Here in the UK the big retailers, and millions of savvy consumers, are gearing up for one of the biggest trading days of the year. Another import from the US, this year’s Black Friday is the 24 November. Since last year, a number of large online retailers have begun stretching ‘Black Friday’ from the Monday to the Friday, to try to avoid the chaos and website meltdowns of previous year.
With retailer spend increasing year on year, larger numbers of high street brands and more e-commerce businesses are trying to grab a slice of the pie. With Christmas shoppers expected to spend over £10 billion throughout the week grabbing those bargains, how do you go about getting the best deals?
Deals are already on the table
The short answer to that is start now. Since the 13th November, some retailers have been trying to steal a march on the competition by increasing discounts on a range of products. Sign up for a few emails, or download a few mobile apps to your smartphone and be prepared to be inundated with the latest discounts on offer from X or Y retailer. That said; don’t accept everything at face value. In many instances the 25%, 50%, or 75% discount might be off the company’s top retail price, and the cash price you pay for the same product could well be less elsewhere.
With an estimated 45 million mobile phones in use in the UK, those comparison sites are going to be as busy as the online retailers. Start now, put an hour to one-side, grab pen and paper and begin comparing discounts and prices. Jot down the retailers, discounts offered and, more importantly, the bottom line price, but don’t go any further. Discounts may well increase on the run up to Black Friday week, as retailers try to undercut their competitors.
If you don’t have access to the internet now might be a good time to consider giving yourself a little Christmas cheer. Have a look on Wi-Fi or broadband comparison sites. Certain networks may be offering special deals over Christmas and the New Year.
For many, bargain hunting on the high street with family and friends is all part of the fun. Take a notepad and pen and begin visiting the big retailers. Make a note of what’s on offer – or what will be on offer. But remember, your bottom line is the cash price, not the discount. It won’t be long before your list begins to show the best places to return to when the time comes.
Although by far the biggest amount of money will be spent on the internet, the high street retailers will also see large numbers of shoppers through the doors due to the recent developments in technology. It is hoped that by spreading discounted goods throughout the week the madness of previous years will be avoided, and Black Friday will be a busy, enjoyable experience for all concerned.
With all this research, when’s the best time to buy
When to buy depends very much on two things. What you are buying and whether you are high street shopping or online shopping. If you are after a company’s latest smartphone, or some equally must-have digital device for little Jonny’s Christmas present, buying when you have located the best price is probably the best option. Better to have happy Jonny on Christmas morning, even if it has cost an extra couple of quid.
For more standard items, the choice is yours. The chances are that by Thursday latest, most prices will remain the same. However, as we’re on the run up to Christmas, when choosing the best discount, also look at where the item is shipping from. It’s going to take a lot longer to arrive from China, than your high street retailer.
Finally, if the item you’re interested in is advertised at a much lower price on a site you don’t normally use, have a care. Do a little extra research. Check out customer reviews, and not just those on the site. They could be as false as the site itself. If you have any reason to be just slightly suspicious, go to a site you know. Bite the bullet and spend a little bit more, to make sure all the family have a Happy Christmas.