deals on laptops, desktop PCs, printers and more. If you didn't get the product you wanted on Black Friday, then keep checking over the weekend and on Monday to see more deals.
What to watch out for?
With millions scouring the internet for deals on everything from flower pots to 4K TVs, you’re bound to come across adverts offering you eye-wateringly good deals that can’t be matched anywhere else.
It’s important to be aware that there are scams out there, people trying to take your money. They can be especially prominent on popular shopping days, when shoppers are actively looking to spend money and get the best deals.
HSBC encourages internet users to use safe websites and use secure ways to pay, such as a debit or credit card. Other tips include:
Research the retailer online - check for reviews and that the website address is spelled correctly.
Be wary of requests to pay by bank transfer.
Check the returns and cancellations policy.
Avoid any arrangements with a stranger asking for an upfront payment.
This Black Friday will be remembered as the one where most of the shops were shut, but it remains to be seen if sales on the day and through the whole Black Friday period will be drastically hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are going to be shopping in the sales then the advice is to compare prices, watch out for scams and if deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.