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Black Friday 2021 in New Zealand: when it is and what deals to expect

Black Friday
(Image credit: Future)

You might feel it’s a little early to start talking about Black Friday 2021, but we think it’s a good time to start planning for the biggest sale of the year. Black Friday will fall on Friday, November 26 this year, and it’s arguably the best time to buy those big-ticket items you’ve been saving for.

This is our third year covering Black Friday in New Zealand, so we know a thing or two about what to expect during the hectic sales period. We’re confident there’ll be big discounts on top-brand TVs, premium laptops, and with any luck, maybe even some of Apple’s coveted products.

Black Friday 2021 will look different for Kiwis too, and that’s because Amazon Australia now ships to New Zealand. It remains to be seen whether this will result in more competitive deals from retailers such as Mighty Ape and TheMarket – but we hope it’ll lead to better prices for buyers across the board.

Last year, we noticed that sales started to kick off in late October, which is earlier than usual. That change was largely due to the coronavirus pandemic impacting shipping times, so retailers started their sales earlier to try and avoid last-minute crowds and late deliveries. We can’t say for sure when Black Friday sales will start this year, though the October trend could continue.

We'll be keeping you updated with everything you need to know about Black Friday 2021 on this page, so check back in with us regularly as we bring you predictions, early deals and more. If you’re looking for deals you can buy right now, head to our New Zealand tech deals page.

When is Black Friday 2021?

Black Friday falls on the Friday following Thanksgiving in the US, and this year, it is on November 26, 2021 – that means you’ve got plenty of time to prepare.

Cyber Monday takes place on the Monday immediately after Black Friday, so that means this year, Cyber Monday is on Monday, November 29.

Although in theory the two days are individual sales, they have mostly merged into one major sale event. While retailers would traditionally start their sales a few days before the official date, it’s become increasingly common for Black Friday sales to begin a few days, if not weeks, earlier, and sales are often extended well beyond Cyber Monday.

With the sale period falling a few weeks before Christmas, it’s an ideal opportunity to bag bargain gifts for your loved ones (and yourself) before the last-minute rush hits.

What’s the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

In years past, particularly in the US, Black Friday meant physically going to a brick-and-mortar store to clamour for massively discounted items. Cyber Monday on the other hand was exclusively for online-only deals, and is a more recent addition to the retail calendar, following on the heels of the online shopping boom.

Traditionally, Black Friday in the US was more about lifestyle items, while Cyber Monday was geared towards electronics and other high-ticket items. These days, however, there’s barely a difference between what is available on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and most deals offered in-store can also be found online.

How do I get the best Black Friday deals in 2021?

While Black Friday discounts tend to start earlier than the actual day, and extend past Cyber Monday, we’ve found that the best deals drop on the day itself. Our number one piece of advice is to do your research before the sales start, and shop smart.

That means setting yourself a budget (and sticking to it) and keeping an eye on the products you want in the lead up to the shopping event. That’s because some retailers will jack up the price before the sale, so by the time November rolls around, a steep discount isn’t actually as great as it seems.

It’s more likely to happen with big-ticket items such as laptops, smartphones and TVs, so if those are something you want to buy on Black Friday, monitor their prices in the lead up to the sale. Trusted retailers are much less likely to do this too, but it pays to be savvy.

In addition to thinking about the products you want, consider some alternatives too. While plenty of tech gets discounted on Black Friday, not everything does, so think about the product you want, but also similar products with very similar specs and features from other brands. It’s good to have a few alternatives in mind to lessen the chance of a last-minute splurge.

Not to toot our own horn, but we’ll also be scouring the web for the best discounts and deals during Black Friday. So stick with us, and we’ll highlight all the discounts worth your time (and money) on this page.

Five of the best Black Friday deals from last year

Nintendo Switch + Mario Kart 8 Deluxe + 3-month Nintendo subscription | NZ$475.20 from TheMarket (save NZ$73.80)

This deal set you up with the always-popular Nintendo Switch, plus Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and a three-month Nintendo subscription for the discounted price of NZ$475. It was one of our top picks from Black Friday last year, and with the Nintendo Switch OLED set to be released in October, we imagine this regular version will be another hot sale item.

Pre-order: Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 or Xbox One | NZ$79 from TheMarket (save NZ$40.95)

Ah, back in a time when we knew nothing about the game’s glitches and smorgasbord of issues. During Black Friday last year, Cyberpunk 2077 was up for pre-order and was a highly anticipated game for the PS4 and Xbox. TheMarket had the cheapest price for your pre-order. This year, we’re hoping to see plenty more good gaming deals.

Dell XPS 13 (9300) | i7 / 16GB RAM / 512GB SSD | NZ$2,999 from Dell (save NZ$1,000)

The Dell XPS 13 is an incredibly luxurious laptop, and it comes with a hefty price tag to match. But during Black Friday last year, we saw a staggering NZ$1,000 slashed off the machine, with excellent specs to boot. This year, we’ve got our fingers crossed for some ripper deals on premium laptops.View Deal

Sony WH-1000XM4 | NZ$388 from TheMarket (save NZ$211)

Sony’s newest noise-cancelling headphones saw a big price drop across a number of retailers, but TheMarket had the cheapest price during Black Friday last year. It was a great deal on our favourite headphones of 2021, and we’re sure we’ll see a similar, or even better deal this year.

Fitbit Versa 2 SE | NZ$323 from TheMarket (save NZ$76)

The Fitbit Versa 3 had only recently launched when Black Friday rolled around in 2020, so we saw the previous edition get a decent discount. This year, we’re hoping more wearables will get a price drop, including the newer Fitbit Versa 3 and the Fitbit Charge 4.

Where can I find the best Black Friday deals?

This year is the third time we’re covering Black Friday in New Zealand. We have been covering the sale event in Australia for a few years now, so we have an idea of what deals to expect and where to find them.

We’re anticipating competition between retailers both big and small to gain momentum, particularly given Amazon Australia’s recent entry into the market. Discounts will grow from one-day flash sales to being spread over an entire week – if not longer.

With Mighty Ape well and truly establishing itself as a major player in the online retail market, local brick-and-mortar stores could be stepping up their online sales game, and may try to tempt shoppers by offering higher discounts on goods.

TheMarket is also one to watch, as it curates a large range of Kiwi retailers into one location, and offers great coupon discounts you won’t find at the retailers themselves.

While we can’t be certain what will be on offer this year, here are our early predictions:

  • Amazon, TheMarket and Mighty Ape will push hard to dominate the online retail market
  • It will be wise to wait on purchasing a new laptop, as these always get a decent discount during Black Friday sales
  • If you’re looking to upgrade your home entertainment system, we expect prices to be slashed on TVs and soundbars
  • There will almost certainly be great deals on big name headphones
  • Cameras across the range will have savings in their sights

Black Friday 2021 FAQ

Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales held in New Zealand?

Most definitely. Black Friday may have started off as an American tradition, but it’s become increasingly popular in New Zealand over the last five years or so, with major retailers such as Mighty Ape, TheMarket, Dell and Microsoft offering big bargains on a wide variety of products, usually kicking the sale off before the actual date and extending well beyond Cyber Monday.

How did Black Friday start?

Let’s take a Black Friday history lesson: the first known mention of Black Friday related to this shopping experience was in November 1951, when the journal Factory Management and Maintenance used it to describe people calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving so they could have an extra day off work.

At the same time, US police were using the phrases ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Black Saturday’ to describe the horrendous traffic that crowded the streets at the beginning of the pre-Christmas shopping season. In 1961 there was a movement from the local governments to change the shopping season to ‘Big Friday’ and ‘Big Saturday’, but it clearly never caught on.

How did Cyber Monday get its name?

The term was coined by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman of the US’s National Retail Federation and Shop.org, 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 harping on about Black Friday, although of course those big names promptly jumped on the Cyber Monday bandwagon too.

Are Black Friday deals real?

Generally speaking, yes – although there are two kinds of deals. The first has been pre-agreed between brands/retailers and suppliers, so they’re not as off-the-cuff as you might expect. The other is sudden price drops, whether that’s an algorithm working out the best way to attract users to buy (as brands like Amazon often will in countries where it’s well established) or just the big names price-matching one another.

As with any sales, you’ll see a mix of genuine bargains, discounted end-of-line stock and mysterious things found in the back of a warehouse somewhere.

Can I get cashback on Black Friday deals?

Sometimes, yes. Your credit card may offer cashback on purchases, and some big brands, particularly for cameras, often offer cashback even when you purchase from a retailer (provided the retailer is a registered and authorised one).

Am I protected when I buy on Black Friday?

Yes. In New Zealand, anything you buy from a business online is covered by a wealth of consumer protection legislation which gives you the same rights as with any other online purchase.

How can I stay safe on Black Friday?

Black Friday brings out the scammers as well as the sellers, so be wary of unsolicited emails or links to deals on social media, no matter how legitimate they look: anything asking for card details or login details may be a scam. Phishing sites do big business on Black Friday, so be extra suspicious – and if you’re on a PC, make sure your security software is up to date. Many security suites automatically block known scam sites.

Jasmine Gearie

Jasmine Gearie is TechRadar Australia’s resident deals expert, with a keen eye for hunting down the best Aussie discounts on everything from laptops and phones to cameras, headphones and mobile and broadband plans. She doesn’t buy anything without doing a little research first, and she wants to help you do the same.