November may seem a little while off yet, but our thoughts are already turning to Black Friday and the deals to be done.
With an economy in recession, getting value for money has never been more important... and nor has supporting our most-loved brands and independents.
Last year's Black Friday event saw 20 per cent more shoppers join the chase for the very best discounts, and while it's hard to know what to expect this year, there's one adage we feel every bargain huntershould keep in mind – 'fail to prepare, or be prepared to fail'.
In other words, it's well worth reading our Black Friday and Cyber Monday guide, so you'll be armed with all the tools you need to find the best of the bargains, while avoiding any disappointing deals. And we pledge that we will never suggest a piece of furniture, or tech or home accessory that we wouldn't consider buying ourselves.
When is Black Friday 2020?
This year's Black Friday falls on Friday 27 November 2020.
When is Cyber Monday 2020?
Cyber Monday 2020 falls on Monday 30 November.
What is Black Friday?
A tradition in the United States since the 1950s, Black Friday is – quite simply – one of the biggest sales days of the year.
It sees our favourite stores and brands drop their prices in a bid to encourage us to start our Christmas shopping.
It's also a chance for them to clear older stock to make way for new. It's something to be aware of when you are shopping those bargains – particularly if you prefer trend-led over timeless homeware, or cutting-edge tech.
Black Friday falls on the day immediately following Thanksgiving Day in the US, and has become such a phenomenon that some states have declared it a back-to-back national holiday.
Black Friday first hit British shores in 2010, 'imported' by Amazon and adopted by stores and supermarkets up and down the land. More recently, it's become a mostly online affair.
What is Cyber Monday?
As night follows day, Black Friday is always succeeded by Cyber Monday, bookending the weekend. Also known as Blue Monday in the US, Cyber Monday has become the biggest online shopping day of the year Stateside. Yes, even trumping Black Friday.
In the early Noughties, Black Friday was seen as an in-store event, and Cyber Monday its online equivalent.
Nowadays, Cyber Monday is usually when the last batch of truly brilliant deals is launched. And for stores offering blanket reductions across their stores and websites, it's usually the last day that these discounts apply.
Why is it called Black Friday?
While all but the most cynical of us see Black Friday as a good thing, the origins of its name have more negative connotations. The term 'Black Friday' was first used way back in 1869 to describe the events of September 24th.
Two American investors, Jay Gould andJames Fisk, and financierAbel Corbin, conspired to drive up the price of gold for their own gain. This resulted in the US Stock Market losing 20 per cent of its value and a huge financial crash. From then on, the prefix 'Black' was largely associated with financial crisis. Black Tuesday on October 29th, 1929, signalled the start of the Great Depression, and Black Monday on October 19, 1987 triggered a global recession.
Black Friday was first used to describe the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy we now know in the 1950s. It was coined by the Philadelphia police department, who were overrun with crowds and traffic heading to the city to snag a bargain.
It's stuck ever since, although nowadays the term has been turned into a positive – a play on going into the black from the red of debt.
Is Black Friday really the best day to shop?
Not necessarily. Yes, there can be strong discounts – particularly on technology, furniture, toys and appliances. You'll also see stores offer blanket discounts across their websites. So if you're a fan of Neon candles or White Company bedding, this could be a good time to stock up. But it all depends on what you're shopping for.
If you have a sofa you love on your wishlist, and you find it at a discount, you could make a substantial saving.
However, if you want it in time for Christmas, you might find the retailer in question might not be able to deliver it to you in time. Then it could be worth waiting until the Boxing Day sales, when the reduction might be even bigger.
Are Black Friday deals worth it?
In previous years we've spotted bean-to-cup coffee machines, Samsung TVs and Miele vacuum cleaners at less than half price.
But as we've already mentioned, some retailers use Black Friday as an opportunity to clear out old stock. Worse still, some even increase the prices of items due to go into the sale days or weeks beforehand so that the discounts they offer seem more impressive on the day.
Buying into older technology clearly has its setbacks in terms of compatibility down the line. But if you don't pride yourself as an early adopter or, for example, are looking for a second or third TV for a kitchen or bedroom, there's no harm for going for a slightly earlier-generation model.
A good approach is to make a list of potential purchases beforehand. Read online reviews and make a careful note of brands, model numbers, colours, styles. Anything that will help you identify your preferred purchase in the heat of the moment.
Then, perhaps the most obvious advice of all is to stick to your list. Compromising on a colour scheme, dimensions or features is a short cut to buyer's remorse.
Are Cyber Monday deals as good as Black Friday?
Retailers increasingly stagger the release of their best deals across the Black Friday weekend – particularly on Amazon. This means that you can still bag incredible deals on Cyber Monday.
However, where an offer is 'while stocks last' across the weekend, you could miss out if you wait until Cyber Monday to make a purchase.
Black Friday furniture deals
This is where you'll find the most noteworthy furniture deals available. We'll bring you the best in sofas and sofa beds for sitting rooms; divine dining sets for Christmas entertaining; classic and contemporary beds; stylish, space-saving storage... and more.
Check here for our best Black Friday sofa deals
Check here for our best Black Friday sofa bed deals
Check here for our best Black Friday bed deals
Check here for our best Black Friday storage deals
Black Friday tech deals
Don't invest in a new TV for Christmas or a new speaker system for streaming the sounds of 2021 without first investigating these exceptional deals.
Check here for our best Black Friday TV deals
Check here for our best Black Friday smarthome securitydeals
Black Friday appliance deals
Has lockdown laid bare the limitations of your fridge freezer? Perhaps a renewed love of baking has prompted you to consider a range cooker...
We will be scouring the internet for any incredible offers on kitchen and cleaning appliances. Only those that are beautifully designed and full of innovation will make the cut.
Check here for our best Black Friday fridge freezer deals
Check here for our best Black Friday washing machine deals
Check here for our best Black Friday tumble dryer deals
Check here for our best Black Friday range cooker deals
Check here for our best Black Friday vacuum cleaner deals
Black Friday mattress deals
There are literally thousands of mattress options out there, making choosing the right one a seemingly impossible task.
That's why the Homes & Gardens team will research the market – not only to find truly comfortable mattresses that will improve your night's sleep, but also to find them at the most competitive price points.
We'll serve up the best of them here.
Black Friday Le Creuset deals
You'll find some tempting discounts on the desirable range of casserole dishes, cookware and pans in the 2020 sales.
We'll seek out some of the most compelling deals in our favourite sizes and colour ways, and list them here.
Black Friday Nespresso deals
Nespresso has taken the art of enjoying a morning espresso to new levels of convenience in modern times, leaving rival pod systems for dust. If you have yet to be converted, Black Friday is the best time to pick up your own Nespresso machine.
Meanwhile, for fans yet to convert their machine from one that uses Original pods to one that takes the latest Vertuo pods, now could be the moment to upgrade your coffee experience.
Discover the latest Nespresso deals here.
Can I access Black Friday deals before anyone else?
Possibly, if you are signed up as a VIP. Often, if you are signed up to a store's mailing lists, you will be the first to hear about the deals and discounts being offered up. You may even be given access to them 6, 12 or 24 hours before anyone else.
Will my Black Friday purchases arrive by Christmas?
Not necessarily, so check the estimated delivery times and factor in a few extra days on top. Due tothe amount of people shopping at the same time, some parcels take longer to arrive than usual.
This is more true now than ever. Covid 19 has driven a huge rise in online shopping, meaning delivery times in general have been compromised. With couriers overloaded with deliveries, it make take weeks for your purchases to reach your home.
Covid has also severely affected supply chains. Factories have been closed, pushing waiting lists up. Not only has this affected technology, as a lack of components holds up the manufacturer of everything from phones to toasters, but also furniture.
While once you may have waited 6-8 weeks for a sofa to be made, for example, you could now be looking at a lead time of 12 weeks. In some cases, we've heard of customers waiting for four months.
How long have I got to take advantage of Black Friday promotions?
Some deals sell out in seconds. So be ready to make a quick decision and have your card details to hand.
Others, such as 20 per cent off across a range or product category, may apply across the whole Black Friday weekend, for a full week, or even the fortnight straddling Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
Fingers crossed, you can grab yourself some bargains. Good luck!