26 November 2015

Everything you need to know about Black Friday

Whether you’re looking for Christmas presents at bargain prices or a big ticket purchase like a new TV or washing machine, Black Friday may well be the best time to hit the shops.

Falling on the day after Thanksgiving (November 27 this year) Black Friday has long been one of the biggest shopping days in the US calendar, with big retailers offering significant discounts to get the festive shopping season off to a bang. In recent years, Black Friday has grown increasingly popular this side of the Atlantic too, with global companies like Amazon and home-grown retailers like John Lewis and M&S getting in on the act.

Our recent research1 revealed that the average shopper spends £176 on Black Friday, while our current account figures highlight that one in three people were in stores or online on Black Friday last year. This translates to more than £120 million spent on debit cards – surpassing the amount spent on the Friday before Christmas (19th December), often considered an annual peak in spending.

Black Friday proved so popular in 2014 that a number of big retailers’ websites, including Argos and Tesco, went down, while fighting over heavily-discounted products broke out in some high street stores and some shops even had to shut their doors due to excessive numbers of people trying to enter.

While many retailers will have learned lessons and put measures in place to cope with extreme numbers of shoppers this year, if you want to be sure of bagging a Black Friday bargain, it pays to be prepared.

Do your research

Most of the big retailers, including Amazon, Tesco, M&S, John Lewis and Argos take part in Black Friday, but what’s on offer will vary. In the run up to Black Friday, do your research; you’ll want to know what time various retailers are starting their sale – some open their doors as early as 5am – and what’s likely to be discounted.

Most retailers give a sneak preview of some of their biggest reductions in the weeks running up to the sale, meaning you can plan your shopping and hunt out the best bargains.

Tech items such as TVs and games consoles are always popular on Black Friday and techradar will be tweeting all the best deals on items like PS4s and iPad Minis as they are announced at @TRDeals.

If you’re in the market for something specific, like a laptop, it’s also important to research the products by checking consumer reports and reading customer reviews in advance, otherwise you risk buying something which doesn’t meet your needs just because it’s been reduced.

Compare prices

Make sure you compare prices or head to a retailer which offers price match to ensure you are getting the best deal. Currys is offering to match prices offered by certain competitors and has even created a price comparison app, while John Lewis matches prices as part of its ‘never knowingly undersold’ ethos, although not with online-only retailers like Amazon.

In store or online?

Are you going to battle the crowds on the high street or take your chances against the other cyber shoppers online? There’s sure to be significant discounts whichever option you choose. If you stay online, you don’t have to tackle the masses, but you may miss out if websites crash due to high demand. Whichever option you choose it’s best to decide in advance so you can log on or get in the queue early.

Think about how you'll pay

If you’re going to be doing some serious shopping on Black Friday, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to pay for it — using cash in your current account, a credit card or another method.

It’s often a good idea to pay for large items on your credit card as you get extra protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. However, if you can’t afford to pay off the balance straight away, you may be hit by interest, unless you can find an interest-free deal. See if you could spread the cost of Black Friday bargains with a Nationwide Credit Card, we’re currently offering an introductory rate of 0% on purchases for 12 months. After the introductory offer has ended the rate reverts to 17.9% APR representative (variable), subject to individual circumstances.

If you have a Nationwide FlexPlus account it could be worth buying any household electrical items using your debit card as you’ll get an additional 12 months’ warranty on eligible white goods and home entertainment appliances.

Check out our complete range of current accounts

Contactless payment can help speed up the paying process in a crowded store if you’re just making small purchases.

What about Cyber Monday?

Can’t face the crowds on Black Friday? Don’t worry, there’s always Cyber Monday. This is traditionally held the Monday after thanksgiving and is typically one of the other biggest online shopping days of the year. While most stores don’t hold a specific Cyber Monday sale, you may find that any stock left over from Black Friday is still heavily discounted.

1Nationwide research carried out by OnePoll of 2,000 respondents between 16/10/2015 and 19/10/2015.

Credit cards are only available to those aged 18 and over and subject to circumstances.
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