What Is Black Friday?Since arriving on our shores four years ago, Black Friday has quickly become the UK’s biggest shopping day of the year, beating Boxing Day by a mile. Originally a US tradition, Black Friday is held the first day after Thanksgiving, marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. American retailer Walmart bought it to British shores in 2013. Asda, part of the Walmart Group, introduced ‘Walmart’s Black Friday By Asda’ in the same year.
When Is Black Friday 2017?This year, the shopping event will be on Friday 24th November, but many retailers are expected to kick off deals much earlier. Also, many shops will carry it through the weekend, right up until Monday 28th – also known as Cyber Monday - and beyond. Deals can begin as early as 12 days before the official Black Friday launch, as Amazon did in 2016.
Why Is It Called Black Friday?There are many theories as to where the ‘Black’ comes from. Some people say it refers to the ink accountants would mark profit in, others say it’s down to the number of drivers out on the roads looking for deals, and inadvertently getting into accidents. It’s also thought the term could have arisen in Philadelphia; police officers were thought to use it in a negative light, due to the surge of shoppers descending on the city to take advantage of the sales.
Black Friday in the UKAs we reported, last year many people have raised concerns about the frenzied nature of in-store Black Friday Shopping. However, it appears a major shift in shopping habits occurred in 2016. Retailers public concerns, as well as customers fears over chaotic and sometimes dangerous Black Friday shopping scenes, has led to many to focus their Black Friday efforts online. Some big brands reserve their best deals for their websites, while others offer only online discounts.
Asda, commonly linked with bringing the American ideals of Black Friday to the UK, have even shunned the event, preferring to concentrate on offering Christmas deals and offers. Asda have also realised their customers prefer lower prices, long term rather than one day or one week of price cuts. Now, the majority of Black Friday is online and this proportion of online shopping through e-commerce websites is only set to grow.
Many people in the UK criticise Black Friday and question why we should copy the American holiday. However, now it has caught on, it's sure to be a permanent fixture in the British shopping calendar, especially considering the growth in spending year-on-year. In 2015, UK shoppers spent a total of £1.1bn, a 35% rise from 2014. Moreover, the figure even beats projection; analysts expected Black Friday 2015 would only amount to £1.07bn.
Despite the healthy financial picture, not all is rosy, with much criticism arising from the ugly riot-like scenes that played out in shopping centres and, particularly, the big supermarkets. In 2014, the Asda riots were particularly newsworthy, as their Wembley flagship store descended into chaos, with customers grappling over HD TVs. A Tesco store saw similar scenes in Manchester; one store was forced to close after outbreaks of fighting. In Cardiff, Tesco staff members were reduced to tears, while a female staff member reportedly received a black eye in Stretford.
Much of the quarrelling and tussling revolved around the heavily discounted 50inch Blaupunkt TVs, but it wasn’t just TVs. Other popular items caused playground antics, including Beats by Dre headphones and coffee makers.
Black Friday 2016 StatsWith Black Friday being such a mega shopping event, and growing in size each and every year, we’ve gathered some interesting stats for you to wrap your head around as you prepare to search for some fantastic deals in 2017.
Top Black Friday Tips
- PriceSpy is a great app to download for bagging Black Friday bargains. It allows you to keep track of prices across a huge variety of products and retailers. It sends you alerts and direct links to product URLs, so no time is wasted and you secure our bargain before it sells out. Download from the PriceSpy website or the Apple App Store.
- Try to shop in the early hours - avoid shopping after 9am as retailer websites will be clogged up with 9-5ers.
- Take advantage of Black Friday deals to buy Christmas presents. Don’t wait for the prices to rise again. Christmas can be expensive, so act early.
- Check out the deals you want to go after ahead of time, the big stores will all list their best discounts before they begin.
- Do your research – some retailers use Black Friday to sell off older and lower spec electricals items, often with huge discounts, making them attractive. Find out beforehand what features you need so you don’t accidentally buy the wrong item.
- Sign up to PayPal/update your card details before the day – that way you’ll enjoy a faster checkout, without having to enter your bank details every time.
- If you choose Click & Collect, make sure you keep a note of what you bought and where.
Our Guide to Black Friday Shopping With Gary 'Chopper Shopper' Sykes - Funny Black Friday Short FilmTake a look at our funny Black Friday video - shopping online with vouchers and discounts is certainly easier than rising at the crack of dawn and queuing to get into busy stores. Avoid the crowds and use our fantastic Black Friday Deals for the popular, big name merchants below. Simply scroll up the page for a selection of the best offers now live.
Top Black Friday Retailers
Amazon was one of the first retailers to bring Black Friday to the UK. You’ll find the majority of the best bargains, some up to 90% off, on the Lightning Deals page. With a dizzying variety of products and stock levels, Amazon is the go-to place when looking to make multiple savings across hundreds of different categories.
Expect major deals on Amazon’s own tech devices. Going by recent history, including last year’s Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day event, this should definitely be the case. Many discounts won’t be as large as Prime Day deals as these are priced exceptionally low, exclusively for Amazon’s Prime members. For instance, the Amazon Fire 7 was reduced from £49.99 to £29.99 and the Echo Dot was a 30% saving at £34.99. It's unlikely savings will be quite as massive on Black Friday, but the deals will certainly be substantial.
Top Tip for Bargain Hunters:Offers are released every hour and most have a time limit, as well as a maximum redemption limit, so keep checking current and upcoming deals so you don’t miss the best discount.
If you’ve got your heart set on big brand electricals like TVs, laptops, smartphones and appliances, you shouldn’t forget about Currys on Black Friday. Expect big discounts of up to 75% on mobiles, around 30% off computing products like laptops and tablets, and huge markdowns of up to £500 off the latest high-tech TVs. In 2016, Currys report some interesting data. Their website had more than 500,000 visitors before even 6 am when most offers are released. Customer orders meanwhile rose by 40% year on year.
Another illuminating stat - customers were buying 23 large screen TVs a minute between 9-10am on Black Friday 2016.
This year according to Tech Radar you can expect fantastic deals on Nespresso coffee machines, Dyson hoovers and tablets, especially from the Samsung Galaxy range.
Top Tip for Bargain Hunters:Look out for Black Tag deals and keep refreshing the page, you’ll find the biggest offers right there. Keep your eyes peeled for the Bundle Deals on laptops, giving you all you need to get going (apart from a broadband connection), for less.
Since Black Friday launched in the UK, John Lewis vowed to make the sales event one of its key revenue earning days. Some of John Lewis’ best deals in 2016 included a hefty £100 off the MacBook Air. Also, the Samsung UE40KU6020 HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart TV was cut to only £349.
Last year, John Lewis stayed competitive by offering price match deals with their rival’s prices, matching prices across TVs, laptops, and small and large electrical items.
So, this year we fully expect big savings across fashion, TV, gaming, computing, tablets and phones, audio, wearable tech and drones as well as last year’s price matched product lines.
Top Tip for Bargain Hunters:Watch out for Apple sales. With big reductions expected on iMacs, MacBooks and more Apple products, on top of John Lewis’s exclusive extended 3 year warranty, chances are this top brand will sell out quickly. Plus, look out for Price Match deals, they’ll be better than ever.
Tesco’s Black Friday Event is sure to be massive. In 2015, they offered discounts of up to 70% on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iPads, Tablets, furniture and popular toys. In 2016, they had fabulous discounts on Samsung tablets, Xboxes, PlayStations, Lego toys and TVs. That means if you’re looking to make savings on things for around the home or electricals, Tesco Direct is your ideal place to find some big bargains.
Top Tip for Bargain Hunters:If you’re not far from a store you, can save even more money by using the Click & Collect service. Also, don’t forget, you can collect Clubcard points, giving you a nice boost when your vouchers come through in the New Year.
As you may expect, the popular catalogue store Argos is another key retailer to watch on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, there were huge savings on the Fitbit Charge, Amazon Fire tablet and Apple's iPad Mini. Expect more of the same in 2017 as well as discounts on toys, home, furniture and smartphones.
Top Tip for Bargain Hunters:Argos makes Black Friday shopping a breeze. You can buy and expect delivery of all your bargain buys all on the same day, and, if you leave it until the last minute, all you need to do is choose Fast Track Collection and you can pop into the store to collect your items. They offer a 7 day grace period, so no rush – unless of course, you need to get your hands on your new buys right away. You'll find some of 2017’s biggest technology and toys will be heavily reduced during the promotion – perfect for the little one's Christmas presents.
ASOS On Black Friday
Expect the fashion bargains to come thick and fast – and ASOS is the perfect place to find amazing discounts on a wide range of the big brands you love. Last November, the retailer issued 20% off all orders, meaning you could grab amazing savings on beauty, fashion, shoes and accessories - this year we’d expect to see similar discounts.
Top Tip for Bargain Hunters;Don’t forget to check the ASOS clearance too, where you’ll find great deals up to 70% off. And last year, 20% off everything was extended to ASOS' sister site, ASOS Marketplace. At ASOS Marketplace you'll save on top boutique and vintage names.
Last year, Very pulled it out of the bag, promoting hourly deals on furniture, electricals and fashion. On top of that, there was a host of offers running for 24 hours. In 2016, Very reported their customers purchased a large number of games consoles, with wearable technology such as Fitbits and smart watches also selling well. As Very is an online department store, they sell almost everything, so make sure you check regularly so you don’t miss a thing.
Top Tip for Bargain Hunters:Choose Collect+ to get your items sent to a participating retailer close to you. Plus, you can order anything you like as, if you don’t like it when it arrives, you can send it back for free via Collect+ or the Post Office.
Marks & Spencer
Last year M&S knocked a third off FitBits, up to 50% off fashion, fragrances & beauty and the same on homeware, making it an extremely popular choice for those shopping for Christmas presents. We’re sure 2017 is set to be bigger than ever.