Only one in 20 Black Friday deals cheapest on offer, Which? investigation

Only one in 20 items are at their cheapest on Black Friday, an investigation by Which? has found as the consumer group’s figures suggest the number of genuine deals is falling. The watchdog found of 83 products it tracked on Amazon, John Lewis and Currys PC World, during the sales last year, only four were not on offer for cheaper at some point in the six months before and after. Which? found that 61 percent of the products it looked at, including smart speakers, coffee machines and tumble dryers, were available for cheaper in the six months before last year’s sale, and that 74 percent were cheaper at some point in the six months after. The consumer group said while there is no evidence that the retailers had broken consumer law, shoppers should be aware that Black Friday deals may not be as good as touted and to be wary of sales “pressure tactics”. According to data from Which?, last year’s sales had a lower percent of cheapest items on offer compared to previous years.  Similar investigations carried out by the watchdog price-tracking Black Friday deals showed that one in ten products were at their cheapest during the sale in 2017 and one in four during 2016. Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said: “We've been analysing Black Friday offers for a number of years and were shocked by how few genuine deals were available. “We have repeatedly shown that ‘deals’ touted by retailers on Black Friday are not as good as they seem. Time-limited sales can be a good opportunity to bag a bargain, but don’t fall for the pressure tactics around Black Friday.” Following the investigation, Amazon and John Lewis said they aimed to offer customers value all year round as well as on Black Friday, and Currys said 40 percent of the products on offer in its sale last year were at the lowest price they had been.  A Currys PC World spokesperson said: “We’re here to give our customers the very best value throughout the year with sales and price-matching to help make exciting technology affordable and accessible. “Our customers tell us that they appreciate 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% of those products were the lowest price they had ever been.” A spokesman for John Lewis said: “As a participating retailer in Black Friday, we offer hundreds of deals across technology, home, beauty and fashion. “In addition to the variety of offers we have instore and online during the Black Friday period, our commitment to being Never Knowingly Undersold means that we continuously monitor and match the prices of our high street competitors throughout the year. “As such, we offer our customers the best value on the high street all year round, including during the Black Friday period.”  Amazon said it disputed Which? findings that the its Echo smart speaker was on offer for cheaper before last year's Black Friday sale. A spokesman for the company said: “Amazon.co.uk customers were not able to buy the Echo (2nd gen) device cheaper before Black Friday 2018. “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 is 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.”

Only one in 20 Black Friday deals cheapest on offer, Which? investigation

Only one in 20 items are at their cheapest on Black Friday, an investigation by Which? has found as the consumer group’s figures suggest the number of genuine deals is falling.

The watchdog found of 83 products it tracked on Amazon, John Lewis and Currys PC World, during the sales last year, only four were not on offer for cheaper at some point in the six months before and after.

Which? found that 61 percent of the products it looked at, including smart speakers, coffee machines and tumble dryers, were available for cheaper in the six months before last year’s sale, and that 74 percent were cheaper at some point in the six months after.

The consumer group said while there is no evidence that the retailers had broken consumer law, shoppers should be aware that Black Friday deals may not be as good as touted and to be wary of sales “pressure tactics”. According to data from Which?, last year’s sales had a lower percent of cheapest items on offer compared to previous years. 

Similar investigations carried out by the watchdog price-tracking Black Friday deals showed that one in ten products were at their cheapest during the sale in 2017 and one in four during 2016.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said: “We've been analysing Black Friday offers for a number of years and were shocked by how few genuine deals were available.

“We have repeatedly shown that ‘deals’ touted by retailers on Black Friday are not as good as they seem. Time-limited sales can be a good opportunity to bag a bargain, but don’t fall for the pressure tactics around Black Friday.”

Following the investigation, Amazon and John Lewis said they aimed to offer customers value all year round as well as on Black Friday, and Currys said 40 percent of the products on offer in its sale last year were at the lowest price they had been. 

A Currys PC World spokesperson said: “We’re here to give our customers the very best value throughout the year with sales and price-matching to help make exciting technology affordable and accessible.

“Our customers tell us that they appreciate 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% of those products were the lowest price they had ever been.”

A spokesman for John Lewis said: “As a participating retailer in Black Friday, we offer hundreds of deals across technology, home, beauty and fashion.

“In addition to the variety of offers we have instore and online during the Black Friday period, our commitment to being Never Knowingly Undersold means that we continuously monitor and match the prices of our high street competitors throughout the year.

“As such, we offer our customers the best value on the high street all year round, including during the Black Friday period.” 

Amazon said it disputed Which? findings that the its Echo smart speaker was on offer for cheaper before last year's Black Friday sale.

A spokesman for the company said: “Amazon.co.uk customers were not able to buy the Echo (2nd gen) device cheaper before Black Friday 2018.

“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 is 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.”