Commercial event imported from the United States around ten years ago, Black Friday falls on Friday November 24, and the promotions, which have already started, will continue all weekend, until Cyber Monday, Monday November 27. Many consumers wait for this period, which is favorable for good deals, to start filling their Christmas baskets.
“Up to -50%, exceptional promotions”: some retailers do not skimp on adjectives to communicate their promotions. But is this period really conducive to good business or is it mainly a communication operation? And how do you navigate this avalanche of discounts?
Compare product price history
Romain Gavache, manager at The Unearther an online price comparison listing more than 800,000 products on 1,200 different sites, advises not to focus too much on the reduction percentage, but rather on the final price, to compare it to other products found on the walk.
“At this time, promotions are flowing freely. It is also interesting to look at the promotion history of a product and compare them to the market, in order to determine if the discount offered is relevant or if it has been in effect for a long time and is a little less of a good deal. Because certain products highlighted have actually been launched for a while and their value has already fallen,” he explains.
Clearly, some reductions displayed have been valid for a long time and the promotion is therefore not as exceptional as some sellers may have you believe. But the high reduction percentage and the period dedicated to promotions plunge the buyer into a feeling of urgency to purchase, for fear of missing out on a good deal.
Black Friday: what are the rules?
In France, Black Friday is strictly regulated by law. Unlike the sales period, traders are not allowed to sell at a loss. As a buyer, you have the possibility to withdraw and cancel your order or return an item within 14 days (new and packaged product) without justification.
Since the Omnibus Law of 2022, it is obligatory for merchants to display the original price and the new price on labels (it is possible to present the reduction as a percentage). Sellers cannot increase their prices in the 30 days before Black Friday or sales, so as to make it appear like a bigger discount than it really is. Finally, the legal guarantee of conformity and hidden defects is mandatory, even on products sold during this period.
Make a list and prepare your purchases
“As a consumer, we will be attracted by a 50% reduction by telling ourselves that it is exceptional. But to be sure of getting a good deal, you must compare prices between sites, and compare price history. If the price curve is going down and appears to be at its lowest, then it could be an interesting deal. If the curve stagnates, it’s up to you to judge, but if you are not in a hurry, it may be worth waiting and putting out an alert in the event of a price drop,” recommends Romain Gavache.
The household appliances, high-tech and toys categories will be particularly scrutinized by consumers, taking advantage of this commercial period to start Christmas gifts. “New items or products in high demand may not be on sale. For example, the prices of LEGO® and Playmobil® rarely change, the same goes for large licenses. On the other hand, sellers will try to sell off their stocks on products that have been listed for a long time or those that will have new versions,” notes the manager. Good deals can therefore be had on classic products or products that have been available for a long time. To prepare, you can therefore establish a budget, a list and do your price research in advance.
Undeniably, you can get good deals during this period. “If we look at our indicators over the whole year, we observe a dip in the price variation during Black Friday, but we should not take at face value all the promotions we see passing by and think about comparing”, recalls Romain Gavache. This discount period is now known to consumers, some of whom have gotten into the habit of waiting to make purchases. For their part, sellers have also taken the plunge and most will therefore offer discounts.
However, be vigilant against offers that are too good to be true: scams are commonplace during this period. As with classic sales, don’t rush too quickly!