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Are Black Friday deals worth it? Here’s the truth

What Black Friday deals are worth your money? Black Friday is fantastic for tech discounts, but it pays to be careful who you buy from and what you spend.

Are Black Friday deals worth it

Having been constantly bombarded with Black Friday discounts for the last two weeks, we don’t blame you for asking if the Black Friday deals are worth it.

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Every year, Black Friday serves up a tempting range of deals across everything from technology and home appliances to beauty and fashion. If you’re on the lookout for a new phone or TV, it’s the perfect opportunity to bag a bargain. However, these offers can often still mean parting with a decent chunk of cash. It’s also easy to get swept up in the tidal wave of deals and to buy something you don’t need.

In a poll of 2000 shoppers, 22% said they had regretted at least one of their Black Friday purchases, while 89% said they found the Black Friday sales stressful. TVs (32%), phones (30%) and PlayStations (28%) were the most commonly regretted purchases of the seasonal sales, according to figures from Idealo.

The same poll showed that 32% of shoppers struggle to tell whether any given deal is legitimate. Have no fear, though – this guide will help you be a savvy online shopper, able to make the most of Black Friday deals and pick out the real savings.

Looking for the latest updates? Head to our live Cyber Monday deals coverage.

Are Black Friday deals worth it?

Yes, if you know where to look. There’s no doubt that some retailers have been a bit cheeky with their prices this year and not all discounts will be as massive as they might seem at first glance.

Having a wishlist will help with this. Be strict about what you need and only buy a product when it goes below a price that you’re comfortable with.

It is easy to make rash purchases when you’re constantly being bombarded with offers. make sure to take a moment before checking out. A spontaneous buy isn’t always a bad thing but don’t let ‘last chance’ messaging push you into something you won’t use or can’t afford.

We’ve had our team checking the prices of popular products for months to make sure we know what the genuine price drop is. We will only promote offers that we would also tell our own friends and family about. These are the Black Friday deals we think offer actual value for money.

Black Friday deals actually worth spending money on

Fitbit Versa 3 | £199.99 £139 (save £60.99 or 30%)

Fitbit Versa 3

What’s the deal: Save £60 on the Fitbit Versa 3. Typically found for £199 pre-Black Friday, the latest Versa model is now just £139.

Why we chose it: This is by far the best Fitbit Black Friday deal we’ve seen. Awarded four out of five stars in our Fitbit Versa 3 review, we found the smartwatch to be extremely comfortable, easy to use and felt like the 20+ exercise modes it tracks was plenty.

Nintendo Switch Neon Blue/Red, free Mario Kart 8 download and a three month Nintendo Switch online subscription | £316.97 £259.99 at Argos, Very and the Nintendo Store (save £56.98 or 18%)

Nintendo Switch bundle

What’s the deal: Save over £55 on this bundle which includes a free digital download of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, plus free online membership for three months.

Why we chose it: We’ve searched high and low and this is the best deal we’ve seen so far this Black Friday on the original Switch. Pre-Black Friday, the Nintendo Switch console on its own was selling for £259.99, so the addition of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe game and an online subscription for what is essentially no extra cost is worth taking advantage of.

Samsung 43-inch AU8000 4K Smart TV | £549 £369 at Amazon (save £180 or 33%)

Samsung 43-inch AU8000 4K

What’s the deal: You can get £180 off the 43-inch Samsung AU8000 4K TV at Amazon right now. It’s down from £549 to £369, which is a saving of 33%.

Why we chose it: Samsung is a top smart TV brand known for reliability and quality. We are big fans of the AU8000 series’ small bezels, and it has a lot of great features for the price, including voice control support for both Google Assistant and Alexa.

AirPods 3 with MagSafe Case | £169 £145.69 (save £23.31 or 14%)

AirPods 3 wired

What’s the deal: A small saving on the AirPods 3, Apple’s newest earbuds that only released last month. Full price the wireless earbuds are £169 but they’re now £145.69 at OnBuy, plus free delivery – that’s a £23 saving.

Why we chose it: We’re not likely to see any huge reductions on the third-generation AirPods as they have only been on sale for around a month, but here’s the best price out there. This is by no means a huge Black Friday bargain, but it’s the best price you’ll get on AirPods 3 this year. Awarded four out of five stars in our AirPods 3 review, we found these earbuds to have great call quality, a new compact design and that they worked seamlessly with Apple devices.

Google Nest Audio | £89.99 £64.99 (save £25 or 27%)

Google Nest Audio deals

What’s the deal: For a contemporary looking smart home speaker, save £25 on this Google Nest now.

Why we chose it: Another device to receive four out of five stars from us. Having put the smart speaker to the test in our Google Nest Audio review, we think the device’s standout features include an extremely user-friendly Google Home app, responsive touch controls and a powerful bass.

How to avoid fake Black Friday deals this weekend

Buy from retailers you trust

It’s always safest to shop with retailers that you know and trust. If you haven’t bought from a site before, then look for online reviews from previous customers. Ultimately, if a little-known site is offering a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

This is especially important when buying online as entrusting card details to dodgy online retailers can lead to fraudulent use of your bank account. Thankfully, most online retailers and online banking set-ups now offer extra security measures to prevent this.

Mainstays like Argos, Currys and John Lewis are always a good bet. John Lewis often offers extended warranties on products too, while Currys has a well-loved price-matching policy.

Remember also, when buying from Amazon and eBay, that you’re not always directly buying from those platforms. In many cases, third-party retailers sell their goods via the sites, so it’s always worth checking their reviews before you buy.

We’re bringing you only the genuinely good Black Friday deals

If you’ve learnt anything from this article, it’s that there are a lot of fake deals out there and shopping around is key. Here are a few examples of genuinely good Black Friday discounts we’ve spotted this year.

For more, head to our best Black Friday deals round-up.

Check prices and don’t be misled — use price comparison tools

Some retailers are more than willing to list slightly misleading previous prices in order to make discounts seem larger. A few will even boost the price of a product before a sales event so that when the price is slashed, the retailer can list a larger percentage cut and attract more attention. Comparing prices across retailers is a good way to check how genuine these discounts are.

Use price trackers like CamelCamelCamel and PriceSpy to make sure you get the whole story on any given discount. The ‘Cameliser’ plug-in from CamelCamelCamel is easy and intuitive to use but only works on Amazon. PriceSpy’s tracker, on the other hand, works across a range of retailers but can be a little more clunky. Either one is a great tool to make sure you’re informed this bargain-hunting season.

Video game gadgets, virtual reality simulator, headphones, mobile phone, digital tablet, remote controller and joystick on white background
Getty

The images below show off a good example of why CamelCamelCamel can be useful. This example takes the Amazon page for the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G with 128GB of storage. Currently, it’s priced at £419.99.

Pressing the small camel icon – which appears at the end of your search bar after installing the plug-in – will open the window pictured below. This window displays the current price, the highest price, and the lowest price that the product has been sold for on Amazon. There’s also a handy graph helping you to visualise whether the current price is a good one.

So, why is this useful? As you can see below, the main Amazon product page displays the current price and suggests that this has been discounted from £709.97. However, a quick look at the Camelizer graph shows that the phone hasn’t been at that price for a while. It also shows us that the phone was cheaper in October than it is now, suggesting that a better price is likely to be available in the near future.

Do your research

Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert, places a huge emphasis on doing your research before Black Friday begins.

He said: “If you have your eye on something, check prices NOW. Then when it comes to Black Friday, you’ll know if the ‘discounts’ are really cheaper. Check prices at the retailer you were planning to buy from, and do a wider price comparison.”

Martin Lewis (Getty)
Martin Lewis (Getty)

Be aware of your cyber security when shopping online

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are increasingly online events, with online stores bearing the brunt of the shopping rush, rather than physical ones. The days of shoppers physically fighting over discounted televisions on newsreel footage might be over, but online shopping has its own risks and pitfalls. It’s important to stay safe online, avoid scams and keep your bank details private.

So, what steps do experts recommend for staying safe while shopping online? Rick McElroy, Principal Cybersecurity Strategist at VMware said:

  • Set up multi-factor authentication and don’t recycle passwords, or passphrases, across multiple accounts to protect yourself. Attackers will continue to modernise their tactics to find new ways to put consumers’ financial data at risk.
  • If it looks too good to be true, it may very well be. This year, the scarcity of some products predicted in the run-up to the festive season, due to the ongoing supply chain issues, is creating a more attractive playing field for fraudsters. Consumers should keep in mind that if someone is offering a shortcut to the front of the line for an in-demand product, it may be a scam.
  • Verify requests for additional customs fees or delivery charges. With shopping habits shifting further online as a result of the pandemic, attackers are attempting to trick customers into paying customs fees or delivery charges through fake tracking notifications. Following the rush of purchases many consumers will make online over the Black Friday weekend, it may prove much harder for them to do their due diligence when receiving seemingly legitimate texts or calls from couriers. It’s therefore important to always err on the side of caution – go directly to the official website (rather than clicking on any links shared in emails or texts) and manually enter the tracking number there.
  • Be mindful of scams involving gift cards. Fraudsters and scammers are everywhere this retail season, so don’t fall for something too good to be true. Scammers will hold an “online auction” for cards that haven’t been activated. People buy the cards, but then find out these cards don’t work. Bottom line: avoid online auctions for gift cards.”
  • Sign up for our newsletter. In between regularly updating all of our Black Friday pages, we’ll also be sending the very best deals and news out directly to newsletter subscribers. Subscribe below, and we’ll keep you updated.

Shop around

It sounds obvious, right? But plenty of shoppers don’t shop around on Black Friday. Comparing prices across online retailers is simple and easy and should be your first port of call in checking whether a deal is genuine.

The key retailers — with the best prices so far this year — are Very, Currys, Amazon and John Lewis. Our expert team is keeping a close eye on their sales and more across the web. Use the links below for the latest info on all these retailers and more.

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Thinking about waiting for the Cyber Monday deals? Read our guide to make sure you know what offers to expect.