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. Let’s not think about whether we’ll be doing the same this year, eh?
Traditionally, Black Friday has been focused on high-value tech items, but in recent years we’ve found pretty much every last category of product on sale. In 2020, we saw discounts on everything from TVs to earbuds to coffee machines to package holidays. And we have no doubt that you should expect more of the same this November.
Read on for our guide to Black Friday 2021: when it is, what you should expect, and a few pointers to help you seek out the best deals.
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. 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, the follow-up sale. Traditionally, this was always an online-only event, versus the in-store discounts of Black Friday itself. However, now that online shopping hasn’t so much boomed as become the norm, there’s very little practical difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
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.
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.
- 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.
What were 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.
Where to find tech deals now
The following stores were where we found the hottest discount on electronics and other tech appliances, and we’re confident these retailers will lead Black Friday 2021 with the strongest deals.
But Black Friday 2021 is still some way off – and you might be looking for some deals right now.
- 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 which TV to buy guide 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.