Five things you need to know about Black Friday

By now Black Friday is well under way with retailers working hard to get consumers to part with their dollar.

The Herald rounds up all the information you need to know about the drawn-out flash sales event – what’s hot, what’s not and what to be mindful of when hitting the shops or shopping on the big wide web.

Kiwis collectively spent more than $650 million during the Black Friday weekend last year, outstripping the staggering spending of Boxing Day, which was typically considered the country’s biggest shopping day of the year.

The sales period has garnered the interest of the Commerce Commission who yesterday put out a warning urging retailers and consumers to “think hard” about the bargains being offered on Black Friday and in the lead-up to Christmas.

“We know that there is a lot of marketing about bargains, sales and discounts on Black Friday and in the lead up to Christmas. We want consumers to get the bargains they are promised,” Commerce Commission chairwoman Anna Rawlings said.

Rawlings outlined that if a business claims that the price of an item is 50 per cent reduced then consumers should save that amount off the usual selling price.

“Fine print should not be used to hide important information or change the meaning of a headline offer,” she warned.

Deals aren't always what they seem

Black Friday is known to throw up a bargain, but what shoppers may not know is some product prices are increased ahead of the flash sales event.

Data from price comparison website PriceSpy shows that one in 10 products go up in price around Black Friday. These items are typically gadgets and electronics, and the increases tend to happen a week before the event to make discounts appear more attractive.

Mobile phones were the most common item on Kiwis’ shopping lists on Black Friday last year, but data shows these items offered the smallest discount on the big day.

Insights show that one month before Black Friday last year, at the start of November, the price of Apple iPhone 8 Plus (256GB) was $959, on Black Friday the price had increased by 48 per cent to $1416.

This was a similar story for Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (128GB) models, which increased by 38 per cent to $685 on Black Friday and 18 per cent to $869 on the day from $739 just weeks earlier.

Shop around for a real bargain

PriceSpy NZ country manager Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett says it is important shoppers research and make a list of what they want to buy in advance to make sure they get real deals.

Matinvesi-Bassett says historical price comparison data shows that retailers increase their prices a few weeks before a sales event to make the markdown seem more bigger and appealing for shoppers – it’s a strategy used to ensure they merchants maintain a healthy margin from each sale.

“Our recommendation to shoppers therefore is to not take the discounts offered at face value and conduct price research.

“When we dig deeper across the historical price points of products, we can also see flash sale days, like Black Friday, don’t necessarily offer the cheapest price – as our research found of the top three products people were looking to buy last Black Friday, all items could be purchased for less prior to the sale day.”

Scammers will be at large

As Black Friday and Christmas approaches, it pays for shoppers to be mindful of increased activity by scammers.

Last week a widespread scam text message was sent out in New Zealand making claims about unpaid custom charges, and cyber security software company Avast is warning that it is likely many more shopping-related scams will pop up in the weeks to come.

Avast warns that it is the time of year where the internet is filled with enticing deals but it is also a time where shoppers spend less time researching merchants and where they are purchasing from.

Security software company McAfee says an increase in festive shopping is the perfect storm for cybercrime. Its insights show 41 per cent of Kiwis have increased their online shopping activity this year – but consumers are not doing enough to safeguard themselves from potential security breaches.

A survey among Kiwis show 49 per cent of the population feel cyber scams are more prevalent during the festive season and 69 per cent feel their is an even greater risk with Covid-19 looming in society.

The company found there were 419 threats found per minute in the second quarter of 2020, and almost 12 per cent increase, and that 31 per cent of Kiwis aged between 18 and 24 years old had fallen victim to an online – the highest of all age groups.

Gift guide and deals for under $100

Warehouse Group-owned online marketplace will have deals of up to 50 per cent off on items across 300 brands.

Red Shed The Warehouse is having sales on its toys and electronics, some of its more affordable deals include Xbox One and PS4 games for $29, Zuru Pets Alive Boppi and Bonnie The Booty Shakin’ Llama for $25.

Rebel Sport is advertising All Blacks supporters’ clothing for $29 a piece, Asics men’s shoes from $69, Reebok clothing from $17, Kustom-branded jandals for $6 and Rocky Mountain Lobo sleeping bags for $24.

Briscoes has mattress toppers advertised for $39, Remington hair dryers and men’s shavers for $15 and $20, photo frames for $20 and Hampton & Mason cutlery sets for $15.

Torpedo7 has bike helmets for $20, Cabana tents priced between $29.99 and $34.99 and body boards for $63.99 and skim boards for $47.99. Warehouse Stationery has Lenovo 7-inch tablets for $99, 2 terabyte hard drives Seagate hard drives for $99 and stationery supplies priced from $2.99.

Harvey Norman has Bambillo pillows for $29, Sharp microwaves for $98 and Epson printers for $68 and Braven portable bluetooth speakers for $59. Glassons is selling women’s denim shorts for $31.99, dresses from $30 and cotton bike shorts for $15.99.

Farmers is advertising big savings on make up and toys and is advertising L’Oreal Paris gift sets for $35.99, MAC gift sets for $46.40, Clinique sets for $68 and family board games for $11 and puzzles for $18.74.

Origins of Black Friday

Notorious for deep discounts, Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving and is typically marked through the weekend and into “Cyber Monday” – the next flash sales event.

Black Friday has been picking up in popularity among New Zealand shoppers for a number of years and it is considered to mark the start of the all-important Christmas trading period for retailers.

Black Friday was traditionally associated with discounted gadgets and electronic goods but has extended out much wider encompassing most goods and marked by almost every retailer. It’s popular in all major markets, including Britain and throughout Europe.

The flash sales event originated in North America, in America to be specific, and is named aptly referring to retailers’ accounts from going in the red to in the black – profitable – as consumers send the tills ringing.

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