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Which? reveals 87% of Black Friday bargains were cheaper earlier in year

Currys PC World. Sony Cybershot HX60B Superzoom compact camera. Black Friday Deal: £189. £10 cheaper at least 27 times in June and July 2017
Currys PC World. Sony Cybershot HX60B Superzoom compact camera. Black Friday Deal: £189. £10 cheaper at least 27 times in June and July 2017
John Lewis: Fitbit Alta HR activity tracker £109.99. Not a Black Friday deal, but was sold at £109.99 with a £10 discount applied on the day
Amazon: LG 60UJ630V 60-inch 4K TV. Black Friday Deal: £799 £50 cheaper on at least 62 occasions after Black Friday
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

Nine out of 10 of last year's Black Friday 'deals' were cheaper before or after the US-inspired discount day, an investigation has found.

New research from consumer group Which? has revealed that the overwhelming majority (87%) of products were actually cheaper at other times of the year.

Which? is now warning shoppers to do their research before hitting the sales this year on November 23, adding that the results of its study "brings into question the true value of Black Friday".

The group tracked prices of 94 popular tech, home and personal products, including flat-screen televisions, cameras and fitness trackers, over the course of last year.

Of the deals analysed at leading retailers, 59 were from Currys PC World, 18 from Amazon, 14 from John Lewis and three were from Argos.

It emerged that almost half (46%) of products on offer were sold for less in the six months following Black Friday (Dec 2017 to May 2018).

A 60-inch TV advertised by Amazon at £799 on Black Friday, for example, was £50 cheaper on at least 62 occasions after Black Friday and even dropped a further £150 at least four days at the end of December and beginning of January.

Similarly, a Sony Cybershot HX60B Superzoom compact camera advertised by Currys PC World as £189 (save £10) on Black Friday was £10 cheaper at least 27 times in June and July 2017.

Which? also found that it was also cheaper by £10 or more at least 43 times in the six months following Black Friday (including 33 days in December and January).

Meanwhile, the Fitbit Alta HR activity tracker wasn't advertised by John Lewis as a Black Friday deal, but was sold at £109.99 with a £10 discount applied on the day.

The consumer watchdog found that waiting until after the Black Friday period would have resulted in a better deal as it was cheaper on at least 60 occasions after, starting with a further £20 discount in mid-December and even dropping to £39.99 for at least 21 days during March and April 2018.

When looking at the two-week period surrounding Black Friday itself, Which? found that three-quarters (76%) of products were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year, and 74% could be picked up for the same price or less in the six months after.

Although there are some bargains out there, Which? advised shoppers to do some research before rushing out to buy on Black Friday. Alex Neill - Which? managing director of home products and services - said the results of their investigation "will disappoint many who are expecting nothing but bargains this Black Friday".

"While retailers are bombarding us with promises of great discounts and time-limited sales, it's clear that not all deals are as good as they might appear," he said.

"To bag a bargain, do your research and don't get carried away by the hype when shopping in the upcoming sales."

Amazon told Which?: "We offer many thousands of incredible deals around Black Friday representing millions of pounds of savings for our customers across a vast selection of products."

Currys PC World said it "offers great value on products throughout the year, and offers customers pricing transparency by stating in all channels exactly when a product was available for a higher price".

The electrical and household electronics retailer added: "While our prices - like all retailers - can fluctuate throughout the year, we're proud to offer our Price Promise across our entire range - and this covers the Black Friday trading period."

John Lewis said: "Prices are matched throughout the year as part of its Never Knowingly Undersold commitment, meaning that when competitors run promotions, prices are lowered to match, and that the Black Friday period is no different to that."

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