Most Black Friday 'deals' are the same price or cheaper in the six months beforehand, a Which? investigation has found.

The consumer group analysed 201 of last year’s Black Friday deals at six major retailers – Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Richer Sounds.

Which? looked at the retail brands' prices every day during the six months before and after Black Friday as well as on the day itself.

Around 92 per cent of products - which included popular items such as washing machines, soundbars and TVs - were the same price or cheaper in the six months before Black Friday.

This was the case nine out of 10 times across all the Black Friday 'deals' in the Which? investigation.

In some cases, shoppers may be better off biding their time and seeing if the price of a product falls further.

During the six months after Black Friday, 98.5 per cent of the products Which? looked at were cheaper or the same price at some point.

How to find actual deals for Black Friday

With Black Friday fast approaching, Which? said shoppers should do some research to help them hunt down the deals that really are a bargain.

Ele Clark, Which? retail editor, said: “Take time to identify the products you really want and check that the ‘deal’ you’re seeing represents a genuine saving.

“That way, you can beat the hype and be confident that you’ll emerge from the Black Friday sales with quality products that will last for years to come – and all for a bargain price.”

Which? highlighted a Zanussi ZWF81441W washing machine at John Lewis.

'Discounted' to £309 on Black Friday, customers could have bought it for £60 less at £249 five months earlier and for £289 within a month afterwards, Which? said.

Another offering was a Bush BRC100DHEB 100cm dual fuel range cooker from Argos for £449.99 – which was the same price 66 times before and 19 times after Black Friday when Which? checked.

Out of the retailers analysed, Which? said Richer Sounds had the highest proportion of deals - four out of 14 – which were not cheaper or the same price before Black Friday.

Which? said its consumer research indicated many shoppers had not read product reviews before buying.

A third of those buying baby and child products last Black Friday did little or no research on reviews of the products before buying, for example.

What did Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Richer Sounds say in response?

Amazon on Black Friday

Amazon told Which?: “We seek to offer our customers great value thanks to low prices all year round as well as a number of fantastic seasonal deals events.

“Our Black Friday sale is about thousands of deals on a huge selection of products from every category across the site, at a time of year when we know saving money is important to our customers. And the best thing about shopping online is that customers can easily compare prices, allowing them to make an informed purchase decision.”

AO on Black Friday

AO said: “Customers can get deals all year round at AO and Black Friday is the biggest opportunity to get genuine, great-value deals alongside our year-round price match guarantee.”

Argos on Black Friday

Argos said: “We’re committed to offering our customers a wide range of products at great prices throughout the year and our Black Friday deals are no exception.”

Currys on Black Friday

Currys said: “In 2020 over 98% of our Black Friday promoted products were equal to or at their cheapest price from the previous six months and 54% of our products were at their lowest ever price.

“Black Friday represents one of the best times for customers to shop with us over the year. With our unique price promise, we won’t be beaten on price. Full stop. This applies even during the Black Friday period.”

John Lewis on Black Friday

John Lewis said: “As a participating retailer in Black Friday, we offer fantastic deals across technology, home, beauty and fashion – these are just some of the many promotions our customers can take advantage of throughout the year.”

Richer Sounds on Black Friday

In a statement, Richer Sounds said: “Prices fluctuate pretty wildly in our industry, both up and down for all sorts of reasons, but primarily availability from suppliers and the prices we have to pay to our suppliers.

“So, this can mean that products (annoyingly for all) may be sold in the following Black Friday promotion at prices that are higher than during the preceding year but rest assured that all the deals that we sell are at the keenest prices possible at the time of the Black Friday ‘event’ (which, please note, starts several days before the day itself).”