Is fashion cheaper on Black Friday or in the January Sales?

Does Black Friday or the January Sales deliver the best savings? We have broken both down to show you when it's the best time to buy.

A series of fashion items on a rail with sale tags
(Image credit: getty)

If you say you don’t jump at a great offer, you’re crazy. Designer names and high street brands alike hold sales and exclusive deals on a huge range throughout the year but the biggest savings are usually found during Black Friday events and January Sales so which is best when it comes to fashion? Keep reading to find out where you can bag the biggest savings for the next time you overhaul your wardrobe! 

The History of Black Friday: How did it start and when is it?

There are several stories about how Black Friday came about making it hard to know what its true roots are. We’ve done some digging and found the most popular theory of the sale everyone loves (although, fair warning, it’s a little dark). 

History.com tells us that in the 1950s, Philadelphia Police coined the term ‘Black Friday’ to describe the mayhem that followed Thanksgiving. On that Friday, hoards of shoppers rushed to the city before the annual Army-Navy football game (held the Saturday after Thanksgiving). Police had disdain for this day as they worked long shifts to handle large crowds, huge amounts of traffic and opportunistic shoplifters.

By 1961, the term had spread from the Police and by the late 80s, merchants were making an active effort to change the negative connotations of ‘Black Friday’. The result of these efforts was the ‘red to black’ connotation. This means the day marks the point when merchants made the most money following Thanksgiving. From there, it spread across the country and in 2010, it jumped across the pond to begin in the UK. 

Today’s version of Black Friday is a little different from what it once was. It begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving which is always the fourth Thursday in November. So add a reminder for Friday 25th November this year to take advantage of the sales right away. Despite the name, Black Friday doesn’t end on a Friday. It’s now a four-day event that includes Small Business Saturday/Sunday and Cyber Monday. 

The History of the January Sales

The January Sales have been part of British culture for decades but do we know when they started? Finding an exact date is quite tricky but we’ve narrowed it down to the early 1900s in France where "... retailers would hold a 'White Sale' in January to promote linens and other household goods". Whether it's the French 'White Sale', the 'After-Christmas Sales' found in the USA or the iconic British January Sales, the deals available in these sales are second to none and have always been something the British public looks forward to. As they do today, they’ve always begun with the first offers becoming available on Boxing Day and carrying through January. 

Looking through The British Newspaper Archives, many articles demonstrate that sales always being a hectic time. On 5th January 1951, the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer reported on some of the activity around the sales; “The pushing, elbowing and shouting are things that every assistant complains about. In the confusion, tempers on both sides of the counter tend to become frayed. The assistants of one store still recall the classic occasion when their departmental head was slapped in the face.”

If these historical articles are anything to go by, the January Sale deals have always been a huge event for the UK public. Fortunately, the high street hecticness can be avoided thanks to internet shopping. 

Average Black Friday Fashion Savings

Given that Black Friday arrived in the UK in 2010, it’s mind-blowing to discover that 10% of all global Black Friday searches online stem from the UK. Finder.com tells us that "Brits plan to spend an estimated £3 billion in the 2023 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales" which is a decrease of £900 million since 2022 whilst 51% of adults intend to spend during the Black Friday weekend which is a 12% increase from last year's numbers. 

Money.co.uk states that around 50% of Black Friday purchases are likely to be on clothing and footwear with women being more likely to buy these items than men. Utilising Black Friday sales is a great way to save on some essentials as the cold weather arises again. Sale Cycle tells us that last year, jumpers and sweaters were the most purchased fashion items with over 13,153 jumpers bought during Black Friday 2022. The second biggest purchase in Black Friday fashion sales was dresses with 10,527 being sold. 

Typical Black Friday Deals

If you’re looking for some designer names with a price tag that’s as small as possible, Lululemon's Black Friday event may be exactly what you’re looking for. According to GQ Magazine, they'll be offering up to 50% off a whole host of items such as leggings, tops, coats and so much more.   

Another designer retailer to look out for is Farfetch. Last year, they offered 50% off their womenswear selection and it looks like we can expect the same this year. Their prices don't fit everyone's budget so a Black Friday deal could help you add this designer to your wardrobe.  

Moving away from the designer retailers, you can find huge discounts across 850+ of our favourite brands as well as those all-important wardrobe essentials. 

Everyone’s beloved high street hero, H&M, doesn’t often offer store-wide discounts, but Black Friday’s a different kettle of fish. This year they are releasing a 20% discount sitewide for members (and it's free to join too). From womens and menswear to kids and homeware, this sale offers something for everyone (yes, that includes the dog!). 

Another UK-loved retailer is ASOS and they've really been ramping up for their Black Friday sale this year. There are reports of discounts of up to 80% on countless products like winter essentials, lingerie, footwear and so much more. 

Average January Sales Fashion Savings

The January Sales are highly anticipated throughout the UK and with good reason. With discounts of up to 80% found on a large collection of retailers, 26% of the public focus their spending on clothing and footwear which is a return to the same percentage of people that we saw in 2020. 

Shopping the January Sales can feel like you're drowning in a myriad of products and percentages but keeping up with fashion deals doesn't have to be impossible. When you sign up for your favourite brand newsletters, you'll be able to keep up with the best January deals and discounts (and even find out which brands are beginning their January Sales in December). 

Typical January Sales Deals

There are a number of brands you can head to for the biggest discounts on the most stylish, up-to-date pieces. 

Last year, we saw John Lewis offer a 50% discount across their entire site. This delivered great savings on womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, home, toys and sports & leisure. Bringing loads of stylish options to any January budget, we hope to see the same for the 2024 sales.  

It seems like 50% was a popular choice for last year’s January Sales because Selfridges and ASOS did exactly that. Selfridges put 50% off across their entire site, whilst ASOS placed 50% on selected items as well as reduced prices on Adidas Originals and Miss KG footwear. Neither Selfridges nor ASOS have released any information about what they plan to do for their January Sale in 2024. We can only assume it will follow the 80% industry average. 

There isn’t a lot of information about what we can expect to see in the 2024 January Sales but we can build a good idea of the industry trends. As we are getting closer to January, it’s clear we may see a blanket discount of up to 80% across the fashion world. Huge names such as ASOS, Nike, New Look, boohoo and Farfetch will have a wide variety of products included in their January Sale so it’s not something to miss out. 

What Can You Save The Most On?

As we have researched the kind of savings we can expect to make during Black Friday and the January Sales, we’ve discovered what items you can make the best savings on and when. 

Looking at industry trends through Black Friday, you can make your biggest savings on last season’s hottest clothes. If you’re hoping to bolster your summer wardrobe without the hefty price tag, Black Friday could be the preemptive strike you need for you (and your bank balance) to look great. Just because it’s last season doesn’t mean you can’t wear it this season. You can find several tops, trousers, jackets and so much more that can create chic outfits whatever the season. 

When it comes to the January Sales, you can save your pennies on a whole host of winter garments. If you’re on the hunt for a new coat, sturdy winter walking boots or cosy loungewear, the January Sales could be the best place for you to find what you’re looking for. Whatever winter warmer you’re looking for, check your favourite retailers for their January Sales deals. You may be surprised at what you find.

What Are The Best Ways To Make The Most Savings?

Both Black Friday and the January Sales cause people to flock to the internet and we’ve all missed a deal of a lifetime because of it. So how do we make the most out of these sales?

For starters, it’s worth noting that Black Friday and January are prime times for scammers to strike anyone looking to bag themselves a bargain. Because of this risk, we highly recommend shopping at well-known sites and retailers. You can be sure you’re looking at a legitimate deal before you enter your card details. 

Another good tip to make the most of the Black Friday and January Sales deals is to not enter the sales without a plan. We’re all guilty of having an ‘I’ll see what I find’ approach. This can easily lead to spending more money than you would have originally anticipated. There’s an easy way to get around this, it just takes a little bit of pre-planning. Before jumping into full sales mode, make a list of everything you plan to buy and look for the best deals on your chosen items. 

On top of this, if you’re looking at product reviews to choose what to purchase, make sure you note the posting date. If you notice many positive reviews posted at the same time, the chances are they are fakes. The best way to be sure you’re looking at real reviews is to check multiple sources. 

There are so many ways to make sure you’re making the most of Black Friday and the January Sales. The tips mentioned above are simply the tip of the iceberg. You can find so much more help to get the best savings in articles such as How to save money in the January Sales on sites like Which?

Our Final Comparisons

Black Friday is constantly reported as the time for the best deals of the year but how do Black Friday deals stack up to those found in the January Sale? 

Now we’ve gone through everything there is to know about both of these iconic sales. We’ve concluded that January Sales 2024 is the perfect time if you want a bargain on winter clothes. If you’re looking for summer clothes, Black Friday 2023 is the best time, but overall, the discounts don’t change too much between the two sales. 

Now that you’ve read everything we have to offer, it’s time to get ready to make the best savings on your wardrobe. Whether you’re only looking for a few choice pieces or you’re planning on overhauling your entire wardrobe, we have loads of discounts that can help you do it all without breaking the bank this year.

Shona Moreland
Fashion Editor

Hi there! My name is Shona and I’m the Fashion Editor here at MyVoucherCodes. I’ve been writing for 5 years, and now I’ve been focusing on fashion, and I’m loving every minute of it! From the freshest releases to the hottest trends and movements that keep the industry buzzing.

I have a number of interests, ranging from playing the drums, drawing, reading and writing to enjoying nature with my puppy! And let’s not forget about the all-important interest … Fashion!