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That Friday feeling Posted On 11 November 2020

Bargain hunters are out in force already with the news that early Black Friday deals are already live!

It was once the term used to describe the day when American workers would call in sick so they could extend Thanksgiving into a long weekend, but it is now more associated with a global shopping phenomenon.

Black Friday, America’s high-octane version of our Boxing Day sales, will again explode on to the UK’s hard-pressed retail sector officially on November 27th, although in reality the first shots in the discount price war may be fired somewhat earlier and continue well past Cyber Monday, reputedly the busiest online shopping day of the year.

Traditionally, tech, electricals and gadgets are the big winners over the period – certainly online giants Amazon and high-profile retailers such as Currys PC World and Argos shifted huge numbers last year – although all-rounders such as John Lewis and Very have flexed their muscles and brought clothing, furniture and other lines into the picture – the latter reporting more than 92.5million online visits in 2019.

Last year, toys and games consoles, particularly the Nintendo Switch, proved popular and this year is not likely to deviate from that trend as the PS5 and Xbox Series X come on to the market, with their predecessors expected to come almost gift-wrapped in bargain bundles.

Big-ticket items such as 4K TVs with HDR support could see some promising discounts as 8K sets have started to work their way on to the shelves. As an indicator, one of the big sellers last year was a Philips Ambilight 75inch 4K Smart TV which had its price slashed by almost £600.

In short, if a new product has been launched, you’re likely to find older models carrying hefty discounts. And if the main online retailers are offering good deals, you can expect the shops to wade in with a competitive alternative.

Elsewhere beauty products and non-electricals may continue to increase in popularity as more brands look to take advantage of passing interest from savvy shoppers who have one eye on Christmas. But it would be a brave man who bets against technology-based items being the hot sellers.

So, how do you get the best deals on Black Friday? Simple. Do your homework… and be flexible.

Industry insiders say some retailers gradually increase prices from August through to October, so they can offer ‘amazing’ discounts towards the end of November, something which is particularly prevalent in expensive consumer electronics such as TVs or laptops. If you’ve been tracking a particular item, you’ll know what the maker’s recommended retail price will be and can recognise if it’s a bargain.

And that is also where you need to keep your options open. It’s best to keep in mind the features you want, rather than a specific model number which may not be discounted while an almost identical set with the spec you want, probably will be. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that something which looks like a five-star set-up is the same but cheaper – certain elements, often screen quality or image processing, might be inferior.

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