Infamous for its chaotic scenes of buyers racing into shops and scrabbling over the last flat screen TV, Black Friday has become one of the most controversial shopping events of the year.
Despite its contention, the American pre-Christmas sale has also become one of the most significant shopping occasions in the calendar.
Black Friday is a time of year when retailers and big brands offer big discounts on products ranging from clothes and cosmetics to household appliances and holidays, and has become a significant event for those hoping to bag a bargain in the lead up to Christmas.
Although Black Friday has been going in America since the Fifties, the occasion really cemented itself as the huge annual shopping event we know it to be today during the boom of the Eighties. The reason is, in part, as a result of Amazon which helped segue the sale’s popularity across the Atlantic in 2010, offering deals on its UK site with the high street soon following suit.
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When is Black Friday?
The sale's date always falls on the first Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, it will take place on Friday 29 November and will last the entire weekend, culminating with Cyber Monday, which is the online-only day of the sale.
However, unlike other years, this year's sale falls relatively late in November meaning there's less than a month for shoppers to find a deal before Christmas.
But Black Friday deals – on the high street and online – begin long before the actual day, from anywhere between the week before to as early as mid October.
Which brands take part in the sale?
The biggest retailers on the high street and online – from Argos to Currys, John Lewis & Partners and Amazon – are some of the most reliable for bagging Black Friday deals, while high street fashion brands such as Topshop, Mango and New Look have all previously offered deals, too.
Homeware and furniture stores such as Anthropologie, Habitat, Made, Swoon Editions and Soak & Sleep are also expected to reduce prices, as well as many airlines such as EasyJet and British Airways.
What's the best way to get a Black Friday deal?
Although there will be thousands of good deals available, the key to getting the best value for your money is to be prepared well in advance of the sales.
Our IndyBest team will be doing most of the hard work for you, finding the best offers on everything from TVs and fashion to furniture and flights, as well as providing extensive guides on how to bag the best bargain. As a result, it's worth checking The Independent closer to the time for our top tips and deals.
When it comes to preparing for the big day, first of all, think about what you actually want. Is it a new winter coat from The North Face, a pair of wireless Beats headphones, an iPad or a Foreo Luna beauty gadget?
The key is not getting drawn into seemingly "good looking" deals that you don’t actually want or need.
Once you know what you want, make sure that you shop around to find the best price for it before the Black Friday sale begins. That way, you’ll know if a sale deal really is a bargain or not.
Deals will be available both on the high street and online, so whether you can face shopping centres and the likes of London’s Oxford Street, or prefer to search from the comfort of your own home, everyone can benefit from the offers.
Tips for Black Friday shopping online
Make sure you’ve already got an account with big e-commerce websites like Amazon to make shopping easier and quicker (no time wasted entering all your details), and if you want next day delivery, register for Amazon Prime.
Sign up to newsletters of brands that you like and might want to shop from so that you’re first to know when their sales start and any discount codes you might need.
Download the apps of retailers you use and follow them on Instagram and Twitter for deals, too.
To find the original price of a product, use PriceSpy or CamelCamelCamel – the latter is especially useful for Amazon.
Don’t forget to check retailer’s returns policies before buying and to check the terms and conditions for sites you’ve not used before.
To make sure you are shopping safely online, check any emails you receive properly before clicking links to make sure they’re legitimate.
If you’re shopping from a computer, it’s also a good idea to ensure your anti-malware software is up to date.
Can I get cashback on Black Friday deals?
This all depends on your debit or credit card provider.
During the Black Friday period, a number of retailers offer cashback on purchases, while websites such as Quidco also offer cashback for new customers of big brands. So, make sure you look into these policies before November.
What were the best deals last year?
Some of the best deals are often on Amazon’s own products, including the Echo devices, Fire tablets and Kindles which are expected to see the same slashed prices again this year.
Apple’s iPads also had good price drops last year, making them a great buy as Apple traditionally only offers small discounts on a limited range of products.
Bundles on the Nintendo Switch were also popular in 2018, as well as new phone contracts, meaning Black Friday is an ideal time to pick up a new smartphone along with a great contract offer.
Headphones were also a big deal in 2018’s sale thanks to Apple’s AirPods, but other impressive offers included Bose’s QuietComfort noise cancelling headphones which were popular.
What are the best deals this year?
Although deals are yet to be released, we’re expecting to see great price drops on high value items such as the Apple’s AirPods as wireless earbuds which continue to rule the headphone market.
Other deals we predict will be featured are consoles, smartphones and TVs including PS4, iPhone XR and Samsung Galaxy S9, while LG’s OLED range of 4K TVs are hopefully going to be offering good deals.
Many of the new smartphones debut in the upcoming months, including the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro this month, so we expect to see some offers across the big brand phones and accessories.
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