Black Friday and Amazon’s Prime Day have become staples of the shopping calendar in recent years. But the pressure to buy discounted goods isn’t always justified.
Here, we look at the latest rumours about Black Friday and Prime Day, and prepare you to sort the deals from the duds.
- Find out more: see our pick of the deals for Amazon Prime Day 2020
When is Amazon Prime Day?
Prime Day – a day (or two) of exclusive deals for Amazon Prime members – usually falls in the summer, giving shoppers a dose of discounts to keep them going until November.
This year, Prime Day was one of the many events that were pushed back in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
There have been several rumours as to when it will take place. First Reuters reported it would be August at the earliest. Then the Wall Street Journal said September.
Now, the Radio Times cites leaked meeting notes suggesting an October date is more likely – potentially Monday 5 October. This would give Prime members’ wallets a mere three weeks to recover before Black Friday deals potentially arrive.
- Find out more: the truth behind ‘Amazon’s Choice’ labels
When will Black Friday deals begin?
Black Friday will officially fall on 27 November this year, with its digital sibling Cyber Monday following three days later. So you still have a couple of months to prepare.
However, Techradar reports on rumours that Amazon may start its Black Friday deals a whole month earlier this year, potentially kicking off the discounting spree from 26 October.
Other shops may follow suit to keep up – but it’s worth noting that nothing, not even Amazon’s early start, has officially been confirmed.
- Find out more: when is Black Friday 2020?
- Are Black Friday deals worth it?
Amid all the excitement, it’s important to keep a level head. Which? research from previous Black Fridays has found that many of the ‘deals’ are actually available at other times of the year.
We tracked the prices of 83 products that were on offer on Black Friday 2018 for six months before and after the big day, and here’s what we found:
- 95% weren’t at their cheapest price on Black Friday
- 61% were cheaper or the same price before Black Friday
- 61% were cheaper or the same price before and after Black Friday
Only four of the products we tracked were actually at their cheapest on Black Friday, compared with the six months either side of it. This means the pressure to take advantage of Black Friday deals ‘before it’s too late’ is often unfounded. Usually it won’t be too late.
- Find out more: Black Friday deals aren’t the cheapest of the year
Tips for Black Friday shopping
If you’re planning on some Black Friday or Prime Day shopping, make sure you’re armed with the following tricks and techniques to avoid falling for a dud deal.
Check price histories
You might be on the lookout for a particular product as Black Friday approaches. Perhaps you’re waiting for the sales to nab a new tablet or toaster.
If you know what you’re likely to buy, it’s worth checking out its price history before the big day to give you the knowledge you need to determine if it’s actually significantly discounted.
This doesn’t need to take a lot of work scanning the websites yourself. Use websites like PriceSpy, Pricerunner and CamelCamelCamel (for Amazon) to see price histories over months and years to really put Black Friday offers into context.
Don’t trust ‘was’ prices
Which? research has found ‘was £200, now £100’ labels often make discounts look better than they are.
Sometimes products were only sold at the higher price for a short time, or a very long time ago. You’re better off comparing the same product with different retailers if you want a clear idea of how much an item usually sells for.
Always shop around
It may sound obvious, but we found that 13% of Black Friday shoppers didn’t check an item’s price with multiple retailers in 2017.
Sometimes retailers will describe their price as a special offer when it’s actually no cheaper than anywhere else.
Some of the price history websites listed above will also compare retailers for you, if you don’t have time to search multiple sites yourself.
Read Which?’s coverage
If you’ll forgive us a cheeky plug, Which?’s experts will be covering Black Friday 2020 closely as the day approaches, revealing which deals are actually worth parting with your cash for.
- Find out more: how to check if a Black Friday deal is real