L.K.Bennett Kara velvet dress, £221.25, down from £295, lkbennett.com
The biggest shopping day of the year — Black Friday — is finally upon us. Usually lasting over the weekend, it sees the High Street slash prices on thousands of goods, often by hundreds of pounds.
An American import (Black Friday falls the day after their Thanksgiving holiday and marks the start of the Christmas shopping season), it was adopted by the UK seven years ago — and gets bigger every year.
This year, there are 24 million of us gearing up for the bargains and data suggests that the average Black Friday shopper in the UK will splash out £246, meaning that figures look set to rise by almost 10 per cent from last year.
But the experts at consumer watchdog Which? warn that it’s worth checking just how good the deals really are.
A year-long investigation, which the Mail highlighted at the beginning of the week, showed an astonishing six out of ten of last year’s ‘deals’ were for products that were, in fact, cheaper or the same price at other times of the year.
But there are bargains out there. You just need to know where to find them! Alice Smellie reveals her top tips…
Top five items you should look out for
Here are Which? magazine’s five electrical household essentials to search for today. All of these scored well in consumer tests and are carried by multiple retailers, so it’s worth shopping around to get the best deal, as it’s likely competing shops will cut the prices on them all.
THE CORDLESS VAC
Dyson V6 Animal: This lightweight vacuum cleaner is designed to remove pet hair from carpets and furniture. It also features a wide head that is suitable for all floor types.
What price should you pay: If this isn’t less than £180, it’s no cheaper than normal.
THE CAPSULE COFFEE MACHINE
Nespresso Inissia: Makes espresso, cappuccino, latte and ristretto, among others, from coffee pods.
What price should you pay: This usually costs from £50 to £70, so avoid Black Friday deals unless you spot it for less than £50.
Nutribullet 600: A powerful blender that can be used to make smoothies and juices.
What price should you pay: Usually £60 to £70 but we saw it on sale for £40 last January. If you can find it for less than £60, it’s a deal.
LG OLED55B7V: This is a 55-inch TV with great picture quality.
What price should you pay: It’s normally on at £2,500 — but retailer very.co.uk will slash the price to £1,500. There may be even further reductions on Black Friday, so shop around. However, we may see bigger discounts in the Christmas and January sales, so it could be worth waiting if you are not in a rush.
HP Envy 5646: A powerful, wireless laser printer.
What price should you pay: It was on offer with 50 per cent off in August — it retails at £79.99 — so be sure it costs less than £40.
The top five big discounts
1. Oral-B Smart Series 6000 Rechargeable Toothbrush, £54.99, down from £229.99, amazon.co.uk.
2. Braun Silk-expert IPL hair removal device, £135, down from £449.99, boots.co.uk.
3. Topshop wool-blend blazer for women, £70, down from £235, selfridges.com.
4. Men’s Accurist Chronograph Watch 7003, £72, down from £240 goldsmiths.co.uk.
5. Next clothing, whose 70 per cent off sale started at 3 am, next.co.uk.
Blink and you’ll miss them…
Every year, the most popular products tend to sell out in the frenzy of Black Friday.
To help, here’s the list of the items most searched for last year. If you want any of these, put them at the top of your shopping list . . . and move fast.
Argos says that key categories last year were:
4. Video Games
Tech fans were early-bird shoppers, with 57 per cent of all deals purchased between midnight and 4.30am being video games consoles, games and tablets. John Lewis says its best electricals sellers last year were the Sonos Play 1 speaker, GHD hair straighteners and Samsung TVs, as well as the ever-popular KitchenAid food mixer.
In fashion, Ted Baker and Michael Kors took the top spots, along with Calvin Klein pyjamas and lingerie. In the home, shoppers snapped up Joseph Joseph and crockery from Le Creuset and Portmeirion.
App’s the way to do it
This year, it’s easier than ever to check prices on the High Street against other shops thanks to the rise of consumer apps.
These download to your smartphone, and you can use them to check you’re getting the best deal.
Just open the app store on your phone, search for the name and download.
Here’s five of the best. Better yet, all of them are free . . .
Which? Reviews app: This easy-to-use app contains 8,000 unbiased product reviews, and has a handy feature that allows you to search for a particular type of product (a microwave, for instance), which it then sorts into the Best Buys from the Don’t Buys. Download free for 30 days.
MYSUPERMARKET: A comparison app that allows you to search products in all of the major supermarkets to find where branded items are cheapest.
IDEALO: Compare the prices of millions of products in almost 30,000 shops. Has more than ten million monthly users across Europe.
PRICESPY: Log in to create lists of products you want to compare or make a wish list. You can then keep returning to this list to see if any have gone on sale.
PRICERUNNER: Check deals from hundreds of the UK’s best-loved shops and websites including Amazon, Debenhams, Dixons, Tesco, Boots and Toys R Us, as well as specialist stores.