The early Black Friday UK deals are already starting to filter through, and we're trawling through the best deals to make sure that you lovely readers are getting the info you need to grab a great Black Friday bargain.
We're here to round up the best UK deals on offer at the moment, as well as helping you avoid the pitfalls of buying terrible tech just because it's got a few pounds knocked of a random previous price.
You're probably noticing that things are starting to ramp up a little earlier than usual: Carphone Warehouse, AO.com, Very, Littlewoods and Currys have all gone live with new discounts, which will be giving you, the consumer, question marks over whether you should be buying now or waiting for the big day.
Black Friday 2018 retail deals
Well, Currys has tried to help offset some of that worry, by bringing its 'Why Wait?' campaign - it's promising Black Friday prices now, but if it discounts anything further, it'll refund the difference.
The big question you're probably asking though: will there be any massive deals this year? Or is it just a ruse from retailers to shift old stock?
Well, firstly: no, there are always some cracking deals to be had. We're already seeing them. Perhaps there won't be as many though, especially in the consumer electronics space, as GlobalData analysts are predicting that the sector is only going to grow around 3.2% in the UK.
That hasn't stopped retailers moving away from a short, concerted burst of deals that can tax stock levels and crash servers, and instead allow consumers more time to sit and think about the best purchase - and that's where TechRadar comes in to help.
Consider this: the last five Black Friday periods have been the biggest-spending Britain has ever seen, and this year's black Friday UK deals are very likely to smash the record again - with only days left to plan still.
Or... are you going to plan at all? According the McKinsey, 92% of shoppers in the UK are aware of Black Friday, with 30% definitely planning to buy something this year and a further 47% expecting to at least have a look to see what's around.
But when you look into their planning habits, well, it seems we Brits are far less interested in preparing for the Black Friday sales, with 48% stating they do nothing at all.
When is Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Black Friday started in the US, and is the Friday immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday, so this year Black Friday is on November 23, 2018.
Just four days later it's Cyber Monday 2018, so that will fall on Monday November 26 if you're looking to mark your diaries.
The best deals will be online, after all - 98% of the UK's Black Friday shoppers are planning on doing so online - and now that the deals are flowing through we'll be putting some of the best we've seen in this page - so do bookmark to see what's changed of late.
No matter if you're after a new 4K TV, a laptop, a new phone or something else entirely, we'll point you to the right products at the best prices from the UK's most trustworthy retailers.
We've pored through the data to work out whether it's best to get spending now to avoid the rush or to wait it out and find something that represents a true bargain among the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
The best of the early Black Friday deals in the UK
As we mentioned above, we're already seeing discounts from a number of retailers. It's hard to say whether these are the grade A, golden discounts that buyers will be snapping up this year, so make sure you've got a budget in mind for that TV, laptop or phone you want.
At the moment it's smartphones that are leading the charge as great deals in the build up to Black Friday - many retailers are shaving huge amounts of Sony phones, for instance, and while these usually would be so-so buys, they're now so cheap that they're excellent buys.
If one of these deals below ticks that box, go for it. Sure, it might be cheaper later on (you could appeal to get the difference refunded if that was the case) but equally if you miss out on a deal that never returns again, you'll be kicking yourself.
So take a look a below and if something hits the mark for you, get buying and you can forget about the rest of the shopping frenzy.
Samsung Galaxy S9 at Mobiles.co.uk | Vodafone | £90 upfront | 4GB data | Unlimited mins and texts | £23pm
Android fans have been laughing at iPhone prices for some years now, and considering Apple's newest flagship phone will cost you more than a grand on contract nowadays, this excellent S9 deal blows us away every time we see it.
EXCLUSIVE Samsung Galaxy S9 at Mobiles.co.uk | EE |
£70 £50 upfront with TECH20 code | 9GB data | Unlimited mins and texts | £28pm
We know, we know - EE is the fastest 4G UK network and you won't settle for anything less. Well, you don't have to. It may be a fiver more a month than the Voda deal, but use our TECH20 discount code and the upfront spend is exactly half while the data allowance is more than doubled.
£40 Currys PC World Gift Card | Carphone Warehouse | On iPhone XR, XS, XS Max and X
iPhone's X series of phones are some of the best handsets out there right now and well worth getting your hands on if you can bear the massive price tag. Carphone Warehouse has sweetened the deal by offering a £40 Curry's PC World Gift Card when you buy an iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, X from them.
£239 £195.99 at Amazon
Our favourite cheap phone is even less right now thanks to Amazon's deals. A cut of £40 is a significant discount, so if you're after an affordable phone this time is a great time to buy.View Deal
Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact:
£329 now £199 at Amazon
It's hard to find a phone with flagship power that comfortably fits in one hand, but the Xperia XZ1 Compact offers just that. It may be over a year old, but a sub-£200 price tag makes it great value.View Deal
Huawei P Smart:
£179 now £149 at AO.com
The Huawei P Smart is our second best cheap smartphone right now, and you can pick it up for even less thanks to this Black Friday deal from Amazon taking it below the £150 mark.View Deal
Huawei P20 Pro:
£799.99 now £599.99 at Very.co.uk
Save a whopping £200 on the triple camera-toting Huawei P20 Pro which boasts a top-notch photography experience as well as a range of flagship features making it one of the best phones of 2018.View Deal
Samsung Galaxy S9 from Carphone Warehouse | iD |
£99.99 FREE upfront | 500MB data | Unlimited minutes and texts | £26.99pm
Having a big upfront fee can be daunting so we completely understand wanting to cut that out, here you just have to pay your monthly costs. But watch your data usage as you will only have 500MB to use. Total cost over 24 months is £647.76View Deal
iPhone 8 direct from iD |
£69.99 £49.99 upfront | 500MB data | Unlimited minutes and texts | £24.99pm
Here you get the best of both worlds, you're not getting a huge upfront cost and the monthly cost is pretty good too. Balance out the two by paying a bit in each with this contract - a damn cheap iPhone deal. Total cost over 24 months is £697.75View Deal
Nokia 3.1 - £149 now £119 at Carphone Warehouse
This phone is a little on the budget side, but it manages to preserve a few flagship-esque features in there for good measure. Not the most powerful phone around, but in our review we called it "a solidly built phone with an interesting design"... not bad for that price.View Deal
Free Nintendo Switch with 10GB of data on select Huawei and Nokia phones
EE is so ahead of the curve that this deal actually ends before Black Friday itself! It's is offering a FREE Nintendo Switch with selected phone contracts including the Huawei P20 Pro, Nokia 7.1 and more below...
Deal must end on November 19View Deal
- Huawei P20 Pro with free Nintendo Switch for £53 per month
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro with free Nintendo Switch for £68 per month
- Huawei P20 with free Nintendo Switch for £48 per month
- Huawei Mate 20 Lite with free Nintendo Switch for £42 per month
- Huawei P20 Lite with free Nintendo Switch for £38 per month
- Nokia 7.1 with free Nintendo Switch for £43 per month
- Nokia 3.1 with free Nintendo Switch for £33 per month
Sony Xperia XA2 at Virgin Mobile | PlayStation 4 + FIFA 19 | FREE upfront | 1000 minutes | 1GB data | £19 per month
Virgin is offering up a great bundle deal here. Not only are you getting the Sony Xperia XA2 getting the PlayStation 4 bundle as well (which would normally be worth around the £250-mark. An astonishing freebie to celebrate Black Friday.
Deal must end on the December 4View Deal
TV and AV
Toshiba 65U6863DB LED 4K HDR Smart TV:
£779 now £599
There's a £180 saving to be had on this huge 65-inch smart TV which includes Freeview HD and Freeview Play. You'll find this price tagged as a Black Friday deal elsewhere, but there's a five year guarantee bonus here.View Deal
The Backbeat Fit 500s should offer a comfortable listening experience with padded earcups and no need for messy wires with Bluetooth connectivity. The have on-ear controls and are splash proof so you don't need to worry about rain cramping your style.View Deal
Premium style and sound at a not-so-premium price, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H4 are at a particularly attractive price at Amazon, so long as you pick up this snazzy charcoal colour option.View Deal
Nintendo Switch | Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu | Just Dance 2019 | £299.99 at Amazon
This is a very cheap Nintendo Switch bundle considering you're getting two very new games included for just £20 more than the RRP of the console. Buying these two games on their own would cost you £75.View Deal
Lenovo Smart Display 8-inch:
£179 now £129 at AO.com
This is a fantastic price for Lenovo's clever Smart Display which has Google's AI voice assistant built in, allowing you to control your smart home and answer any burning question you may have.View Deal
HP 15.6-inch Intel Core i3 laptop
£549 £329 at Currys
This Windows 10 laptop would be a great choice for working on the move. Its specifications are impressive for the price - particularly its huge 1TB hard drive. The 4GB RAM is a little stingy, but you can easily upgrade it.View Deal
HP 11-v001na 11.6" Chromebook £179 at AO.com
This is a good deal for an excellent little Chromebook. Chromebooks are less powerful than Windows machines, but as ChromeOS is lighter, they don't need the extra firepower.View Deal
Acer Aspire 3 A315-53 15-inch laptop
£499 £399 at AO.com
AO.com has released some early Black Friday laptop deals, including this decent Acer laptop with a 7th gen Core i5 processor and 1TB hard drive. It only has 4GB of RAM, though.
Microsoft Surface Go
£509.99 £440.02 at Amazon
Amazon has cut the price of Microsoft's brilliant tablet/laptop hybrid by £70. Comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD for an impressively low price. It's worth noting that it doesn't come with the Type Cover, however, so you'll need to buy that separately if you want a keyboard.View Deal
Acer Chromebook R13 CB5-312T
£399 £299 at Amazon
There's a decent £100 off this great Chromebook from Acer. It offers 12 hours of battery life, a 1080p touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge that turns it into a tablet-like device. This deal ends at 11:59pm November 27.
Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501GI
£2,799 £2,699 at Currys
The ROG Zephyrus is one of the best gaming laptops ever made, packing a huge amount of power (including a Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 1080 8GB graphics card) into a seriously slim design. This is a very premium laptop with a price to match, but Currys has knocked £100 off.
Acer Nitro 5
£749.99 £649 at Currys
This brilliant affordable gaming laptop strikes a good balance between price and power, with an 8th gen Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive and GTX 1050 4GB graphics card. It's enough to play modern games at medium settings, and has had a £100.99 price cut.
New deals coming
It's hard to predict the deals future, but we're seeing some nifty discounts from Amazon over on our Black Friday US page, and we reckon they've going to appear in the UK too, at least in some form.
This is what we're seeing so far:
Current UK price: £149.99
The 10-inch Amazon Fire tablet is already affordable, but from November 16 it'll be a touch cheaper in the US... $20 cheaper, in fact. At under $100 for the first time it may be worth grabbing as it comes with Alexa built-in and all of Amazon's services in easy reach.
Read our Amazon Fire HD 10 review
Current UK price: £49.99
The 2017 Echo Dot is also on sale in the US from November 22 but we'd only recommend going for the newer edition as it features better audio and a more attractive design. At half price, this is going to be a steal and it's the perfect way to access smart assistant features for the first time.
Current UK price: £139.99
Want the best audio possible from an Amazon Echo speaker? This year's Echo Plus is one of our favorite smart speakers money can buy and this $40 discount is not to be sniffed at. Hopefully a similar discount will be offered in the UK.
Read our Amazon Echo Plus review
Current UK price: £219.99
Want your Echo to have a screen? You'll need the Echo Show, and Amazon is planning to discount this speaker that it launched earlier this year by $50. It's worth waiting until November 22 for this, and hopefully we'll see a similar discount on this side of the pond.
Read our Amazon Echo Show review
Current UK price: Not available
This is our wildcard deal, and while it's an instant recommendation for those in the US it's unlikely to be offered in the UK. That's because the Amazon Smart Plug isn't currently available in the UK... but we've got our fingers crossed this Black Friday period may be the first time we get to use one and Amazon introduces the tech here.
How to prep
Well, our advice would be to hold onto whatever cash you've got left from payday, as saving is the number one goal. Sadly Black Friday lands just before payday in the UK, so you want to be able to use cash rather than dipping into a credit card or overdraft.
What we know from Black Friday last year is that if you go into this period with a little bit of savings, setting yourself a budget on key things to buy for this period, then you're more likely to be able to find the right thing for you.
For instance, if you're after a BIG Christmas present, then you'll probably want to think about console bundles - we always get some great Black Friday gaming deals this time of the year, so if you're thinking of buying someone a PS4 or Xbox One X, then you can get some nifty choices (see below for some great advice on nabbing the best deal).
Or you might be thinking about a big screen TV - the thing there is to know which TVs are likely to be discounted (OLED sets are always a pretty good bargain compared to the RRP) and also be aware of what you want.
To help, we've rounded up the best advice in our Black Friday TV deals advice - helping you work out HDR from 4K, given many of us haven't bothered looking for a new television for the last seven years.
So 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 that look astronomical. 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.
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.
So the advice is simple: know who you need to buy for (if you're getting your Christmas shopping done) know the budget for each (and be honest on the maximum) and if you're looking for a big ticket item then be aware of your needs and don't deviate from them, no matter how good the deal looks!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday: what's the difference?
There's not a huge amount of difference, to be honest. Many Black Friday deals last all the way through to (and beyond) Cyber Monday too.
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.
It used to be that Black Friday - mostly in store in the US - was focused on consumer electronics, and Cyber Monday more on clothing and jewellery, but the lines are pretty much fully blurred now.
They're now 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, as the online giant spreads its sales rather widely.
But that’s too long to type, and BFACMATWBAAAABMIYA is a terrible acronym – so let’s stick with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Why do Black Friday and Cyber Monday matter?
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.
This shopping period has changed the way we shop in the run-up to Christmas, and they’ve had a massive effect on the retail industry, especially online.
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. After all, it's much easier and far less backbreaking, especially if you're after a new large kitchen appliance.
That's why Amazon is one of the biggest players in this space - we're already seeing some Amazon Black Friday deals emerge from the brand way in advance of the big event, and that's a brand worth keeping an eye on as having some of the top discounts.
What Black Friday deals will we see in 2018?
Black Friday has fallen into a rhythm, so some deal predictions are safe bets:
- Amazon will heavily discount its own products like the Kindle Fire, Echo and Fire TV
- Apple will offer something small, such as gift cards
- TVs are going to get massive discounts - especially large, 4K models
- There will be really big price drops on laptops
- Some accessories will be brilliant value
- You really don’t want to take out a phone contract in the months leading up: networks' Black Friday deals slash the up-front and monthly costs
- Camera buffs will be able to save a small fortune on bodies and compacts
- eBay will run Black Friday deals on new products, not just second-hand items
What sort of deals will we see on Cyber Monday 2018?
Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals have also become pretty predictable too. You can expect:
- Fashion retailers such as ASOS to offer site-wide discounts
- Electrical retailers to offer deals on small appliances and white goods
- A continuation of many retailers’ existing Black Friday promotions
The best Black Friday UK deals last year :
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, massive 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.
The best Cyber Monday UK deals last year:
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 smart speakers, Kindle ereaders and Fire tablets, continued into Cyber Monday and beyond.
TechRadar's top tips
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 a Super Expensive Gizmo for a bargain price, you’ll then buy some accessories to go with it.
What to expect from Black Friday 2018 and Cyber Monday 2018
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 many will have week-long events.
Not to blow our own trumpets once more, but that's why we do this. We try to find the deals that are real, not just the ones that had a fantastic RRP that was never truly seen on the shelves.
Top deals to expect on Black Friday 2018 and Cyber Monday 2018
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…
New iPad (2018) and iPhone X
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 cuts on last year's handsets - the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X - if there's still some stock kicking around.
For those hoping for savings on the latest Apple devices, we're unlikely to see any significant reductions for the new iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR - they have simply not been out for long enough and Apple's kit is some of the best tech when it comes to holding its value.
The new iPad (2018) has been around long enough to attract decent discounting too, so keep your eyes peeled for that – it's a brilliant devices at any price, but particularly worth looking at if you can get any money off.
- Apple Black Friday: how to get the best from the brand
Samsung Galaxy S9
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.
PS4 and Xbox One
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 isn't long for this world), 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.
That said, do keep your eyes out for PS4 deals in the lead up to Black Friday - if you see a bundle you like the look of, it's worth going for it rather than risking it not getting dropped in the Black Friday / Cyber Monday furore.
4K HD OLED TVs
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.
Amazon Echo devices, Fire TV sticks, Kindles and Fire tablets
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.
What's in a name?
Why is Black Friday called Black Friday?
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.
Why is Cyber Monday called Cyber Monday?
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.
Are Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals real?
Oooh, the big question: and generally speaking, yes they are – 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 slightly-shifty 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 some TechRadar writers were physically restrained from spending all our savings on electric guitars, which were getting some serious discounting on high-end models.
Can I get cashback on Black Friday deals?
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.
Am I protected when I buy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
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.
How can I stay safe on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
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.
What about physical safety? Wasn’t everybody kung fu fighting on Black Friday?
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.
- Check out our tips to avoid scams on Black Friday