BLACK Friday is just days away, but shoppers are being warned to take the offers “with a pinch of salt” as you might not get the best price.

Just 2% of discounted Black Friday deals were at their cheapest price on the day of the sales event last year, according to Which?.

Which? is warning customers to be wary of Black Friday deals this year

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Which? is warning customers to be wary of Black Friday deals this yearCredit: Alamy

The consumer group warned that the vast majority of deals were cheaper, or the same price, at other times.

This year, Black Friday will take place on November 24, followed by Cyber Monday on November 27, though many deals have already started early.

Which? analysed 208 Black Friday deals last year at eight major home and technology retailers – Amazon, AO, Argos, Boots, Currys, John Lewis, Richer Sounds and Very – looking at their prices every day in the six months before and after the sale day on November 25.

It found just five of the deals were at their cheapest on Black Friday itself.

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Black Friday sales often begin earlier in November and continue after the sale day itself, so Which? also extended the sales period to include November 18 until December 2, taking in Cyber Monday.

It still found that 86% of products were the same price or cheaper at other times of the year.

Cyber Monday is a day when retailers slash their prices online for a final 24 hours.

In one example, Apple Airpods 2nd generation headphones at both Argos and Currys were discounted from £139 to £119 but were cheaper than their Black Friday price every day between May 25 and September 9, when the price varied between £99 and £109.

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The price only increased in September to £139 then dropped to £119 in Black Friday week.

At Amazon, the Garmin Lily Sports Edition smart watch was discounted from £199 to £149, but Which? found it had been cheaper on 58 days before Black Friday, including at £114.99 during the Amazon Prime Day sale, when the retailer often offers significant discounts.

At Argos, three quarters (75%) of products that were on offer on Black Friday and included in Which?’s analysis were cheaper at other times of the year – the highest proportion for any of the retailers included in the study.

The vast majority of products at Argos were TVs, which typically drop in price after new models are launched in the spring.

One TV was £120 cheaper than the Black Friday price the following March.

Argos told Which? that only one product in its analysis was a Black Friday deal.

But the watchdog found many of the Argos products included in its analysis had Black Friday included in the online URL and were included in a section of the retailer’s website called “Black Friday deals and hot products”.

Amazon had the second-highest percentage (69%) of products that were cheaper than their Black Friday price at other times of the year.

Amazon also has its own sale day event – Amazon Prime Day.

At Very, AO and Richer Sounds, Which? found around half the products were cheaper in the six months before or after Black Friday.

Retailers rarely make direct claims that they are offering the very best price on Black Friday, but Which? said “shoppers could be forgiven for believing this is when the best discounts of the year are available, given the massive fanfare and marketing around the sales period”.

Which? urged shoppers not to feel pressured into making purchases on Black Friday but to take time to make sure a product was good quality and on sale at a price that genuinely offered value for money.

Ele Clark, Which? retail editor, said: “Retailers are not unaware of the extra pressure on household finances this year and will be keen to use Black Friday to attract shoppers looking to get the most for their money.

“While they’re rare, there are some genuine bargains to be had – just make sure you do your research and don’t panic buy. “

Ele added that checking a product’s price history is key to knowing whether something is a good deal or not.

Sites such as PriceRunner or PriceSpy help you to compare the price at multiple retailers as well as it’s history.

An Amazon spokesman said: “Which? has looked at fewer than 30 products in their analysis.

“Our 2023 Black Friday Sale will offer hundreds and thousands of deals to customers, including our lowest prices of the year on a range of top brands including Ninja, Braun, ghd, and our own Amazon devices.”

While an Argos spokeswoman said the retailer offers “hundreds of great value deals across a wide range or products each year.”

While an AO spokeswoman said Which’s research “doesn’t represent the value that Black Friday’s promotional period delivers for hard-pressed households to reduce the cost of Christmas.”

How do I find the best Black Friday deals?

Black Friday was originally the annual US-only shopping date that coincided with Thanksgiving celebrations.

Fast-forward to 2023, and it is now a global affair that sees tens of thousands of brands and retailers taking part.

But there are plenty of scams to keep a watchful eye out for.

Also, even if it seems like a huge deal, you should check what the price of the item was a few weeks before to be sure.

During the sales, online shoppers can maximise their savings by signing up to a cashback site.

Sites like TopCashback.co.uk are free to join and offer money back on purchases made at hundreds of retailers, across all categories.

Also knowing exactly what you want to buy and doing a bit of research beforehand can also make all the difference.

Here are some shopping tips to help you nab the biggest discounts come November 24.

  • Avoid impulse buys and make a list of what you want and need to buy during Black Friday and stick with it!
  • Check the RRP of items you’re interested in a few weeks before the sales start to compare discounts when they launch.
  • Compare prices of items between retailers as you may find it cheaper elsewhere and save yourself some extra cash.
  • Use websites such as PriceRunner to check the cost of coveted items previously.

Meanwhile, Poundland has launched a Black Friday sale for the first time with up to 80% off brands including Yankee Candle and Olaplex.

You can check out all the amazing deals as they drop in our best Black Friday deals guide, which we are updating regularly.

Plus, for more info on the mega sale and which chains are taking part see our explainer.

You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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