Black Friday deals may be closer than you think. While we usually see the biggest discounts in November, the Prime Day delay, concerns about shipping in time for Christmas, and the incredible online competition hitting 2020 makes this year a little different.
Over in the US, we've seen Black Friday deals already launching at some retailers, and it's likely we'll see a similar movement in the UK as well. So, how do you prepare for this unique Black Friday? We're bringing you all the latest information and, whenever they do land, the best deals right here.
That means you'll want to keep this page bookmarked right the way through this busy shopping season, and check back regularly because we're reporting all the latest developments, and all those first Black Friday deals.
So, which retailers you can expect to offer the hottest deals? Which products will see the biggest discounts? We're answering all these questions and more, as well as showing you how to make the most of Black Friday 2020 with a solid game plan.
Early Black Friday deals - quick links
The traditional Black Friday date is still a way off yet, with Black Friday deals scheduled to begin around November 27. However we're seeing more and more retailers (in the US, especially), bringing their Black Friday discounts forwards on the calendar. In the UK, we're seeing fewer of these 'early Black Friday deals' hitting the shelves, however there are some incredibly competitive sales available online right now.
- Amazon: discounts available in a number of categories
- AO: one month free coffee with select coffee machines
- Argos: 20% off furniture and half price on toys
- ASOS: 20% off orders £30 or more with code BIGVIBE
- Boohoo: massive sale - up to 80% off everything
- B&Q: 3 for 2 on coloured emulsion and more DIY discounts
- Carphone Warehouse: big savings on clearance pay monthly phones
- CDKeys: save on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch games
- Currys: save up to 30% in massive clearance sale
- eBay: up to 30% off until November 12
- Express VPN: free VPN trials and discounts on secure surfing
- John Lewis: £100 gift card when you buy select electricals
- Lovehoney: big savings on adults-only products
- New Look: 20% off everything
- Topshop: up to 50% off new styles
- Topman: up to 30% off select styles
- Very: new exclusive offers available weekly
- Wayfair: big savings on furniture, decor, and garden
Black Friday deals: what to expect
So what does that mean for fan favourites like AirPods deals and the best laptop sales of the period? Well, firstly, it's likely there will be a lot more online traffic - with retailers possibly offering more click and collect options for those who want to still venture out and pick up their goods rather than waiting in.
The possible rise in online sales isn't something that's surprising, even without the pandemic, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals already set to rise in 2020. According to Adobe Analytics, last year saw a near-20% uplift in traffic for those searching for savings on their holiday gifts in some regions.
Whether the same things will be big winners will depend on the attitude towards spending - where last year it was toys in the most-purchased category and the Nintendo Switch as the big console, this year it might be the PS5 or Xbox Series X as the big winners.
We tracked last year's Black Friday deals closely, and we saw a number of hot sales from Currys, Argos and many other retailers - although the UK saw a steady stream of discounts rather than a high impact of single-day deals.
Black Friday is one of the most important times of the year for TechRadar to help our readers - we spend weeks ahead of the big day (or weekend) making sure the whole site is ready for people looking for the information they need to help them make the right buying choice. Whether that's knowing which is the best laptop, TV or iPad, or just seeing great deals for them through our Hawk price comparison widget, we've got everything you need to know.
It's odd that consoles were so highly-sold lasts year, as we had little in the way of a cracking Nintendo Switch Black Friday deal, and even the PS4 deals - while they existed, and weren't too bad - were more scarce than we expected.
There was some fierce competition between Amazon and the local UK retailers like Currys, Argos and Very in last year's Black Friday deals, and that's a good sign given payday will fall after the November shopping weekend in 2020 once more.
If trends follow as expected, big-ticket items like 4K TVs with HDR support will see some promising discounts. As 4K technology continues to drop in price, and 8K starts to see more of a place on the shelves, we've seen previously premium displays sitting in the budget category over the past 12 months, which bodes well for extra discounts in this year's Black Friday deals.
Beauty products and non-electricals may continue to increase in popularity as more brands and retailers look to take advantage of the Black Friday interest, particularly online this year.
It's also not a surprise that Apple launches new iPhones in September to discount them (just a little bit) by Black Friday and Cyber Monday - although this year, the iPhone 12 delay might be an issue and could have an effect on the iPhone 11 discounts.
Top Black Friday deals we saw last year
Philips Ambilight 75-inch 4K Smart TV:
£1,499 £899 at Currys
Black Friday is always a great time to bag a bargain on a new TV, and this deal offered exactly that. A big 75-inch TV with an even bigger discount of £600. With 4K resolution, broad HDR support, Ambilight, and FreeView Play, it was a brilliant buy.
Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB:
£2,399.99 £2,179 at BT
Savings on Apple products are usually hard to come by, but Black Friday came up trumps with a tasty £220 off the brilliant 16-inch model of the MacBook Pro. The base model came with a 9th gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD.
PS4 Pro and Death Stranding Bundle: £299 at Currys
Fancy a new console for Christmas? Well last year you could have picked up a PS4 Pro with the newly released Death Stranding for just £299. A bargain.
Xbox One X Forza Horizon 4 and Lego Speed Bundle:
£440 £299 at John Lewis
More of an Xbox gamer? There were deals for you too, with this great value bundle including Forza Horizon 4, plus the Lego Speed Champions add-on, for less than £300.
Xbox One S and Three Game Bundle:
£199 £129.99 at AO
A great budget console option was this Xbox One S bundle which dropped below £130 during Black Friday. It included the Xbox One S 1TB all-digital console, plus Forza Horizon 3, Minecraft and Sea of Thieves.
Samsung Galaxy S10 at Mobiles.co.uk | O2 |
£150 £140 upfront (with code 10OFF) | 10GB data | Unlimited minutes and texts | £24 a month
Last year Black Friday provided us with the cheapest ever Samsung Galaxy S10 deal we'd seen. £24 a month was ridiculous for a phone this good, although you did need a whack of cash upfront to take advantage of it.
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen):
£34.99 £22 at Amazon
Amazon always goes big for Black Friday, slashing the price of pretty much all its own-brand tech. This 3rd-gen Echo Dot deal is just one of many deals Amazon ran during the two week deal-a-thon - and it was a great price to kick-start your smart home.
Amazon Kindle (2019):
£69.99 £54.99 at Amazon
Black Friday is a great time to buy a Kindle, and Amazon's entry-level offering (which now includes a backlight) dropped under £55, making it a great gift option.
Lego City Fire Downtown Fire Brigade Building Set:
£90 £55 at Argos
Everyone loves Lego, right? And they love it even more when there's a fat discount, such as this £35 saving. The set had 7 minifigures and a large fire ladder truck with a working light and sound brick. A great Lego classic.
Google Home with Google Assistant (White):
£89 £49 at Currys
There's a great saving to be had on this voice-controlled Google Home smart speaker. It can handle all sorts of things from researching answers to questions, reminding you of appointments, getting you the latest news or even keeping the kids amused with some jokes.
Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless headphones:
£330 now £229 at Amazon
These excellent, top-of-the-line wireless and noise-cancelling cans got a staggering £101 discount. Considering they were our favourite headphones at the time, this deal was fantastic.
iPad 10.2: at Amazon | 32GB | Wi-Fi |
Apple's new entry-level iPad from last year even got in on the action with its own Black Friday deal, thanks to a saving of £50 off the Wi-Fi version making it the cheapest new iPad in the land.
Apple Watch Series 3 GPS 38mm:
£279 £189 at Argos
This was the best deal we'd seen for the Apple Watch Series 3 in the UK. It may have been 2018's model, but it was still one of the best smart watches around, with GPS, great battery life and fantastic fitness features.
When is Black Friday 2020?
When will Black Friday deals begin?
The official Black Friday date is November 27, 2020, meaning it's close to Christmas (less than a month before Christmas Day), and that gives you less time to shop online.
Black Friday originally started as a US shopping period, as it's the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving when retailers begin the holiday shopping season.
It's based around "doorbusters", discounts so impressive that bargain-crazed customers will try to break the doors down before the shop opens - although that’s more of a virtual craze these days and will certainly be so this year with the pandemic affecting movement.
Black Friday has become a global shopping event in recent years however, and UK retailers are now fully invested, offering a huge raft of discounts.
Black Friday isn't just a long weekend affair either - retailers tend to start their big Black Friday deals push a week ahead of the big day (so mark November 20, 2020 in your diary), with some even beginning at the start of November - again likely with Prime Day shifting from Amazon.
Savvy shoppers will also need to keep a keen eye on all retailers, as deals can be launched at unusual times, including the middle of the night - so it pays to be alert.
Will Black Friday 2020 be different?
A recent study by Deloitte concluded that retailers are likely to see a seasonal sale boost from 1% to 1.5% in 2020, a scary thought for shops that saw a 4.1% increase in shopping over the similar period last year. To entice those deal hunters back to their shores, then, we may well see some fantastic Black Friday deals this year, especially in the lightning offer / flash sale category.
Black Friday 2020 should continue last year's trend of not just offering discounts, but offering discounts on items you'll actually want to buy, not least because the pandemic will have changed the way we shop in 2020. Retailers are looking to sell more this year, in order to make up for lost time during the slower lockdown months.
That, combined with the season of new product launches, means that you'll likely find older models seeing slightly more impressive discounts this year as retailers compete in an online-first marketplace. While the UK has generally seen Black Friday deals available online more so than in-store, it's likely that the focus will be shifted even further in the direction of web-based retailers who can fully capitalise on warehouse, shipping, and website stability infrastructures to get the edge over traditional high street shops this year.
That means retailers like Amazon, Laptops Direct, AO, and Very will have the upper hand when it comes to organisation - enabling them to offer lower prices. The good news here is that shops like Currys, John Lewis, and Argos will be competing with those lower prices a lot more this year, so Black Friday deals may well look better all round in 2020.
The origin of Black Friday
The origin of Black Friday: a history lesson
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 occurred at the beginning of the pre-Christmas shopping season.
In 1961 there was a movement from the local government to change the shopping season to "Big Friday" and "Big Saturday", but it clearly never caught on and the notion that it was the time when retailers moved 'back into the black' was seen far later and clearly an attempt to bring positivity to the term.
Are Black Friday deals real?
Generally speaking, yes - although there are two kinds of deals. The first has been pre-agreed between brands and retailers, 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) or just the big names price-matching one another, or pushing the price down further as they look to be the big winner. (We saw something similar with iPads in the US).
As with any sales event you’ll see a mixture of 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 behavior.
You might notice that some items are cheaper after Black Friday - even as soon as Cyber Monday. But those are part of the natural Christmas discounting period, and our advice is to always grab a deal if you like it, and be prepared to return if it drops lower.
Where can I find the best Black Friday deals?
As mentioned, you’ll find the best options if you bookmark this page right now - there will be deals from the beginning of November 2020, and we’ll be bringing you the best of them, those that we think are worth checking out, the second that we see them flash up.
How do I get the best Black Friday deals in 2020?
Homework really helps. Some retailers up prices from August through to October so they can offer supposedly amazing discounts on Black Friday, so don’t be fooled by such moves.
They’re particularly prevalent in expensive consumer electronics such as TVs or laptops with product numbers rather than names, with products that were dropped down to a great bargain price suddenly being pushed back to their MSRP again.
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 2020, but an almost identical set with the specification you want probably will be.
So do your research on what matters and we’ll do our best to give you the right comparison needed.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that something that looks like a five star set is the same but cheaper - certain elements (often with regards to screen quality or image processing) won’t be as high quality to achieve that lower price point.
Can I get cashback on Black Friday deals?
Sometimes, yes. Your debit card or credit card may offer cashback on purchases. It’s definitely worth looking into, not just for Black Friday 2020 but for any online shopping, when you’ll be spending the most online.
Am I protected when I buy on Black Friday?
In general, you should be just as protected as you are when shopping any other time of the year. You’ll want to check on return policies and warranty periods, and you should also make sure you’re shopping at known retailers you trust.
While many deals can seem too good to be true on Black Friday, landing on an unfamiliar website claiming to have a product for pennies on the dollar is a good sign you’re in the wrong place.
Remember that using your credit card also can offer a level of protection, so as long as you have the means to pay it back straight away, using this method can give you more peace of mind.
Many credit cards can help you contest payments if you never receive a product, and some even offer extended warranties on products beyond the one included from manufacturer or retailer.