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Which? magazine November 2020
The sales season is nearly upon us. But this year, big shopping events from Black Friday to Boxing Day will inevitably look a little different. After their enforced closure during lockdown, high street retailers will be clamouring to get us back into stores as well as spending online before Christmas and beyond.
In this month’s Which? magazine, Hannah Walsh reveals the truth behind the sales, plus how to get the best deal whenever you shop. Our research has shown that a product you see ‘in the sale’ is far from guaranteed to be a genuine bargain. And even outside of sales days, there’s a host of tactics retailers use to make us think we’re getting a good deal when we’re really not
Meanwhile, we’ve analysed data on more than 92,000 tech products to reveal the best brands, the most satisfied customers, and how long you can expect your next purchase to last.
Some brands are better than others at leaving customers satisfied and willing to recommend them, and some have mastered the art of customer loyalty – there’s just something about them that brings you back time and time again.
Also in this month’s magazine:
- Seven ways to keep your boiler costs down Joe Sharp highlights the best ways to keep yours in good nick without spending a fortune.
- Should you care what’s in your toiletries? Anna Studman reveals what’s actually in the products you use, which chemical ingredients you need to worry about, and why you should ignore ‘clean’ marketing spin.
- Creative ways to cut your energy bills From switching suppliers to investing in home renewables, Sasha Baker sorts the money-saving methods that are worth it from those that aren’t.
- Ding dong, smart doorbells are calling In our first full test of smart doorbells, Andrew Laughlin finds the models that bring genuinely useful features to your home.
- Pay less for your next smartphone Paul Lester uncovers the value models that give premium phones a run for their money.
From the editor
The art of the discount is getting more sophisticated. If I consider buying a pair of running shoes online but subsequently decide against it, I’ll be looking at a targeted ad on Facebook offering me the same pair five minutes later. If I’m registered on the retailer’s site and leave them in my shopping basket without paying up, I’ll get an email offering me 20% off. You might find this sort of thing intrusive, but it’s certainly convenient.
Black Friday and other seasonal sales are increasingly digital affairs too. But in some respects they remain quite old fashioned, relying on general hype more than personalised targeting. Many stores offer discounts from October through to the new year and beyond. Despite this, marketing tactics play to the psychology of missing out and are designed to encourage snap decisions. The trick is to stay calm and rely on prior research about what constitutes a genuine deal, but that’s not always easy.
For this month’s cover story, we tracked the prices of 220 home and tech products that were on offer on Black Friday 2019, in the six months prior to the day itself and the six months after. The result? Almost all of them cost the same or were cheaper at other times of the year. So should you just ignore the whole frenzy? Not quite. If you’re in the market for a new product, our advice can help you find the right option at a good price, while cutting out the noise.
Harry Rose, Editor, Which? magazine
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