It might not be until the far end of the year – but if there’s one thing we can tell you about Black Friday, it’s that it’s important to be prepared.
Each year, the late-November sale seems to only get bigger and longer, with more and more retailers getting in on the deals action and slashing prices. Last year’s Black Friday was no exception, with an astonishingly high number of people doing their shopping online due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions.
In fact, according to figures from Adobe, online sales on Black Friday 2020 reached $9.03 billion, up from $7.4 billion in 2019 and $6.2 billion in 2018. And, according to search experts Semrush, there was also a 14% global increase in interest for Black Friday last year. The US alone saw a 34% increase in Black Friday searches, making it the biggest year yet for the event.
Traditionally, Black Friday has been focused on high-value tech items, but we’ve found pretty much every last category of product on sale in recent years – it’s also a good time to pick up broadband deals. In 2020, Semrush confirmed that the most in-demand product groups were laptops, TVs, microwaves and furniture. And we have no doubt that you should expect more of the same this November. With Nintendo confirming the new Nintendo Switch OLED pre-orders, too, you can expect deals on the older Switch – great timing for those of you trying to snap up a bargain before Christmas.
Read on for our guide to Black Friday: when it is, what you should expect, and a few pointers to help you seek out the best deals. Plus, for those who don’t want to wait, our experts will keep bringing you the best live sales to shop.
When is Black Friday 2021?
Black Friday will take place on Friday 26th November this year, but that isn’t when you should expect prices to fall. Last year, we saw stores launching their sales as early as the beginning of the month, making us wonder if the whole thing should be renamed Black November for the sake of accuracy. However, these early waves of deals are often just teasers before the hottest discounts are rolled out on Black Friday itself or just before.
Three days after Black Friday comes Cyber Monday 2021, the follow-up sale. This year, it’s taking place on Monday 29th November.
Traditionally, Cyber Monday was always an online-only event versus the discounts of Black Friday that took place in-store. However, this is a slightly old-fashioned concept. In recent times, online shopping hasn’t so much boomed as become the norm, which means there’s very little practical difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There’s often a lull in fresh deals in the two-day weekend period between the two dates, but plenty of Black Friday deals continue to run into the week that commences with Cyber Monday.
What sales and deals can you shop now?
If you don’t want to wait until November, here are a selection of summer sales and deals live now:
- AO clearance sale
- Very electrical offers
- Argos clearance sale
- Laptops Direct student deals
- Get three months of Sky’s WiFi Guarantee add-on for free when you sign up for Sky Broadband Superfast, Ultrafast or Ultrafast Plus
- Get Netflix included with certain Android phones from EE
You can head to our other dedicated deals pages, too:
- For Amazon devices, don’t miss our pick of the best Amazon Echo deals and Amazon Fire TV Stick deals.
- Thinking of upgrading your television? There’s also our round-ups of the best smart TV deals and best QLED TV deals this month. Our guide on which TV to buy can help you decide on the right model, too.
- If it’s a printer you’re after for home-schooling or to upgrade your home office while you work remotely, we’ve also been watching prices to bring you the best printer deals.
- And finally, if you’re fed up with low streaming quality and lag, browse the best broadband deals.
Don’t forget that autumn is a key time for new tech releases. This means that it can be beneficial to wait for Black Friday if you’re after an iPhone or other flagship device. The iPhone 13 pre-orders are live and it means that the iPhone 12 series will likely see discounts during the shopping event.
What’s the history of Black Friday?
Black Friday is a shopping tradition that’s been going strong in the U.S. for decades – it always takes place on the day after Thanksgiving. It took a surprisingly long time to gain popularity in the UK, only becoming a fixture in the sales calendar a few years ago. Now, though, it is well and truly here to stay, and you’ll find very few British stores that don’t get in on the deals action at the end of November.
Are Black Friday deals real?
Yes – in fact, it’s usually in the Black Friday sales that you’ll find the hottest discounts all year round. It’s at this time of year that you’ll see retailers at their most competitive, dropping prices as low as possible to outbid their rivals.
That being said, there’s a fair bit of filler alongside the killer: not every deal you’ll find during the Black Friday sales is a gem. Read on to find out more about separating the wheat from the chaff.
Which products were popular for Black Friday 2020?
Black Friday is an opportunity to pick up premium products for less and get ahead on Christmas shopping. This means that Black Friday iPhone deals and other Apple products are always highly sought after, and toys and games consoles often make it high on shopper wish lists. Autumn is often a time when we see new tech releases meaning that many people will hold out until Black Friday to get a cheaper deal on previous models.
According to Adobe, hot selling products on Black Friday 2020 were:
- Hot Wheels
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars
- Animal Crossing
- Apple Watch
And popular products on Cyber Monday 2020 were:
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars
- Vtech toys
- HP and Dell computers
What were some of the best Black Friday deals in 2020?
Of the thousands (no, literally) of deals we scoured during Black Friday 2020, there were a number of highlights that really stood out.
- One product we watched yo-yo in price across a number of stores were Apple’s noise-cancelling AirPods Pro, which dropped as low as £195 at Laptops Direct.
- True to form, Amazon slashed prices across a number of its own devices like the 4th-generation Echo Dot, which was reduced by 42%.
- It was a particularly excellent Black Friday for phone deals – both handsets and SIM-only contracts. We saw the best pay-monthly offerings on the iPhone 11 (which had just had its flagship status poached by the iPhone 12), while there were some incredible data boosts in Three’s SIM-only plans.
- TVs are always a major component of what’s on offer during Black Friday, and we saw prices fall by as much as 40% across models like the Philips PUS8555 50-inch Smart 4K TV and LG 65UN81006LB.
- There were plenty of great price drops on kitchen appliances, too: we saw savings run as high as 50% on products like the Kenwood KHC29 BOWH Prospero Stand Mixer and Kenwood KMix Stand Mixer at Argos. Over at Currys, the offer on the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer was so popular it sold out online.
How to get a good deal on Black Friday
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of discounts that you’ll find online during the Black Friday sales. We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you get prepared for deal-hunting.
- If you’re thinking about buying a high-value tech item at some point this year and don’t mind waiting until November, holding off until then isn’t a bad idea. But don’t pin all your hopes on one item – put a wishlist together instead. For example, if you’re thinking of replacing your television, read our which TV to buy guide, and search out a handful of TVs that pique your interest. We’re certain at least one of them will be discounted come Black Friday. We also have guides to the best smartphone, best Android phone, best tablets and more.
- Don’t always go for the latest generation device. If you don’t mind not having the newest release, Black Friday can provide some brilliant deals on tech as retailers look to shift older models. Many of these products won’t be more than a year old. For example, with the Google Pixel 6 release date due to be in October this year, the Google Pixel 5 could see its price fall during Black Friday sales.
- As a general rule, don’t rely on inspiration if you’re searching for Christmas gifts during Black Friday. Of course, you might find a surprise gem – but remember that stores are very good at convincing you that you’ve just found the deal of the century.
- Price drops shouldn’t always be taken at face value: retailers like to exaggerate their deals by listing RRPs that might no longer reflect actual prices. A great online tool is CamelCamelCamel, which will tell you the price history of an Amazon product, so you get a better sense of the deal’s quality.
- Shop around. Always shop around! When you see an amazing deal, add it to your shopping basket. Then, use that window of time to take a look through prices from competing retailers in Google’s Shopping comparator. Keep in mind that stores like Currys PC World and John Lewis promise to match prices that are cheaper elsewhere – hold them to it.
- We love a good deal at RadioTimes.com – so much so that we share ones we like in a regular newsletter. Interested? Take a look below.
Which retailers take part in Black Friday?
The following stores were where we found some of the hottest discounts on electronics and other tech appliances, and we’re confident these retailers will lead Black Friday 2021 with the strongest deals.
Read more on Black Friday
- Nintendo Switch Black Friday deals
- iPhone Black Friday deals
- John Lewis Black Friday deals
- Amazon Black Friday deals