Published: 22/11/2021

Top tips for Black Friday sales

Looking for some Black Friday deals this year?  Here’s our top tips for the sales.

When is Black Friday?

Check your products first

Don’t grab a bargain if the product's no good.

It pays to do your research. Which? have lab test results for thousands of products, use them to find out the best products for you and your budget.

Look out for unusual brands

Samsung and Sony are known for their TVs, but what about other makes? Ultra-cheap deals are everywhere on Black Friday. Just because a TV has 4K and HDR plastered across the advert isn’t assurance it will have as good a picture as a Best Buy model.

Not all unkowns are bad, but there’s a reason why some only crop up in a sale.

Buying tech, know the lifecycles

Most smartphones, TVs and tablets, are released on a one-year cycle, so it’s only 12 months before there's a shiny new device to get excited about.

The tech companies try to tempt you into buying the latest release, but the unfashionable device celebrating its first birthday could still be more than adequate and it's also far more likely to be on sale.

Check out your favourite products' price history

There are useful web tools you can use to check how much a product has actually been sold for previously so you can work out whether the 'sale' price really represents good value.

CamelCamelCamel, for example, provides price history for products sold on Amazon, whereas PriceRunner has wider market coverage.

List the different retailers selling the same product

The craziness of Black Friday can cause websites to crash and retailers to run out of stock. Having a pre-prepared list of stockists will mean you can try others so you don’t miss out if this happens while you're trying to buy a product.

Check out whether retailers will match prices

Some retailers will match prices on Black Friday deals. Some, including Currys, will match almost any price you see. Others such as John Lewis exclude online-only retailers such as Amazon or from their price promises.

Some shops may agree to refund the difference if you challenge them about a price drop soon after you’ve bought something.

Get ready with online accounts

Websites often slow to a crawl on Black Friday and popular deals to sell out quickly, so you need to be fleet of foot!

Open online accounts with your favourite retailers, pre-enter your payment and shipping details, and save them to your account so you can complete purchases quickly once deals are live.

Know what you want

You can set up wish-lists on some websites.

A pre-created list makes it easier to see when prices drop, especially useful on Black Friday when big websites will be flooded with deals on things you don't want. You can click into your list to check if anything you have your eye on is on offer.

Start early

Many retailers launch deals a week or two before Black Friday. Some retailers are running promotions through the whole of November. Don’t hang about. The best deals go quickly.

Keep an eye out during the month, and check Which?’s Black Friday insider's guide to stay on top of offers as they're announced.

Spend and earn

Check whether you could be getting something back when you spend.

Free to sign up cashback sites Quidco and Topcashback offer deals at more than 4,000 retailers. Don’t be tempted by cashback leading you towards a poor-value product. Consider it a bonus, not your starting point for deciding what to buy and where from.

Boost your cashback with a credit card that rewards you for your spending, whether that's in air miles, retail vouchers or money off your credit card statement. But pay the balance off in full each month to avoid interest charges.

Check 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.

Can you return it?

Buying in-store, you can only return non-faulty goods for an exchange or refund if the retailer has a returns policy. Most do, but they're not required to by law.

Online buying gives you more rights: you have 14 days from the date of delivery to cancel an order and a further 14 days to return it for a full refund. You should also get the original standard postal costs back.

Some shops offer extended returns periods for gifts in the run up to Christmas. Check whether the policies entitle you to the money back or just a credit note/exchange.

Then there’s Cyber Monday

Black Friday was for the high street. Cyber Monday was for online. More money is spent now on the internet than in store on Black Friday but don’t ignore Cyber Monday.

Those “tech” retailers, will have deals on laptops, printers and more. If you missed out on Black Friday, keep checking over the weekend and on Monday to see more deals.