Amazon and Very were the worst retailers overall for dubious discounts, with more than 70% of analysed products cheaper at other times of the year compared to their Black Friday price.
Just one in seven deals on Black Friday offer a genuine discount, according to new research from Which?.
The consumer champion analysed 214 Black Friday deals last year at seven major home and tech retailers – Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, John Lewis, Richer Sounds and Very – looking at their prices every day in the six months before and after the sale day (26 November 2021).
It found the majority of promotions (183 – or 86%) were cheaper or the same price in the six months before the sales. Of the deals, 209 (98%) were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year. None were cheaper on Black Friday alone.
With the mammoth sales event just 72 hours away, genuine discounts are few and far between, with Which? urging customers not to fall victim to the hype.
In one example, Which? researchers found a Zanussi ZHB62670XA chimney cooker hood was £239 on Black Friday in 2021 at John Lewis – a £30 saving.
But it had been the same price since 9 November and was reduced to £160 for a fortnight in August. It only increased to £269 on 13 October, meaning the so-called £30 saving didn’t really represent good value for money.
The Toshiba 43UL2163DBC TV was £279 at Very on Black Friday last year, with a claimed £100 saving. Which? found it had been £379 for just three days in the month before Black Friday.
It stayed at £279 until 22 December 2021, when it dropped further to £275.
Amazon and Very’s dubious discounts
Even taking into account Cyber Monday sales, Which? found that 186 (87%) of deals had a lower or equal price at another time.
Amazon and Very were the worst retailers overall for dubious discounts, with more than 70% of products included in Which?’s analysis cheaper at other times of the year compared to their Black Friday price.
When Which? spoke to the retailers about its findings, all – apart from Currys and Very, who didn’t respond – said that Black Friday is a key time for deals but is just part of efforts to offer savings throughout the year.
Therefore, consumers should not feel pressured to part with their cash, as they may not be making a genuine saving.
Reena Sewraz, Which? retail editor, said: “Our research shows that finding a good deal on Black Friday is like looking for a needle in a haystack. 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.
“Retailers are not blind to the extra pressures on people’s finances this year and will be keen to use Black Friday to attract people looking to get the most for their money, so we should still expect some deals. Our advice is to take the time to do some research if you want to find a genuine bargain.”