Black Friday has been an annual tradition in this country since 2010, when Amazon first introduced it. Since then, we have fallen in love with the sales weekend, spending around £5.8 billion last year over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. That was a 20% increase on sales that weekend in 2015, so it seems Black Friday is just becoming more and more popular.
But as Black Friday’s popularity has grown, there have been some news stories uncovering how some shops will put prices up artificially about a month before the weekend, so the discounts they offer can seem better than they really are. Surveys also showed that Black Friday deals are often about as good as deals found at other common times for clearances and sales.
So is Black Friday worth it? We think so, and we’re going to explain why.
The deals are good, if you shop smart.
As seasoned bargain hunters will know, grabbing the best bargain has never been about trusting the headline figures. You need to do your research and shop around, looking at the prices and discounts of lots of different retailers before you decide where to put your money down. You may even be able to wrangle a better price out of shops that offer to meet or beat competitors’ prices. John Lewis, for example, continues to honour its “Never Knowingly Undersold” policy on Black Friday, and that includes deals found online. So use your internet wisely, and you will find some spectacular deals. They just won’t be all at the same shop.
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Doorbuster discounts mean you can experiment with gadgets.
One of the biggest areas for discounts during Black Friday is of course electricals. That means that you can get a brand-new telly, a fancy new laptop or the voice-controlled home assistant you’ve always wanted but couldn’t quite justify buying. In other words, it’s less risky buying a new gadget when it doesn’t blow your whole budget out of the water.
You can use savings on less popular gifts to buy one of the trendy toys.
The holiday season can be fraught for parents on a budget. We all love seeing our kids’ faces light up with joy when they get the toys they really wanted. Unfortunately, toy marketing is so good that our kids tend to want the same toys other kids want. These become the trendy toys of the year, and they rarely get marked down for Black Friday, since retailers know there are enough parents who can and will pay sticker price. But you can keep your budget together by getting deep Black Friday discounts on clothes and regular toys, and using the money you saved to buy the one toy everyone’s talking about.
The deals having started carrying on for longer and longer.
These days, Black Friday deals rarely last for just the single day. Instead, they carry on through the weekend and into Cyber Monday. Then many retailers will just carry on offering the discounts to encourage a longer buying period. Why is this good? Because it gives you time. You don’t have to snap up that one TV deal right now, because you can take your time. Even if you take a day or two to research the specs and the various prices, the offer will probably still be there tomorrow. And if it’s not, something similar will be at a competitor’s store or online. Really, it’s bargain shopping without the fear of missing out.
The deals come at the right time.
If nothing else, Black Friday can just act as a marker in your calendar, saying now is the time to finally start your holiday shopping. That could explain its popularity, in fact, since one study found that nearly one-third of British shoppers didn’t think Black Friday deals were any better than other deals found throughout the year. The difference is, these deals come right when we start turning our attention to getting loved ones gifts for the holidays. So they might not be the year’s best deals, but they’re coming out right when we want to buy lots of gifts.
You can do it in your pyjamas.
One of the absolute best things about Black Friday and especially Cyber Monday is the fact that most of the deals you find in store, you can find online. Which means you can get all of your holiday shopping done in your grubbiest sweats, with a tray of mince pies in one hand and a glass of mulled wine in the other, before stumbling off to bed. And no one is the wiser. Boom. Holiday shopping done.
Black Friday has lots going against it. It can be frantic. It can be overwhelming. And it can make you think you’re getting a better deal than you really are. But if you take your time – and the extended sales season does give you plenty of time – you can find amazing deals. You can buy the newest gadgets for less, and use the savings to buy items that cruelly aren’t marked down. And if you want, you can do it all without taking off your dressing gown.
That’s why we say, is Black Friday worth it? Yes.