This year Black Friday 2016 falls on November 25
Black Friday 2016 is now just 13 days away! As usual TechRadar will be researching and listing all of the best Black Friday deals right here on this page so that you can easily find your way to the best prices for all the best gear.
Amazon has already announced that it will begin its Black Friday deals campaign on Monday 14th November so expect other big retailers to follow suit. The Black Friday mobile phone deals market has already exploded with loads of amazing deals already available:
This year Black Friday will almost certainly be the biggest day of online spending the world has ever seen, but just how much is spent will depend on a number of different factors.
That’s according to an insider at a major UK retailer who agreed to an interview with TechRadar on the grounds of maintaining anonymity.
“Black Friday is going to be bigger again this year than it was last year. But the truth is that no one really knows what’s going to happen as many of the big deals and promotions will be planned in advance, while some will only actually go live depending on what everyone else is doing. And no one retailer that knows what its doing is likely to speak about its exact plans in advance”
That essentially means that the strength of the deals will depend on someone ‘going first’. For example, if Argos launches a £150 PS4 deal, GAME, John Lewis and Amazon might have a similar deal ready to go just in case. Or else they’ll be ready to react with something else. If no one lights the blue touch paper, the deal might never happen.
This cat and mouse retail strategy was last seen in action as recently as Amazon Prime Day earlier this year. Amazon did really rather well on Prime Day, funnily enough. But what did John Lewis, Currys, Argos and Tesco Direct et al get up to?
Well the answer is not much at all actually. They all had sales signage up on their sites and they all made noises in advance about launching promotions of their own to compete. But in the end there was very little extra discounting done on Prime Day from anyone other than Amazon. What actually happened was that they were all waiting for someone else to jump… but no one did.
So could this happen on Black Friday this year?
“It’s more likely that Black Friday will be the opposite – it’s more likely that the good deals will make their way online than not,” says our source in retail. “But all retailers will have tiers according to how aggressive they want to be. And we’ll be as reactive as we are proactive. What I can guarantee is that there will be some very big discounts across the board and people are going to spend a lot of money, but you probably won’t hear many retailers talk about Black Friday in advance because it’s no secret that we wish it didn’t exist and we’d rather people spent their money beforehand.”
One product category that went into a deals frenzy in November last year was mobile phones. The market went into overdrive with several million phones selling in the period due to some highly attractive discounts on SIM free phones as well as contract deals on the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge from the likes of Mobiles.co.uk.
“Black Friday 2015 was the biggest trading day in Carphone Warehouse history,” said a spokesman from CPW, very much on the record. “Black Friday continues to make its mark in the industry calendar, awareness of the event is at an all-time high and it’s growing every year. Last year handset sales were up nearly 30% through Carphone Warehouse. Online traffic was up over 290% and orders coming through on Black Friday were up by over 380% when compared with an average Friday in November.
“Whilst sales of post pay see an increase on Black Friday it’s our SIM Free deals that saw the biggest increase, over 182%. Handsets currently performing strongly include the all new iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been a strong seller all year and the new Sony Xperia XZ is also catching our customers attention.”
Thanks to Carphone for at least going on the record with that, but as you can see even the UK’s biggest phone retailer is keeping its cards close to its chest as to its plans for Black Friday 2016.
Zavvi is going at Black Friday harder in 2016
TechRadar also spoke to Zavvi about its plans for Black Friday 2016. The megastore brand had a wildly successful Black Friday last year, with sales increasing by 561% on the year before and revenue from its website up an astonishing 469%.
“It certainly feels like retailers will start to extend the Black Friday sales period so that customers start purchasing at least the week before, instead of just waiting for the Black Friday sales,” said a spokesperson for the store. “However, it’s always going to be hard to now gain customers full attention in the period prior to Black Friday because the day has such a strong reputation.
“Zavvi’s buyers are working incredibly hard to secure marketing leading prices on consoles and bundles for Black Friday this year. This year we should again have some very aggressive market leading consoles. In addition, being a multi-category retailer we’ll also have prices and deals over a huge range of other products (DVD, Blu-ray, games, tech, merchandise, gifts, toys, subscription boxes) so it’s a great shop to check out for a broad range of other Black Friday products.”
Black Friday 2016: What TechRadar thinks
5 Amazon gadgets to watch out for this Black Friday
From Kindle to the Alexa-powered Echo Dot, Amazon’s products already sit at price points which seem too good to be true – and with Black Friday around the corner, Amazon’s deals could soon seem even more bargainous. Read more…
How to track the best Black Friday deals with Google Alerts
Google Alerts can email you when it finds new content on the internet that includes a term you’ve specified, so when all the Black Friday deals start landing you can simply check your inbox to make sure you’re not missing out on any amazing offers. Read more…
There’s more to Black Friday than Amazon
Black Friday 2016 is expected to be the biggest shopping day of all time, ever, according to major retail sources. And the majority of the cash flowing to those Black Friday deals will be heading into the coffers of online retailers. Read more…
Best smartwatches that may be worth picking up on Black Friday
Black Friday 2016 is likely to be the first time you’ll want to buy yourself a smartwatch.The prices are almost certain to tumble on some of the best wearables around and if you’ve yet to get a smart time ticker on your wrist, November is the perfect opportunity. Read more…
5 reasons you should do your Black Friday shopping at home
Black Friday approaches and already you might be outlining what kind of tech bargains you’re hoping to see. Or maybe you’re having a look through your winter wardrobe to determine which pieces of clothing offer the best protection against pointy elbows for when you venture out to the stores. Read more…
Black Friday is the perfect time to pick up games you haven’t played
Whether you’re playing on PS4, Xbox One or PC, games don’t come cheaply these days. You’re left weighing up the cost-to-enjoyment ratio more than you would, say, a cinema ticket, so it often feels a bit dicier when picking up anything but the triple-AAA, 5-star games. Read more…
Samsung gives you one more reason to buy its SSDs on Black Friday
Chances are you’re probably thinking about bumping up your solid state storage; it’s just one of those things you never have enough of, and now Samsung is sweetening the pot by including a free game code for Watch_Dogs 2. Read more…
Dell’s Black Friday Deals have landed early
According to Dell, this is the company’s biggest Black Friday inventory ever and features the steepest discounts, so having a comprehensive list of their best offers is a good way to prevent customers feeling overwhelmed by an avalanche of discounted devices. Read more…
5 camera accessories you should get this Black Friday
Black Friday is bound to bring some fantastic deals for those looking for a camera or lens at a knockdown price. But if you’ve already got your main kit sorted, don’t ignore this chance to pick up some bargains. Read more…
Why I’ll be waiting until Black Friday to embrace 4K
Look, I know I don’t need a 4K TV. So the idea of pulling the trigger and buying one this Black Friday seems a bit of an irresponsible one. But then again, by that logic I could still make do with the 21-inch TV set that I had 14 years ago at university. Read more…
How to use Chrome and FireFox extensions to bag the best Black Friday deals
Black Friday deals are rapidly approaching, and it looks like it could be the biggest one ever, with online stores across the internet slashing their prices to entice shoppers. Making sure you keep track of the best deals as they become available doesn’t have to mean you need dozens of internet browser windows or tabs open at once. Read more…
What to expect on Black Friday 2016
Think cheapest ever PS4 deals and Xbox One prices, amazing prices on items like GoPro cameras and Google Chromecasts and of course – crazy iPhone 7 deals.
Analysts have already predicted that Black Friday 2016 will be the first ever £5 billion shopping week in the UK. So if you thought Black Friday was going to calm down again after two crazy years – think again.
“Black Friday is no longer about one single day, or week. Now it is an opportunity to create an ongoing experience that can help grow a retailer’s customer base and loyalty,” says John Beechen, Head of Managed Services at Salmon.
“Even those retailers who do not want to participate in Black Friday need to prepare themselves, as consumers will be in the mood to shop, so they are likely to see an increased uptake and conversion of sales even if they aren’t offering deals and discounts.”
Black Friday has been a big deal in America for decades, but it didn’t really take off in the UK until 2013, largely because the Walmart-owned ASDA chain went crazy for it.
But in 2015 ASDA decided not to take part – and firms that did, such as Tesco and Currys, found their shelves largely empty. After a blockbuster Black Friday 2014, many retailers found that Black Friday 2015 didn’t live up to their expectations – and many shoppers found that the bargains they found weren’t anywhere near as exciting as they’d hoped.
Has the Black Friday boom turned to bust already, or will Black Friday still be Gadget Christmas?
When and what is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving, so Black Friday 2016 will fall on the 25th of November.
It’s when the US holiday shopping season really kicks off, and it’s usually marked by “doorbuster” bargains that cause the kind of shopper misbehaviour that ends up on YouTube.
While it started as a US-only event the global reach of American companies – Amazon, Walmart and so on – has brought Black Friday and its doorbusters to shoppers worldwide.
These days Black Friday is largely an online event, with UK online sales up by 36% year on year to £1.1 billion on Black Friday 2015.
BT Expedite reports that UK retailers received 16.5% more orders over the Black Friday period in 2015 than they did in the same period in 2014, and revenues were up by 19%. However, it also noted that many retailers achieved sales boosts by making Black Friday last longer than a few days.
Amazon’s fortnight of deals was longer than most but spreading deals over a week rather than just Black Friday and the following Monday, Cyber Monday, was a key retail trend in 2015.
Are Black Friday deals bad for business?
For consumers, Black Friday is brilliant because it happens just before Christmas and crashes prices at the perfect time. For retailers, though, it’s more problematic: is it really wise to slash prices at the beginning of the busiest shopping period of the year?
Many retailers and retail analysts say that it isn’t wise at all. When marketing experts Verdict Retail analysed the effect of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2014, they found that there was “no evidence that it stimulated demand”; by discounting their products, retailers sold stuff they would have sold anyway but for less money.
Consumer spending isn’t infinite, so if we splurge our Christmas cash on Black Friday bargains we won’t be back to buy more profitable things in December.
That’s led retailers such as UK shopping giant John Lewis to say “we’ve got to ask if it’s right to concentrate trade so much in that one period”, and other retailers such as Next and Jigsaw decided not to take part in Black Friday 2015.
Some analysts feel the event has distorted Christmas spending, pulling it forward at a time when retailers traditionally charged full prices.
James Miller, senior retail consultant at Experian Marketing Services, told the BBC that “there is little doubt Black Friday has dramatically changed the way people shop in the run-up to Christmas and has created an expectation of deep discounts that arguably did not exist before,” while a report by LCP Consulting found that nearly one-third of UK and US retailers believe that Black Friday is “unprofitable and unsustainable.”
Black Friday may be a big deal online, but it doesn’t seem to be very good for high street shopping.
Research by shopping analysts Springboard and Footfall reported falls in high street shopper numbers of 4.5% and 4.0% respectively.
The fall in footfall might also be due to the relatively restrained nature of Black Friday 2015, which didn’t have the panicky discounting that caused fisticuffs in shops the previous year; some shoppers may have stayed at home because the bargains weren’t big enough, while others may have been put off by the possibility of getting punched.
Black Friday 2016: the cost of missing out
ASDA may have brought Black Friday to the UK, but it decided not to take part in 2015. Instead, it planned to offer a more sensible discount programme over the Christmas shopping period.
The results? Like for like sales in the 13 weeks to January 1 were down 5.8%, the firm’s worst quarterly sales ever. ASDA said that roughly one third of that decline was due to its own discounts, and that 0.4% was due to not taking part in Black Friday. 0.4% doesn’t sound like much, but when your quarterly revenues are measured in billions it represents a large sum of money.
Even retailers that do take part in Black Friday can find themselves losing money. In 2014, many UK retailers’ websites experienced the equivalent of Denial of Service attacks as bargain-crazed browsers crashed their servers.
The same happened again in 2015, albeit on a lesser scale, with websites such as Tesco.com buckling under the demand. That’s an expensive problem, because if people can’t access your website they can’t buy anything.
John Lewis reported that on Black Friday it would be selling £45 million worth of goods via its website, so just one minute of downtime would cost it £75,000 in lost sales.
Black Friday 2016: what to expect
When you look at the retailers who don’t like Black Friday, they tend to have the same thing in common: they aren’t electronics and gadget businesses.
Those retailers generally had a brilliant Black Friday in 2015, and there’s no reason to think they won’t be offering door-busting bargains again in 2016. The discounts will be carefully planned and negotiated with suppliers in advance – retailers learned their lesson in 2014, when they lost a fortune slapping discount stickers on everything in sight – but they’ll still be there.
You’ll also see fewer websites falling over like fainting Victorians, because after a couple of years of experimentation the big retailers now have a better understanding of how Black Friday demand works – so they know that there’s a big surge of demand at midnight and another first thing in the morning, and can plan accordingly.
It’s not just the retailers that need to plan, though. We do too: like any big sales event we’ll see all kinds of exciting deals, but a bargain’s only a bargain if it’s something you actually want. Otherwise you’re just helping a shop shift surplus stock.
If you know what you want, know what it’s worth and are flexible on the details – so for example you want a TV with X features and a screen this big, but you don’t care whether it’s Samsung or Sony – then you’re perfectly placed to bag a Black Friday bargain on Black Friday 2016.
Black Friday 2016: a big year for mobile
Ecommerce consultancy firm Salmon has predicted that the majority of Black Friday week purchases will take place on mobile. This will not have escaped the attention of big retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and John Lewis in the UK. The upshot of this for general consumers is that you should find online retailers making it easier for you to transact on their sites via your mobile.
Black Friday 2015: last year’s Black Friday info
Black Friday is a huge American-invented shopping event offering enormous savings on tech, gadgets, games and more. It takes place on the first Friday after Thanksgiving at the end of November each year – a day when most Americans are off work and have money to spend before Christmas.
Last year Black Friday landed on November 27th, this year Black Friday 2016 will take place on November 25th.
So what is Black Friday and why should you care? Well because in 2014 the Black Friday phenomenon exploded out of America nad across the rest of the world in unprecedented fashion, and in 2015 it well and truly cemented its place as by far the biggest shopping frenzy in the calendar.
Forget Amazon Prime Day. On the last two Black Fridays, sales records were smashed, websites crashed and shoppers ravenously snapped up retail deals in what was in many countries the biggest weekend of online shopping in history. The two biggest days in retail history have been the last two Black Fridays – that’s how big it is.
Of course, Black Friday for us as consumers is brilliant. Every year throughout November we get the cheapest ever iPhone deals, PS4 deals, Xbox deals, Laptop deals… it couldn’t really be any better.
For the retailers though, it’s a massive ache in the head. After all, they’re being forced to heavily discount goods in order to compete with their rivals. And at a time of year when Christmas would significantly increase spending anyway.
December has gone from being one of the best months, to being one of the hardest which wasn’t part of the plan. Indeed, last year UK spending in December dropped for the first time in six years, the assumption being that everyone spent all their money in November when everything was cheaper.
So what happened on Black Friday last year?
Adobe looked at the numbers and reported that on Black Friday in the US last year consumers spent a record-breaking $2.74 billion – up $340 million on 2014 which was in itself 24% higher than 2013’s Black Friday numbers.
In the UK, shoppers spend £3.3 billion throughout the 2015 Black Friday weekend with a record £1.1 billion on Black Friday itself – a record day and the first time that £1 billion has been spent in the UK on a single day. John Lewis, Amazon and Argos all saw more spending than on any other day in their history.
Think about that for a second – £1.1 billion in a day is £764,000 every minute, nearly £13,000 every second. That’s around £16 per person for the day – including babies who presumably asked their parents to spend for them.
Black Friday also powered Techradar to its biggest ever month of traffic ever in the UK and in the US.
All across the country, retailers struggled to fulfill orders with Tesco direct particularly struggling.
So what’s in store for Black Friday 2016? Well the likelihood is that Black Friday will continue to get bigger and more exciting. This time last year, UK MPs were urging UK retailers to boycott Black Friday – they’re not even bothering this year. Black Friday is here to stay.
Retailers and analysts are already predicting that Black Friday 2016 will see the UK’s first ever £1 billion shopping day – over £200m more than we spent last year.
Why retailers hate Black Friday deals
Last year, analysts correctly predicted that UK shoppers would spend more than £1bn on Black Friday – a truly stunning number which ended up being £100 million higher.
So how are retailers dealing with this new and disruptive shopping spike, how can you ensure you get the best deals and where will the best bargains be found?
It’s safe to say that retailers hate Black Friday. Many of the big ones really hate it. It demands they discount products and thus trim their already small margins at a time when customers would be spending money for Christmas anyway, as well as forcing a drastic rethink of stock levels, staffing in warehouses and in IT departments and all sorts of other logistics at a time when they’d rather be preparing for Christmas.
In 2014, many stores panic-slashed product prices on Black Friday with site-wide percentage reductions at the last minute in an effort to get in on the unexpected action, and many ended up making no money as a result. One retailer told techradar that it actually made a loss on Black Friday sales in 2014.
That’s the problem with many consumer electronics categories – margins for stores are already quite small.
In short, Black Friday is a brilliant thing for us as consumers, but a total nightmare for online and highstreet stores. But as Adam Simon at IT stock analyst firm CONTEXT told techradar, “the genie is out of the bottle now and there’s no putting it back in”.
Better deals than last year
Of course, for some retailers with certain products it’s a different story. and the good news is that while stores dislike discounts, Black Friday is a hot war and you’ve got to be in it to win it. So you can rule out a retail boycott.
Indeed, numbers from CONTEXT show that UK retailers imported more laptops in October than in any other month in history.
“What we saw in week 41 [beginning of October] was that laptop sales via distribution into retail was up 65% on the previous two years, ” said Adam Simon, CEO of CONTEXT in an interview with techradar. “So we thought, ‘wow, we’d better watch this space’. Week 42 has gone in the same direction and is extremely high. 70,000 notebooks were distributed to retailers.”
That’s economies of scale at work – the more products retailers buy in, the lower the prices they pay, and the better the deals for us punters. So if you’re after a new laptop, you’d be wise to wait until Black Friday because the deals are likely to be better even than Black Friday 2014. You’ll still need to be quick off the mark to get the best bargains though – allow us to be your guide on that score!
You can also expect superb deals on 4K TVs, PS4 and Xbox One console bundles, Chromecasts, iPads and smartphones as well.
The other trick that retailers are pulling this year is to spread the deals out over a wider period.
“We’ll be running deals and promotions throughout November to make things easier for ourselves,” one major UK retailer, which asked to remain anonymous, told TechRadar. “Consumers now expect discounts throughout this period so to make the best of it we have to plan ahead and make sure we order the right products in the right numbers to guarantee leading prices and adequate stock levels.”
That’s music to many a Christmas-shopping ear. So you can expect not only best-ever deals on Black Friday itself, but throughout the month leading up to the big day as well.
TechRadar isrunning a pre-Black Friday deals on which we’re listing what we think are the best new bargains, so do check in with us next week to have a look.
The secret nature of Black Friday deals
One interesting undercurrent of this new and exciting deals period is how secretive each retailer is being with its planned promotions. We’ve been in touch with all the major online stores and they’re all happy to speak to us… off the record.
Most seem very concerned that their rivals will uncover their plans ahead of time and price-match their carefully orchestrated marketing campaigns. It’s almost like a Tom Clancy novel, except it’s Mr. John Lewis vs Dr. Amazon instead of Khrushchev vs Kennedy.
I guess that would make this article The Hunt For Black November. Or, The Sum of all Deals. Or, Clear and Present Changer. I’ll stop now.
Is Black Friday big in Europe
In 2014 there was a small uplift in Black Friday sales in Germany but it was nowhere near as big as it was in the UK. And judging from the latest product-import figures, it certainly looks like it’ll once again be far bigger in the UK compared with elsewhere in Europe.
Analysts are predicting that the UK will account for two thirds of all the money spent on Black Friday 2015 which goes to show how insignificant it is throughout the continent. While UK shoppers are expected to spend £1bn, Germany will account for just £281m, with £45m in Italy, £38m in Spain, £26m in Holland and £19m in Belgium. France doesn’t even make the list.
Of course, things are still far, far bigger in the US where shoppers are expected to splash out as much as £1.72 billion on Black Friday this year, a truly enormous number which is 16% more than last year’s figures. Canada, meanwhile, will likely account for £57m in ‘pre-Christmas’ sales which includes Black Friday but also the rest of the shopping season.
It’s a whole weekend of spending
Of course, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sandwiching an entire weekend between them, shoppers are expecting to continue flashing the cash for the enture four day period with perhaps as much as £2.2bn being spent on tech, clothes, shoes, white goods and everything else during the Cyber Weekend. That’s 15.9% more than last year.
Greasing the poles
The Digital Strategy Consultancy says that one way UK retailers will make it easier for us to spend our money this year is by creating more dedicated Black Friday pages. Up to 84% of all retailers are planning special deals pages this year so it’ll be easier for you to find your way around.
Problems with delivery?
One thing to certainly look out for this year is increased delivery times. If you want to make sure you get your purchases straight away, you might have to pony up for speedy delivery. Standard or free delivery purchases will likely take a week or two to arrive. That’s because retailers recognise that most of the things you buy will be for Christmas and thus won’t require super speedy delivery. If you do require it – you’ll need to make sure you specify your needs when you order.
“Black Friday is now a firm fixture on the UK retail calendar and retailers that were ‘knocked sideways’ by Black Friday in 2014 are making sure they are fully prepared this time round,” says Giulio Montemagno, SVP & GM International, RetailMeNot.
“With shoppers now expecting retailers to offer Black Friday promotions, we’re finding that some retailers are delaying promotions in early November so as to capitalise upon the anticipated spike in sales on Black Friday and the start of the Christmas shopping period. Furthermore, after coming under fire in 2014, retailers are investing in making sure that the shopping experience doesn’t falter this year.”
What happened on Black Friday last year?
The numbers on Black Friday in 2014 were so big that websites fell over like Victorian ladies on a hot day, with HP, Best Buy, Currys, Tesco, Argos, Boots and Game’s websites all requiring smelling salts.
The Currys website in the UK crashed despite the company having implemented a system where users had to queue to use it, a queue that was still over an hour long by lunchtime.
The chaos isn’t over, either. Black Friday 2015 is now just six months away and it promises to dwarf last year’s stats in almost every way. Online retailers are already planning for it.
You’re much safer online…
Of course, Black Friday is not by any means a phenomenon that’s confined to the virtual realm.
It was conceived originally as a unit mover for high street retailers, a way for stores to shift a lot of stock at a time when most people in the US have time off work for Thanksgiving.
And while Black Friday chaos online led to websites crashing, bedlam on the highstreet tends to be a lot more troublesome.
Last year, fighting broke out in many stores in the UK, with Police being called to supermarkets including a number of Tesco stores which were heavily criticised afterwards by police. In Scotland, one supermarket had to be closed due to the excessive number of people trying to push their way inside.
While in the US, it’s not unheard of for bargain hunters to pepper spray each other in an attempt to get the best deals…
Clearly – it’s much safer to stay at home and pick up your deals on the internet, and that’s what the majority of people did on Black Friday 2014.
To give you an idea of just how busy the sites were, John Lewis and Currys – two of the UK’s biggest retail websites – both saw their web traffic triple compared to Black Friday 2013. Meanwhile, TechRadar’s own Black Friday pages attracted more than 1.6 million page views.
So it’s no exaggeration to say that the pre-Christmas retail landscape was changed forever on November 28 last year. Retailers knew Black Friday 2014 was going to be big, but it actually ended up being far bigger than they ever imagined.
So what lessons have they learnt, and what can we as consumers expect from Black Friday 2015?
Lessons from Black Friday 2014
“Some stores were like ducks on Black Friday – they may’ve appeared calm, but under the water their little legs were going like crazy”
Some retailers were like ducks on Black Friday in 2014 – the first year that Black Friday really took off in the UK: they may have appeared calm, but under the water their little legs were going like crazy.
Some stores totally panicked, as Patrick O’Brien of retail analysts Verdict Retail told TechRadar:
“Some retailers like Amazon planned promotions well in advance, but others were sucked in when they saw the scale of Black Friday and realised that without promotions, they would lose out on footfall or website hits in a key spending weekend.”
The upshot? Those retailers cut prices even though they hadn’t originally planned to.
“Those retailers ended up losing margin as they typically went for a percentage cut across numerous or even all lines, rather than having planned promotions that they could have organised with the help of their suppliers,” O’Brien says.
More bandwidth to retail sites
One of the key ways UK retailers are planning to sell more items in future is to ensure their sites don’t crash like last year. 68% of them are planning to “hire or rent more storage capacity near urban hubs” so that the immense traffic doesn’t take them down.
Winners and losers of Black Friday 2014
Not everybody gets hurt on Black Friday, though. Some firms used Black Friday as cover. “The weather meant that clothing retailers had a lot of stock left to shift, so they used the cover of Black Friday to mark down stock.”
And others had deals in place with their suppliers to deliver apparent bargains, with stock bought in especially for Black Friday.
You can see the Black Friday 2014 winners and losers in ComScore’s UK figures for November 2014. The big winners were mainly large electrical, digital and entertainment retailers, with Amazon, Argos and Tesco at numbers 1, 2 and 3 respectively.
Where does all the money come from?
One of the most interesting questions about Black Friday is whether it created new demand or just brought forward people’s Christmas shopping by a few weeks.
The answer appears to be the latter – Verdict Retail found “no evidence that it stimulated demand” – and some retailers’ panicky discounting was tantamount to shooting themselves in the foot.
Essentially, the Black Friday frenzy moved a lot of stock, but that stock was less profitable than usual.
AO.com founder and chief executive John Roberts used the firm’s annual report to note that Black Friday “did not produce incremental sales, but condensed sales into a shorter time period”, while GAME issued a profits warning before Black Friday in 2015 because its heavy discounting on games and consoles had a negative effect on its bottom line in 2014.
In the US, IBM reported that while overall sales were up, the average order value was down across both Black Friday and Thanksgiving.
That might explain why John Lewis boss Andy Street poured cold water on the idea of Black Friday, telling the BBC last year that “We’ve got to ask if it’s right to concentrate trade so much in that one period… I don’t think we can put the genie back in the bottle but do we need to stoke that fire any more? I personally hope not.”
As Patrick O’Brien points out, though, John Lewis’s “never knowingly undersold” guarantee means that if rivals go crazy on Black Friday 2015, “it cannot opt out!”
Rubbish for retailers, excellent for everyone else
If you take a step back, Black Friday should really be called Foolish Friday. Slashing profit margins during the busiest shopping period of the year for no good reason doesn’t make much sense, not least because it gives retailers less room to manoeuvre if sales closer to Christmas need some extra oomph.
But as John Lewis’s Andy Street said, the genie’s out of the bottle – so if retailers don’t take part, they’ll see their rivals get all the business.
And that’s why Black Friday 2016 is likely to be another step up in terms hype and excitement.
Expect even more commercials leading up to Black Friday, bigger headline promotions and even more chaos.
What deals can we expect for Black Friday 2016?
It’s impossible to know for sure which products will receive the biggest discounts this year, but we can certainly make some predictions based on what we saw in 2014 and 2015.
One of the hottest products on Black Friday last year was the iPad mini and that will likely be the case again in 2015. In fact we’ll likely see some highly attractive deals on many Apple products, partly because they’re so popular but also because there is room for manoeuvre in their prices.
“Expect bargainous Black Friday deals on iPads, consoles, 4K TVs, laptops, headphones, video games and cameras”
It’s worth retailers offering us these headline products with big discounts because they expect that we’ll buy more than one item once we’re on their site.
It’s a safe bet also that Black Friday 2016 will see the cheapest-ever PS4 and Xbox One deals as well as some irresistible bundles. If you fancy buying your kids a console this Christmas, wait until November 27.
In 2015 we saw refurbed PS4’s going for just £199 and brand new ones going from just £229.
We saw many amazing deals on TVs last year too, so if you’re interested in buying a 4K TV in time for Christmas, again you’d be wise to wait for the Black Friday deals madness to begin.
You get the picture. Expect more of the same…
Where to find the best Black Friday UK deals in 2015:
Here’s our rundown of where you will find the best Black Friday deals throughout November this year and specifically on Friday 27th November itself.
Last year, millions of people visited TechRadar’s Black Friday deals page where we rounded up all of the best deals from all of the most trusted retailers in the UK. This year, you’ll be pleased to hear, we’re doing it all over again! Throughout November we’ll bring you a constantly updated page with all of the hottest tech and games deals on the internet, from super cheap PS4 bargains to laptops, TVs, Chromecasts, iPads and anything else we can find. If it’s an amazing Black Friday deal, we’ll have it on TechRadar.com!
Tesco Direct is building itself a good reputation as a destination for good prices on tech items online, although last year it, like ASDA, hit the news for the wrong reasons. Many of the best PS4 deals on Black Friday last year were available from this site so it’s almost a given that we’ll see the same again this year. Expect also excellent deals on ipads and tablets, Xbox Ones, HD TVs, 4K TVs, Blu-ray players, Google Chromecasts and plenty more including videogames, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
Quick link: Tesco Direct Black Friday homepage
If Black Friday 2015 is anything like last year, many of the best deals will be found at Argos. However, this is another retailer that warned against the sales frenzy of Black Friday in January – its excellent Black Friday deals in November ended up negatively impacting its sales over Christmas which might point to a more reserved offering in 2015. However, with a whole year to plan the word is that Argos will still be offering up a whole range of Black Friday deals in all its areas – last year we have amazing deals on TVs, great PS4 bundle deals and everything else from electric toothbrushes to Dyson vacuum cleaners at £149.99 and lots more.
Quick link: Argos Black Friday homepage
In 2014, Black Friday was Amazon UK’s busiest day ever with about 64 products being sold every single second and you can count on the online retail supergiant being right in the thick of it in 2015 as well. Expect enticing sales discounts in practically every area, from tech and games to kitchenware, white goods, furniture, clothing and everything else.
If this year’s Prime Day is anything to go by, there will be more emphasis on lightning deals this year – deals which last just one day or even just a matter of hours before they either sell out or time out. That would mean that you’d need to be more on the ball to get the best deals out of Amazon this Black Friday, but while Prime Day was almost entirely lightning deals, Black Friday and indeed ‘Black November’ will certainly offer a lot more across the board. Last year’s best deals on Black Friday included PS4 and Xbox one bundles for up to £100 off, 5.1 home cinema systems for £105 and Kindle tablets for crazy cheap prices.
Quick link: Amazon Black Friday homepage
In 2014, Currys introduced a controversial queuing system that had online visitors waiting up to 30 minutes to even access its site. Was this an attempt to drum up interest or was it simply to try and avoid the site crashing? Cynics be damned – we think it was a genuine attempt to stop the damaging impact of website crashes, and that’s supported by the fact that most of the major retail sites in the UK did indeed go down for prolonged periods in 2014. Expect Black Friday deals from Currys on all things – computing, gadgets and mobile. Last year there were deals on Beats by Dre headphones, Apple iPad Air 2’s were going for £209 and there were good discounts on Nikon DSLRs and lost more – in 2015 we’d expect laptops, iPads and tablets, peripherals, kitchen goods and everything in between.
Quick link: Currys Black Friday homepage
Mobile Phones Direct:
Of course, Carphone Warehouse might be the most familiar phone deal reseller in the UK but there are others and Mobile Phones Direct has become a big name in the last couple of years. The site was offering some compelling Black Friday deals in 2014 and will be doing so again. Expect Black Friday 2016 deals on iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones and plenty more.
Quick link: Mobile Phones Direct Black Friday deals homepage
Many of the very best and most popular deals during Black Friday last year came courtesy of Carphone Warehouse. The contract reseller was responsible for discounts of up to £200 on new iPhones throughout the weekend and will likely get in on the action again this year as it seeks to capitalise on the increased spending during the period. It won’t just be iPhones either. On 18th November 2015, Jeremy Fennell, Managing Director at Carphone Warehouse, said: “Over the past two years, Black Friday deals and promotions have really resonated with our customers – resulting in some of our biggest weekends of online traffic and trading ever. We know that value is the number one priority for our customers and the Black Friday period is a key for us in delivering that. We have spent the last few months lining up some great customer offers that we’re planning to run for longer to make this year better than ever before. We’ll have some brilliant deals and big savings on top handsets, the first of which we look forward to revealing next week.”
Quick link: Carphone Warehouse Black Friday homepage
Like the sites above, Mobiles.co.uk is taking advantage of the growing trend to buy and upgrade phone contracts online rather than on the highstreet. The site will be featuring many attractive Black Friday deals as it attempts to compete with Carphone Warehouse and Mobile Phones Direct as well as the networks themselves. If you’re due for a new phone come November time, be sure to check out these three sites before you choose a deal.
Quick link: Mobiles.co.uk Black Friday homepage
John Lewis’ managing director spoke out in January, warning against heavy discounting on Black Friday. His argument is sound, that retailers are shooting themselves in their collective feet by all heavily discounting. The flip side to that, though, is that if everyone else is doing it, John Lewis will be forced to follow suit. So you can expect John Lewis to offer similar deals to last year. The best Black Friday deals from John Lewis in 2014 included iPad mini deals for £150, good discounts on Apple Macbooks and a powerful price match scheme to outfox its competitors.
Quick link: John Lewis Black Friday homepage
GAME is definitely a hot retailer to keep an eye on during Black Friday 2015. Last year’s best deals included PS4 DualShock 4 controllers for under £30, PS4 bundles such as the console PLUS Grand Theft Auto V AND The Last of Us Remastered AND Destiny + Vanguard AND a 12 month subscription to PlayStation Plus… all for just £399.99. The Black Friday deals were so attractive that GAME was one of the sites that crashed for long periods last yearso expect more of the same, but hopefully less crashes!
Quick link: GAME Black Friday homepage
Specialising in movies, games and tech, Zavvi went aggressive on Black Friday last year and we have it on good authority that they’ll be delivering some truly exciting deals on Black Friday 2015. Expect some best-ever PS4 and Xbox One deals as well as some sweet savings on DVD and Blu-ray boxsets, console games and assorted tech items like iPads and laptops. We’ll be listing the site’s best deals on this page, so you can either come to us for our selection of the best ones or go straight to Zavvi’s Black Friday page.
Quick link: Zavvi Black Friday deals page
Ebuyer is a trusted retailer of computing goods such as laptops, hard drives, memory cards, components, software, TV and office supplies. The site has, in the last couple of years, offered up to 50% on products in all of its various categories. So if you’re looking for a new USB hard drive, a computer monitor or a laptop, ebuyer.com will certainly be worth checking out!
Quick link: ebuyer.com daily deals homepage
This year, Boots is promising “more unmissable Boots Black Friday offers, both online and in store“. In 2014, the deals from Boots were quite varied but included items such as wearables, electric toothbrushes, hairdryers etc. Expect more of the same this year – if there’s an item you’ve got your eye on at Boots, it’s probably worth waiting for Black Friday just to see if it goes into the sale.
Quick link: Boots Black Friday homepage
ASDA is traditionally one of the shops that makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons on Black Friday. This year it has announced a new strategy for Black Friday which is to not get involved at all. It says it plans to reduce prices throughout the spending season instead of throwing everything at just one day of huge discounts. This shouldn’t affect the Black Friday season online but does show that the negative press around highstreet promotions could be turning some stores away.
Quick link: ASDA Black Friday homepage
Apple’s form on Black Friday has been inconsistent on Black Friday. The Apple Store will likely offer some discounts on iPads and Macbooks, but as per last year you’ll probably find better deals on offer elsewhere from sites like John Lewis, Currys and Amazon.
Quick link: Apple UK homepage
Sainsbury’s has, for the last few years, created a special section in its stores for Black Friday deals and has also started offering more bargains online. It has less form than ASDA and Tesco among its supermarket rivals but the Sainsbury’s website is becoming more of a force in 2015 so it’s certainly one to keep an eye on. Last year’s in-store bargains included super cheap TVs, projectors, Dyson vacuum cleaners and Amazon Kindles.
Quick link: Sainsbury’s Black Friday homepage
Marks & Spencer:
Last year was the first time M&S participated in the Black Friday deals frenzyand while it didn’t go crazy like some of its competitors, it will have seen how much money was spent on the day last year and want to get in on the action a bit more in 2015. M&S now has a growing electronics arm so be prepared for TVs, hi-fi, Blu-ray deals as well as iPads and the rest. Marks & Spencer won’t be the place for the most Black Friday bargains, but it might surprise with one or two stand-out offers.
Quick link: Marks & Spencer homepage
Debenhams has been in touch to let us know that it, too, will be banging the Black Friday drum on November 27th. It’s not much of a tech retailer, though it does sell tablet, laptops, TVs and home cinema systems. Expect to see some excellent discounts across its vast range of items including clothes, shoes, kids toys, white goods and other electricals as well as home and kitchenware!
Quick link: Debenhams Black Friday homepage
Cheat sheet: What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the first Friday after Thanksgiving, and it represents a perfect storm for retailers: many people in the US have the day off, and as a result it’s been the busiest shopping day of the year for nearly a decade.
To make things even busier, many retailers now offer some of their best sale bargains on Black Friday. Even Apple joins in.
When is Black Friday?
That depends on when you’re reading this. If it’s 2014, Black Friday is Friday 28 November. If it’s 2015, it’s Friday 27 November. And if it’s 2013, you’ve been asleep for a year. The things you’ve missed!
How did Black Friday get its name?
Take your pick: some say it’s the day that retailers’ profits finally move into the black, although Wikipedia reckons that the true origin of the term comes from Philadelphia where it referred to the disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that occurred during the holiday.
Is Black Friday as big a deal as it seems?
Yes it is. Every year there are reports of fisticuffs as bargain-crazed shoppers beat each other up, partly because of the practice of using “doorbusters” – amazing and excruciatingly limited deals to attract as many customers as possible. US-based retailers such as Amazon are now keen to make it a tradition here in the UK.
Is Black Friday connected to Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately after Black Friday, and it was invented in 2005 in an attempt to create an online equivalent of Black Friday. What this has resulted in now, is an entire 4-day weekend of hot deals both in store and online.
What’s TechRadar doing for Black Friday?
No one likes a tech bargain more than TechRadar! And we don’t want to keep them all to ourselves.
So we’ll be beavering away tirelessly all weekend to constantly bring you the hottest deals as they go live online. You’ll need to keep your wits about you though, because many deals only last for an hour or until stocks run out. So you need to be quick off the mark – and we’ll be on hand to make it as easy for you as possible.
Tune in to TechRadar on November 28th, 29th, 30th and December 1st to get at the hot deals first!
Where do retailers put their best Black Friday deals?
Don’t you know that patience is a virtue?! It’s not Black Friday yet, but okay – we’ve put together a list of retailer’s Black Friday pages so that you can take a look now and see what it’s all about. We’ll be adding more soon, and of course, this page on TechRadar will be the place to be with a curated list of all the best deals!