It's still a while off, but Black Friday is coming on 23 November, and this year looks set to be bigger and better than ever. Most retailers start their deals events early but it's the Black Friday weekend that you'll find the best bargains of the year.
Retailers will offer huge deals, discounts and sales both in store and online to get the deal-hungry shopper within us all to spend money. UK customers spend millions on Black Friday every year on everything from TVs and lawnmowers to nappies and candles. You'll find anything you can think of at a discount.
Our team of tech experts – who review products and write about tech all year long – will scour the web to bring you only the very best Black Friday deals on only the best products – to help make sure you don't miss out. We also bring you everything you need to know about Black Friday, and how to get the most out of it.
When is Black Friday?
Every year Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving. This year that means Black Friday is 23 November, with Cyber Monday falling on 26 November, and Black Friday weekend sales going on the whole time between them.
Of course, if you paid any attention last year you'll know that the sales themselves will probably start a while before November 23rd - potentially weeks ahead - and that some retailers will actually keep their discounts going right through until Christmas, so it's not strictly limited to those three days.
Don't worry though, we're on hand to let you know when retailers kick off their deals events so you won't miss a thing.
What is Black Friday?
After a holiday of giving thanks for family, friends and settled life, American retailers opted to juxtapose Thanksgiving with a huge day of commercial spending. Who were we Brits to resist the allure of heavily discounted items too?
It is debated whether or not Black Friday refers to a day retailers finally went ‘into the black’, meaning they finally made profit for the year thanks to heightened sales, or whether it actually has morphed from a description of horrible traffic in Philadelphia on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
When Black Friday first gained huge popularity about ten years ago, it was usual to see newsreel of people physically fighting over big TVs in the middle of Wal-Mart (or Asda in the UK, who has now actually opted to not take part because of the mayhem).
You can’t blame them really, as scenes often got out of hand at shops. But Black Friday has passed beyond trivial now as it has moved online, and it is serious business for retailers.
UK shoppers spent nearly £2bn on Black Friday 2016, a lot of it on discounted technology such as phones, cameras, TVs and Fitbits, and some reports had Black Friday 2017 spending up by another 11 percent on the year before. Indeed John Lewis had its busiest ever single hour of online trading on Friday last year.
What is Cyber Monday?
Oh yes, and after Black Friday there is Cyber Monday, so-called after retailers realised people go back to work on Monday and kept spending online at their desks.
We might as well call it Black Friday Weekend though, because Saturday and Sunday don’t escape either - it’s four solid days of relentless spending, savings and tempting deals. Gulp.
How to get the best Black Friday deals
Tech is a big draw on Black Friday, and not just because a lot of people are buying from behind computer or smartphone screens. If you’ve been waiting to spend on a new phone, particularly if you are buying the handset outright, you might be waiting for a Black Friday deal.
Amazon is one of the best places to go for Black Friday deals, and it usually kicks off its annual Black Friday sale a bit early - last year it started on 17 November, with discounts on the new Echo 2 and Echo Dot. The best Amazon offers are usually on its own products, like the Echo smart speakers, Fire tablets, or Kindle e-readers, but it also offers some big price drops across the site - especially through its short-lived Lightning Deals.
We'd recommend signing up to Amazon's 30-day Amazon Prime free trial. It will get you free next day delivery (although it sometimes takes a little longer during the Black Friday rush) but will also get you access to Lightning Deals 30 minutes before those who aren't Prime members. Some Lightning Deals are so great that they sell out before that 30 minutes are up so without the Prime membership or free trial you may find you miss out completely.
We'll be bringing you the best Amazon deals across our deals site and the articles listed below to make sure you're spotting the very best deals (there are so many on Amazon that it can be hard to find what you're looking for) and also to make sure you couldn't get a better deal elsewhere. Bookmark the articles you're most interested in and check back regularly for our pick of the best deals in that category.
Carphone Warehouse and others such as Mobile Phones Direct also have a lot of decent smartphone deals, be it on contract or SIM-only. Given that we now have excellent handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone X, and OnePlus 6 you can expect retailers to offer some very tempting deals. We've gathered all of the best phone deals here.
Last November also saw the Xbox One X go on sale, so many gamers among you will be on the look out for a bargain. Games consoles are often part of genuinely decent discounts, with many PS4 bundles going for under £200 last year. The hottest gaming bundles last year were for the PlayStation VR and Xbox One S, but Switch offers also sold out fast - we'd expect all of those to be big again this year, along with the first real discounts on the Xbox One X.
Meanwhile, places like Currys PC World discount 4K TVs, sometimes by hundreds of pounds.
Below is a list of all of our individual deals pages for your convenience:
And here's a list of our favourite places to shop for Black Friday deals:
How to spot a good Black Friday deal
The most important thing to do when considering if something is a good deal is to ask yourself: “Would I still want and buy this if it was full price?” Often the answer to this can be no, which means you need to think whether you’re saving money with a discount, or wasting it caught up in the excitement of a sale.
Sometimes it’s more obvious though. For example, 50% off a £140 Fitbit Charge 2 is a good deal, particularly if you were thinking of getting it in the first place. Conversely, 50% off a £2,000 TV is still £1,000 – think carefully.
Also, it isn’t unusual (or difficult, or illegal) for some retailers to put prices up on Black Friday. Yes, that’s right – sometimes discount prices are higher on Black Friday compared to the rest of the year because dishonest retailers know they will get more page views from people ready to click buy.
How to return Black Friday purchases
You should be able to, as return policies will apply in the same way as the rest of the year, but still check on an individual retailer level. You don’t want to buy something, change your mind and then be stuck with it.
Buying online can be tricky to return items for a refund, so make sure you really want what you Add to Basket.
Black Friday deals curated by us
We love tech here at Tech Advisor (obviously) and we love genuinely good deals just as much. We work with tech every day, so we know a good bargain – and bad deal – when we see one.
You can visit our deals page here, all year round. But over the holiday shopping period our deals pages go into overdrive and we bring you deals from every tech category as soon as we see them. We pick out the absolute best, so bookmark the page to make sure you don't miss out on a bargain.
We will be curating a huge amount of tech deals for you, the discerning tech consumer, so that you can come here and see the best deals, safe in the knowledge that the discount and retailer is legitimate.
Best tech deals right now
Black Friday may be a few months away, but retailers offer massive savings on tech year-round, including major sites like Amazon, Currys, and Argos. We work throughout the year to pick out the best tech offers anywhere in the UK - you can see our expert pick of the top ten below, and see all of the deals we've found on our deals site by clicking here.
Amazon Echo Stereo System: includes Echo Sub and 2 Echo (for pre-order)
Now: £239.97 (£60 off)
PS4 500GB with Spider-Man, Dishonoured, Shadow of the Tomb Raider Steelbook and Now TV
Now: £279.99 (£44.98 off)
Microsoft 13.5in Surface Laptop with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage
Now: £899 (£350 off)