Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a big deal, and they’re getting bigger every year: according to Barclaycard, which processes around half of all UK card payments, spending on Black Friday 2017 was 8% higher than on Black Friday 2016.
John Lewis experienced its busiest hour of online trading ever, while Argos claimed that over two million people visited its Black Friday website in just 4 hours.
If you don’t take a look, you’re probably missing out: in the UK, 91% of UK retailers took part in Black Friday 2017, while the figure was 81% in the US. That’s a lot of retailers, and those retailers offered a lot of deals.
So how can you find the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in 2018?
Black Friday started in the US, and is the Friday immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday, so this year it’s November 23 2018.
It’s the Monday immediately after Black Friday, so Cyber Monday 2018 will fall on Monday November 26.
These days there isn’t really one – what are advertised as Black Friday deals often start to appear well before Black Friday, and are available beyond Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday was originally unconnected to Black Friday – the term was coined to mark the date when everybody went “Yikes! It’s nearly Christmas and I haven’t bought any presents!” and ordered tons of things online when they were supposed to be working.
There used to be a clearer division between the two dates, with Black Friday focusing largely on consumer electronics and Cyber Monday on things such as clothes and jewellery, but that’s largely gone now.
Instead, they’ve merged into what might more accurately be described as Black Friday And Cyber Monday And The Week Before And After And A Bit More If You’re Amazon. But that’s too long to type, and BFACMATWBAAAABMIYA is a terrible acronym – so let’s stick with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
For consumers, the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales frenzy means a whole week or more of what appear to be good deals – and if you’re savvy, and take advantage of TechRadar’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals monitoring, you really can save a lot of money.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have changed the way we shop in the run-up to Christmas, and they’ve had a massive effect on the retail industry, especially online.
As James Miller, senior retail consultant at Experian Marketing Services, told the BBC: “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”.
That’s good news for us and potentially bad news for retailers, because Black Friday and Cyber Monday don’t magically give us more money to spend. They just change when we spend our money, so perhaps rather than waiting until the week before Christmas to buy our presents we do it on Black Friday and Cyber Monday instead.
Once we’ve spent that money it’s spent, and if we’ve spent it on Amazon – one of the biggest proponents of Black Friday and Cyber Monday on either side of the Atlantic – then that money is lost to more local retailers.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are overwhelmingly online phenomena. Many retailers offer Black Friday deals in their physical stores (Cyber Monday, as the name suggests, has always been an online thing), but with a few headline-grabbing exceptions of the fistfight-in-a-supermarket kind it doesn’t significantly increase footfall.
In fact, there’s some evidence that it has the opposite effect, with tumbleweed blowing down high streets as we all shop from our homes, schools or workplaces instead.
Black Friday has fallen into a rhythm, so some predictions are safe bets:
Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday has become pretty predictable too. You can expect:
There were some really good bargains among the best Black Friday deals 2017, including money off the then-rare Nintendo Switch, the cheapest iPhone 7 deal ever, a massive discount on the iPhone X and deep discounting on the Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy S8.
There was £400 off Lenovo’s convertible Yoga laptop, huuuuuuuge discounts on PS4 and Xbox One bundles, and more than £1,000 off TVs such as LG’s wonderful 55-inch 4K OLED TV, down from a frightening £2,499.99 to a much more reasonable £1,499.
In addition to its usual discounting, Amazon’s own product range always gets deep cuts on Black Friday: it offered really good discounts on Fire tablets, Kindle ereaders and its Echo devices.
Of course, we tracked the best Cyber Monday deals in 2017 too. We saw the lowest-ever price of the Samsung Galaxy 8 on contract, massive discounting on VPN services, Xbox Ones sold with a bunch of free games and huge discounts on Dysons.
Even the in-demand Nintendo Switch was available with decent discounting, while premium products such as Sonos Play speakers and Microsoft’s Surface Pro got significantly cheaper too. And Amazon’s deals, including the discounts on its Echo devices, Kindles and Fire tablets, continued into Cyber Monday and beyond.
The 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday season is going to be longer than ever before. In 2017 Black Friday went from a weekend to a week and in some cases a month, and you can expect that trend to continue.
It makes sense for lots of reasons: retailers can spread demand over multiple days, reducing the stress on their sites and delivery partners; deals are more likely to stand out if every single rival isn’t offering discounts on the same day; and it can make what’s really just a sale seem much bigger than it actually is.
So don’t be surprised if Black Friday 2018 is also Black Friday Deals Week 2018, Two Black Fridays and a Cyber Monday Outside Ebbing, Missouri 2018, Three Black Fridays And A Baby on Cyber Monday 2018, and various other permutations from sale-crazed marketers.
What that means in practice is that having a trusted guide is even more important than in previous years. Our Black Friday 2018 deals page and our Cyber Monday 2018 deals page are the places where we’ll separate the genuine bargains from the old-stock shuffle and the ever popular ‘Ridiculous RRP so it looks like a big discount’ nonsense.
One thing we noticed in 2016 and again in 2017 is that in many cases the available discounts changed as the month progressed. Headline-grabbing stuff aside, the best-value deals tended to appear later in the month on more expensive products, where retailers could still make a profit while knocking a hefty amount off the price.
That’s partly due to upselling and cross-selling opportunities too – many retailers and brands hope that if you buy Super Expensive Gizmo for a bargain price, you’ll then buy some accessories to go with it.
While there’s no way to know for sure what Black Friday and Cyber Monday will bring, we can take some educated guesses, and based on those the following are worth looking out for…
Apple kit is so rarely discounted that even a little bit off is a really big deal. As with Black Friday 2016 and Black Friday 2017 we’d expect Apple itself to offer gift cards rather than deals, but you can expect significant cuts on the as-yet-unannounced iPhone XI Plus, especially on contract, where retailers have more wiggle room to adjust the price.
The new iPad (2018) will have been around long enough to attract decent discounting too, so keep your eyes peeled for those – they’re brilliant devices at any price, but they’re particularly brilliant if you can get some money off.
As with iPhones, so with Galaxies: not just the Samsung Galaxy S9 but the Note range too. We saw Black Friday deals wiping out the entire up-front cost on contract Samsung handsets, and with the phone having been on sale since early 2018 we’ll be amazed if there aren’t some delicious deals to be had around Black Friday 2018.
Tech-wise they’re still brilliant, but in retail terms these consoles are getting long in the tooth. With rumours of a PS5 swirling (and Sony effectively admitting that the PS4 is off to the glue factory soon), and a pretty saturated market, we’d expect to see some great deals on both consoles, especially bundles, where retailers have much more room to manoeuvre.
We’d also expect to see discounting on the PlayStation VR headset, which hasn’t been quite the smash-hit Sony was hoping for. There’s a good range of good VR content now, which wasn’t really the case when it launched, so keep your eyes out for cut-price head helmets.
PSVR’s a much better proposition this year than it was last year, and many of the older VR titles are widely available for pennies now the novelty’s worn off.
Black Friday is always brilliant for TV prices, but as ever beware hilarious RRPs: the price a manufacturer puts there is very rarely the price anybody pays, so use the likes of PriceSpy and CamelCamelCamel to check a price history.
There will be deals out there, though – OLED tech in particular is still incredibly expensive and improving fast, which means that, much to the chagrin of early adopters, there will be massive discounts on relatively recent sets.
The difference between OLED and even very good LED TVs is really dramatic, and you’re not going to regret the upgrade – especially if you get it at a knock-down price.
That doesn’t mean you should overlook LED TVs, though. The competition in that market is absolutely fierce, and that means sets that cost more than a car last year will be much, much cheaper this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
It wouldn’t be Black Friday or Cyber Monday if Amazon wasn’t slashing the price of its own-brand devices, and last year we saw some superb deals on the Echo speaker range, Fire tablets, Kindles and Fire TV devices.
The full-size Amazon Echo was reduced from £89.99 to £69.99, while the Echo Dot was down from £49.99 to £34.99 and the hub-enabled Echo Plus was down from £139.99 to £109.99 – and there were even bigger savings to be had if you bought two or more Echos. There are sure to be similar deals this year, and with Amazon expanding its smart speaker lineup with the Echo Show and Echo Spot, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be the perfect time to create a multi-room Echo setup without breaking the bank.
Amazon’s tablets and ereaders also saw some generous discounts, with the Kindle Paperwhite down from £109.99 to just £79.99 and the Alexa-enabled Fire HD 10 Tablet getting a whopping £40 off, bringing it down from £149.99 to £109.99. The Fire TV and Fire TV stick were also on sale – and if Amazon’s new Fire TV Cube makes it to the UK in time for Black Friday 2018 it’ll likely get a price drop too.
Black Friday is the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving, when retailers kick-start the holiday shopping season.
It’s based around ‘doorbusters’, discounts so impressive that – metaphorically speaking, but sometimes literally – bargain-crazed customers will try to break the doors down before the shop opens.
Many, many stores have Black Friday sales, and while the discounts vary you can often snag a bargain.
The first known mention of Black Friday was in November 1951, when the journal Factory Management and Maintenance used it to describe the issue of people calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving so they could have an extra day off work.
At the same time, police in the US were using the phrases ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Black Saturday’ to describe the horrendous traffic jams that occurred at the beginning of the pre-Christmas shopping season. In 1961 some retailers tried to market the day as ‘Big Friday’ instead, but that one didn’t take off.
Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately after Black Friday.
The term was coined by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman, and it was a deliberate move to promote online shopping back in 2005, when the internet was made of wood and powered by steam.
It was intended to help smaller retailers compete with the big names who were banging on about Black Friday, although of course those big names promptly jumped on the Cyber Monday bandwagon too.
Black Friday 2018 will be on Friday, November 23.
Cyber Monday 2018 will be on Monday, November 26.
It’s a marketing term for the week in which Black Friday takes place. Retailers typically spread their deals over the entire week or even longer, rather than offering them only on Black Friday itself. More often than not, the sales run into Cyber Monday and the days afterwards.
Generally speaking, yes – although in some cases the discounts have been negotiated well in advance with suppliers, so they’re not as spontaneous as the sellers might have you believe.
As with any sales event you’ll see a mixture of genuine bargains, discounted end-of-line stock and strange things found in the back of a warehouse somewhere. In 2016, consumer magazine Which? accused retailers of some pretty dodgy behaviour.
If you avoid the dodgy stuff, though, you can get some really great deals. For example, last year we got tons of money off 5K iMacs (end of line stock), Hi-Res audio players (deep discounting in the hope of selling headphones), wireless headphones (from another retailer hoping to sell Hi-Res audio players) and tons of Christmas presents.
And we were physically restrained from spending all our savings on electric guitars, which were getting some serious discounting on high-end models.
On our Black Friday 2018 deals page and on our Cyber Monday 2018 deals page. We scour all the top retailers’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on your behalf, with the aid of serious amounts of caffeine, and we’ll tell you whether the deals are worth getting excited about. So whether it’s a 4K HDR OLED TV or a PSVR, if it’s discounted we’ll have the details here.
Homework really helps. Some retailers up prices in October so they can offer supposedly amazing discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so don’t be fooled by such shenanigans.
They’re particularly prevalent on expensive consumer electronics such as TVs or laptops with product numbers rather than names, with products worth a few hundred pounds apparently having RRPs of a million jillion pounds. Once again, CamelCamelCamel and PriceSpy can help you detect both shenanigans and tomfoolery.
It’s also a very good idea to be flexible. For example, if you fancy a Samsung UHD TV it’s best to think about the features you want rather than a specific model number – the BRV553ABD34-82C-9218-X may not be discounted on Black Friday 2018, but an almost identical set with the specification you want probably will be.
Sometimes, yes. Your debit card or credit card may offer cashback on purchases, and cashback websites such as Quidco often offer cashback for new customers of big-name online shops. It’s definitely worth looking into, not just for Black Friday 2018 and Cyber Monday 2018 but for online shopping in general.
In the UK, yes. Anything you buy from a company online is covered by a wealth of consumer protection legislation, including the Consumer Contracts regulations, which give you the same rights as with any other online purchasing. However, be aware that it can be difficult enforcing the regulations if the company you’re buying from is located outside Europe.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring out the fraudsters and fakers as well as the sellers, so be wary of any unsolicited emails or any links to deals being shared on social media, no matter how legitimate they look; as ever with the internet, anything asking you for card details or login details is a scam.
Phishing sites rake in big piles of cash on Black Friday, so be extra suspicious, and if you’re on a PC, make sure your anti-malware software is up to date – many security suites automatically block known scammers, fraudsters and phishers.
Yes, they were. In fact, it was a little bit frightening. The combination of bargain-crazed shoppers and poor crowd control has long made Black Friday synonymous with injuries and the odd scuffle, and sometimes much more serious trouble – in 2011 a woman pepper-sprayed rival bargain hunters in a California Walmart, while in 2016 a shopper was shot outside a Macy’s in New Jersey.
When the UK imported Black Friday it imported some of the trouble too, although thankfully it hasn’t yet proved fatal. In 2014 police had to shut down a Tesco in north London because everybody was battling in the aisles, and there were scuffles in ASDA stores too, prompting that retailer to stop running Black Friday promotions from 2015 onwards.
Cyber Monday didn’t attract the same kind of trouble as it’s always been an internet event, and the more Black Friday moves online the fewer fisticuffs we’re seeing.