Black Friday: Investigation pours cold water on so-called deals

Consumer watchdog tracked 83 products and found them cheaper or same price at other times

 Which? urged people to not get carried away by the hype of Black Friday and to do their research. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

Which? urged people to not get carried away by the hype of Black Friday and to do their research. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

 

Nearly all the so-called deals to be found on Black Friday are cheaper or the same price at other times of the year, according to an investigation carried out by the British consumer watchdog Which?

The consumer group tracked the prices of 83 products on sale on Black Friday last year for six months before the day in question until six months after it.

Amongst the retailers it on which it focused were Currys PC World and Amazon. While it focused on UK retailers, many are also operating in the Republic.

It was able to find just four products that were cheaper on Black Friday than at other times of the year. More than 60 per cent of the the products on offer - which included speakers, soundbars and kitchen appliances - were cheaper or the same price on at least one day in the six months before the annual sales event in November last year.

When looking at the two-week period surrounding Black Friday itself - including sales prices in the week before and after - Which? found that three quarters of products were cheaper or the same price in the six months after.

The consumer group was careful to point out that there was no evidence that retailers were breaking the law but it expressed concern that shoppers could be confused by Black Friday offers that might not be as good as they sound.

It urged people to not get carried away by the hype of Black Friday and to do their research.

“We have repeatedly shown that ‘deals’ touted by retailers on Black Friday are not as good as they seem,” said Natalie Hitchins. “Time-limited sales can be a good opportunity to bag a bargain, but don’t fall for the pressure tactics around Black Friday. Our investigation indicates that this popular shopping event is all hype and there are few genuine discounts.”

In response to the Which research Amazon said it its Black Friday sale was “about thousands of deals on a huge selection of products from every category across the site, at a time of year when we know saving money is important to our customers. And the best thing about shopping online is that customers can easily compare prices, allowing them to make an informed purchase decision.”

A Currys PC World spokesperson said its customers appreciated “the increased choice during Black Friday where we have the most deals on at once. When we launched our Black Friday event last year 40 per cent of those products were the lowest price they had ever been.”