Black Friday: What bargains are Northern Ireland shoppers bagging?
Black Friday, the American post-Thanksgiving pre-Christmas discount frenzy that’s been enthusiastically embraced by the UK high street is here.
In Northern Ireland, and elsewhere, it used to be a welcome way of bagging a festive bargain but shoppers are becoming increasingly more wary of sneaky non-deals designed to part us from our cash.
What bargains have you bagged? Send us a pic and the amount of money you saved to firstname.lastname@example.org
Indeed, earlier this week, consumer champion Which? warned that a worrying number of last year’s Black Friday offers weren’t genuine.
In fact the watchdog said many so-called deals were actually cheaper, or available at the same price, if you’d bought them at another time.
Which? monitored the prices of 83 products on sale on Black Friday (November 23) last year, from six months before the retail bonanza until six months after.
It looked at big ticket items from retailers, including Currys/PC World, Amazon and John Lewis, and found that just four of the products surveyed were cheaper on Black Friday than at any other time that year.
Many had been cheaper or the same price on at least one day in the previous six months, and three-quarters were cheaper or the same price at some point in the six months after Black Friday.
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Richard Headland, editor-in-chief at Which?, said they have “repeatedly shown that the majority of products available as Black Friday ‘deals’ are actually cheaper or the same price at other points in the year”.
This year, many stores, including Boots and Amazon, began their promotions early, stretching from last Friday until next Monday, offering shoppers a full ten days to get their hands on cut-price merchandise.
Some retail giants steadfastly refuse to get involved — including Marks & Spencer, Ikea and Primark - but most retailers, from Argos and Superdrug to ASOS, are participating again this year.
But how do you know if you’re getting a true bargain or not?
Well, if you’re thinking about making any purchases, Mr Headland has advised consumers to visit the pricechecker website uk.camelcamelcamel.com first as it it will reveal how the price of your desired item has changed over time.
For example, if you were interested in buying the Ring Video Doorbell that is retailing for £119 in Amazon’s Black Friday promotion that is currently running.
CamelCamelCamel shows that a little over a year ago you could have picked it up for £95.20 on the site.
Amazon told Which?: “We seek to offer customers great value thanks to low prices all year round as well as a number of fantastic seasonal deals events.”
Research carried out by SEMrush, which collects data on internet searches, found that the top ten most commonly searched Black Friday products were Nintendo Switch, Airpods, PS4, Dyson, Xbox One X, Apple Watch, PS4 Pro, iPad, Xbox one, iPhone 11.
Barclays has warned that with such big ticket items comes a danger of scams, and it discovered that Black Friday victims lose an average of £661.
Ross Martin, Barclays head of digital safety, advised consumers to be wary of deals that look too good to be true and to take their time over a purchase.
Shoppers shouldn’t enter card details into a website if they don’t see the padlock sign that denotes a secure connection, and they should keep a close eye on their bank account to spot any fraudulent transactions quickly.
Here are five genuine Black Friday deals:
- Marvin the Moose toy . Was £18. Now £9. House of Fraser.
- Men’s blue check shirt. Was £59.95. Now £29.95. Joules.
- Women’s pink cardigan. Was £135. Now £94. Jigsaw.
- Women’s robe coat. Was £110. Now £55. Debenhams.
- Evo Cruise Scooter. Was £49. Now £25. Halfords.
Meanwhile, poor quality products are being sold at discount prices this Black Friday, a separate investigation has found.
Which? has unveiled a selection of items that failed to perform in its rigorous, independent tests, and it has subsequently rated them as ‘Don’t Buys’ ahead of the annual bargain-hunting bonanza.
Although ‘Don’t Buy’ status means a product should be avoided at all costs, researchers found these items available in Black Friday sales on the websites of major retailers, including Argos, AO.com, AppliancesDirect, Currys PC World and Halfords. So for all you bargain-hunters, here are six duds to disregard according to Which?
- The Lenovo IdeaPad S145-15IWL laptop has been listed by Which? as a Don’t Buy with experts highlighting the “bad speakers” and “poor screen” as revealed by Which? tests. The same product was available for £199.99 on Argos — promoted as ‘Save a third’ and ‘Was £299.99’.
- The Graco Logico L Highback Booster car seat was available from Halfords for £39.99 — a saving of £10 — with an additional ‘Black Friday Deal’ of 10% extra off. Which? has labelled this car seat as a Don’t Buy. When Which? carried out its own independent crash tests, the results in the side crash test with the back fitted meant it would have exposed the child to a risk of serious injury. It was even worse with the back removed.
- The Marshall Major III bluetooth headphones were described as having “poor sound quality and comfort” and labelled as a Don’t Buy. Which? spotted them on Currys PC World for £79.00 promoted as a ‘Black Tag Deal’, explaining that the product “Was £129.00” and offering the chance to “save £50”.
- The Russell Hobbs Sabre Plus 22.2V cordless vacuum is rated a Which? Don’t Buy. It was being sold by AO.com for £89 — a saving of £10 in the retailer’s ‘Biggest Ever Black Friday’. Which? experts described it as “terrible at pet hair” and “awful at carpets”.
- The Beko VCS5125AB corded vacuum was being sold by AppliancesDirect for £54 — a £31 saving. It was labelled as a Don’t Buy following Which? tests. The watchdog stated that it was “inconvenient on stairs and high places” and “bad at negotiating uneven surfaces”.
- The ElectriQ EAP120HC air purifier was available for £39.97 in the sale at AppliancesDirect — less than half price (a saving of £48) as a ‘Black Friday Deal’. Which? testing has found that this device was not up to the job.
Which? has advised shoppers to do their research to assess whether the price and quality of the product they are considering makes it the right deal for them.
The consumer champion said it has heard from consumers who felt rushed into buying a product due to a big headline ‘saving’, with some citing “was/now” pricing tactics as the reason for parting with their cash.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said it pays to do your homework properly before purchasing products.
“Our research has found substandard products at reduced prices this Black Friday, suggesting that you should take the sales with a pinch of salt to avoid ending up with a dud,” she said. “If you want a high-performing product that will last you well, you need to look beyond the sales price and seek out independent, thorough test results.”
Here are some top tips for shopping the Black Friday sales:
- Don’t impulse buy — Work out what you need or want to buy and how much you’re prepared to spend before you start shopping in the sales.
- Don’t panic — Don’t worry about missing out on a good offer as our research has revealed that you could be better off waiting until after Black Friday anyway.
- Do your research — Look at the price on previous days, using sites such as PriceRunner, to make sure you really are getting a good deal.
- Don’t always trust reviews you find online — Our recent investigation revealed how shoppers are being misled by unscrupulous sellers using fake online product reviews; and
- Check which.co.uk/blackfriday for a pick of the best bargains out there, as well as the duds to avoid.
Belfast Telegraph Digital