In Depth: Black Friday: how the biggest shopping day ever took down the web

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Black Friday: the biggest shopping day on record


How did you get on? I got a watch I'd fancied for ages and a TV I didn't think I could afford.

If you're wondering what the blimmin' heck I'm on about, then you might just have missed some brilliant bargains.

I'm talking about Black Friday, which has gone from a weird thing Americans do to one of the most important bits of the tech fan's calendar.

Black Friday is the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday, and it's when retailers start slashing prices to kick-start the festive shopping season.

It's famous for the so-called "doorbuster" deals, amazing and amazingly limited special offers that just happen to cause outbreaks of fisticuffs in front of news cameras, which in turn make the viewing public think that that particular retailer must be bargain central. Funny how that happens, eh?

There's a second day, Cyber Monday. That's the Monday following Black Friday, and it's supposedly the day when everybody goes "aaaagh! It's December! Must buy presents!"

Many retailers offer Cyber Monday deals now, although they tend to be more modest than Black Friday ones and fewer people get into fights. Next up? Boxing Day sales!



How Black Friday hit big in the UK


In a few short years the British have gone from mocking Black Friday to getting rather excited about it.

Barclaycard reports that this year's Black Friday was the highest spending day on record, with online sales up 37.5% compared to last year.

John Lewis reported that sales were up 56.8% week on week and 21.8% year on year, with the firm shifting an impressive £179.1 million in a single week.

WorldPay says the number of transactions was up 124% while Visa Europe reported spending rising by 1.6%. The New West End Company, which represents businesses on London's Oxford Street, Regent Street and New Bond Street, expected £220 million to be spent in those three streets alone in one day.

The overall picture is the happiest the high street, virtually and in the real world, has been for some time.

And the online numbers are particularly impressive when you consider that the moment Black Friday began, many retailers' websites fell over like a Victorian gentlewoman confronted by a flasher.

Some sites' "we're too busy! Queue now!" pages looked a little suspicious - so for example disabling JavaScript on the Currys website bypassed the traffic wardens and took you to a very smooth and quick-running website, which was very interesting.

But stores like Game were genuinely offline as angry execs no doubt threatened to take the web teams' Nerf guns and amusing desk ornaments if they didn't get the site back online, stat.

In the US, HP and Best Buy went down; in the UK people found themselves unable to access Argos, Tesco and Boots.

If only there was some way of predicting when demand was likely to be quite high, such as LOOKING AT YOUR OWN SODDING ADVERTS. Ahem.

Were there really Black Friday bargains?


Yes, there were. Our teams of highly trained bargain finders tracked some really good deals on laptops and routers, TVs and Hi-Fis, Chromecasts and consoles and Kindle Paperwhites and Apple iPads.

Some deals were too good to be true - a quick price check of some (but not all) of Amazon's lightning deals showed that some rivals' un-discounted prices were awfully close to Amazon's discounted ones - but others, such as 60% off fine technology magazines, were genuinely good.

And as we may have already mentioned, your correspondent got a big telly.

What's in it for retailers?


They get to shift old stock to make room for new things, and many of us buy more than just the bargain - so for example you might buy a flat-screen TV, remember that every single one of them sounds like it's been thrown down a well, and shell out for a soundbar too; or you might buy a set of Beats headphones and a funny little hat to put on top of them.

Cross-selling isn't the only way retailers make money: in some cases, what the shops lose by slashing their profit margins is more than compensated for by selling the items in large volumes.

What's in it for me?


Cheap things! UK retailers aren't quite as mad as the US ones - even the biggest doorbusters were fairly modest deals on things such as Polaroid TVs when US shoppers were getting 300% off Mac Pros and helicopters and guns and stuff.

But discounts are discounts, and if you got a good deal and you also used a cashback debit or credit card and signed up for a cashback website and applied a voucher code the retailer probably owes you money now, or at least a hug.

What should I do for Black Friday next year?


Homework. We'd recommend bookmarking a smart, sassy, thoroughly independent tech website - hello! - and finding a great source of deals worth looking at - hello again! - so that you don't waste time on pointless offers.

This page right here will be the place to come for all the best bargains on all the best products.

And we'd suggest a shopping list, not of specific model numbers (the likelihood of the GargleBargle BHS21212/EGH3/B2-E42 just happening to come with a 70% discount is pretty slim) but of brands and broad product categories.

If you know the going rate for a 50-inch Samsung LED TV, you'll know whether £100 off the one you're looking at is a good deal or just the going rate; similarly if you know that the iPad you're looking at is the latest one, you'll know that even £30 off is pretty good going.

When is Black Friday?


In 2015, Black Friday falls on Friday 27 November. That gives you plenty of time to start saving, or to learn martial arts if you fancy your chances down the local ASDA at midnight.

What is Black Friday?

What is Black Friday?



Black Friday is the first Friday after Thanksgiving, and it represents a perfect storm for retailers: many people in the US have the day off, and as a result it's been the busiest shopping day of the year for nearly a decade.

To make things even busier, many retailers now offer some of their best sale bargains on Black Friday. Even Apple joins in.

When is Black Friday?


That depends on when you're reading this. If it's 2014, Black Friday is Friday 28 November. If it's 2015, it's Friday 27 November. And if it's 2013, you've been asleep for a year. The things you've missed!

How did Black Friday get its name?


Take your pick: some say it's the day that retailers' profits finally move into the black, although Wikipedia reckons that the true origin of the term comes from Philadelphia where it referred to the disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that occurred during the holiday.

Is Black Friday as big a deal as it seems?


Yes it is. Every year there are reports of fisticuffs as bargain-crazed shoppers beat each other up, partly because of the practice of using "doorbusters" - amazing and excruciatingly limited deals to attract as many customers as possible. US-based retailers such as Amazon are now keen to make it a tradition here in the UK.

Is Black Friday connected to Cyber Monday?


Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately after Black Friday, and it was invented in 2005 in an attempt to create an online equivalent of Black Friday. What this has resulted in now, is an entire 4-day weekend of hot deals both in store and online.

What's TechRadar doing for Black Friday?


No one likes a tech bargain more than TechRadar! And we don't want to keep them all to ourselves.

So we'll be beavering away tirelessly all weekend to constantly bring you the hottest deals as they go live online. You'll need to keep your wits about you though, because many deals only last for an hour or until stocks run out. So you need to be quick off the mark - and we'll be on hand to make it as easy for you as possible.

Tune in to TechRadar on November 28th, 29th, 30th and December 1st to get at the hot deals first!

Where do retailers put their best Black Friday deals?


Don't you know that patience is a virtue?! It's not Black Friday yet, but okay - we've put together a list of retailer's Black Friday pages so that you can take a look now and see what it's all about. We'll be adding more soon, and of course, this page on TechRadar will be the place to be with a curated list of all the best deals!

Amazon Black Friday page

Argos Black Friday page

Very Black Friday Page

Currys Black Friday page

John Lewis Black Friday page

Black Friday UK deals 2014


The Black Friday phenomenon well and truly took off in the UK this year. Traffic to this deals page has been phenomenal all week, and the sheer volume of clicks on retail websites has seen many of them crumble under the strain.

We've seen an incredible number of amazing Black Friday deals come through from UK retailers and even though Black Friday itself has been and gone, many of the deals are still available.

In case you're still catching up, Black Friday is a special time of year when retailers online and on the highstreet shift a lot of stock by drastically reducing prices on hot items for a limited time.

We'll be updating this page throughout the weekend with new deals so do keep checking in with us! And remember, it's Cyber Monday on Monday!




Sunday's Black Friday Deals


Magazines: Get up to 69% off magazine subscriptions atmymavouritemagazines.co.uk with the code XMAS20

PRICE MATCH: Today John Lewis is running a price match scheme to guarantee you the best prices on hot items like iPads, TVs and more. See John Lewis Price Match offers

Xbox One: Get an Xbox One console with two control pads and a copy of Assassin's Creed Unity for £299.99 at Amazon.

Hi-Fi: LG CM2440DAB Micro HiFi - just £99 at Very, saving £49.

TV: Sony Bravia R-Series 32-inch TV - now just £189.99 at eBay.

Home Cinema: LG DH4430P 5.1 Channel 330W DVD Home Cinema System - now just £105 at Amazon.

Camera: Canon EOS 100D Digital SLR - now just £429 at John Lewis.

Desktop PC: Lenovo C460 All-in-One Desktop PC, Intel Pentium, 4GB RAM, 1TB, 21.5-inch Touch Screen - now just £429.95 at John Lewis.

Wi-Fi Booster: TP-Link range extender to boost your router's signal, save £25 and pay £14.99 at Amazon.

HDMI cable: HDMI KING 1.8M (6ft) Imperial Series 240hz+ HDMI Cable v1.4 Gold Plated, Double Insulated just £3.49 at Amazon.

Portable hard drive: WD My Passport 2TB Portable Hard Drive for £59.99 at Argos.

TV: Samsung UE40EH5000 40-inch LED TV - pick one up for just £249.99.

Hi-Fi: Philips MCM2150/05 70W Micro Music System With FM Radio and CD Player - just £60 at Tesco.

Hi-Fi: Philips BTM2056 Hi-Fi System with Bluetooth Wireless connectivity and CD Player - just £60 at Tesco.

DualShock 4: Pick up a spare PS4 controller for just £29.99 at Game.

Google Chromecast is currently just £18 at a variety of retailers. See the deals at Amazon, Currys and Tesco.

iPhone: Save up to £200 on iPhones at Carphone Warehouse this weekend!

Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 direct from Samsung for £349 with code NOTE150.

iPad: Apple iPad mini 2 - 16 GB just £209 at Currys.

Nikon DSLR: For just £339 you can pick up the Nikon D3200 DSLR Camera with 18-55 mm + 55-200 mm Telephoto Zoom Lens at Currys!

Canon: Pick up the Canon PowerShot SX510 12MP Bridge Camera for just £119.99 at Argos!

HP Printer: HP 2544 Wireless All-in-one Colour Inkjet Printer just £24.20 at Tesco!

Android tablet: The ASUS MeMO Pad 7-inch tablet is currently just £79 at Currys and Very.

TV: Sony KDL40R483 40 Inch Full HD Freeview HD LED TV just £299.99 at Argos.

Dell PCs: Dell is offering 12% off all XPS laptops and desktop PCs this weekend!

Breaking Bad: Get every episode on DVD for £40 at Amazon.

EXPIRED: Sony PS4: Get a PlayStation 4 with Driveclub for £289 at Amazon.

USB storage: WD My Passport 2TB Portable Hard Drive for just £59.99 at Argos.

Bluetooth speaker: Anker A7908 Portable Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker for £29.99 at Amazon.

Headphones: AKG K452 High-Performance On-Ear Headphones for £54 at Amazon.

Headphones: Sennheiser CX 300 II for £21.99 at Amazon.

Kindle: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite eReader at John Lewis for £79.

Tablet: Lenovo Yoga 10 at Very for just £159.

TV: Panasonic TX-42A400B 42-inch at Amazon for just £309!

Fitness band: JAWBONE UP at Currys for £39.

Home cinema: Panasonic SC-BTT405EBK 5.1 Smart 3D Blu-ray Home Cinema System all for just £149 at Currys!

Headphones: Beats by Dre Solo 2 for just £134.99 at Currys.

Magazine subscriptions: With the voucher code XMAS20 you can save an additional 20% on all magazine deals at MyFavouriteMagazines.




Best Black Friday Deals


Panasonic TX-39AS500: One of TechRadar's favourite TVs of 2014, save £100 and pay just £299 at The Co-op.

64GB USB stick: Transcend 64GB JetFlash 700 Super Speed USB 3.0 just £21.46 at Amazon!

Sony SSCH400: a great compact camera currently just £152.10 on Amazon UK

HP Printer: Save £160 on the HP Envy 120 e-All-In-One printer. Was £249.99 now just £89.99 while stocks last!

EXPIRED: Kindle Fire HDX: Pick up an Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablet with 32GB storage for just £129. That's currently cheaper than the 16GB version!

Google Chromecast currently just £18 on Amazon - comes with 90 days free Google Play Music All Access streaming!

Samsung Galaxy Tab S: 10.5-inch white Android tablet, just £298 at PC World (saving £100) when you use the code BLACK100

Nest Learning Thermostat: get Google's smart heating system for just £149 at John Lewis.

Amazon Fire TV: Pick up Amazon's new internet streaming box for just £69 while stocks last!

Laptops and computing: Very has some amazing deals on laptops and other computing items - check them out on Very's Black Friday computing page.

EXPIRED: LG G2: Available on Pay as you Go for just £150 at Vodafone

Dyson DC30: Handheld vacuum cleaner, now just £99.95 at John Lewis.

EXPIRED: Sony headphones: Sony BTN200 Bluetooth wireless headphones on Argos for £29.99.

EXPIRED: Dyson: Pick up a Dyson vacuum for just £149.99 at Argos.

Asus laptop: 15.6-inch Windows 8 laptop, 4GB RAM and 750GB HDD now just £299 at PC World.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids: Get a child-friendly Samsung Galaxy tablet for just £89 at Very!

Broadband Extender: Boost your router's reach with this BT powerline adapter kit, just £25.99 at Amazon.

Kindle Paperwhite: Save £20.Normally £109, currently £89 at Argos.

Quadcopter Drone with camera: Pick one up for £39.97 at Appliances Direct



Black Friday Phone Deals


Phones.co.uk: Check out this Black Friday UK page for great deals on iPhones and Android smartphones: Phones.co.uk/BlackFriday

Vodafone: Currently some great deals on LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and more over on Vodafone's Black Friday page.

EXPIRED: Sony Xperia E3: Android smartphone for just £69 at Very - save £100!



Black Friday Apple Deals


EXPIRED: iPad mini: Price war on iPad minis! Pick one up at John Lewis for just £149. The same iPad mini £149 deal is available at Tesco.

iPad mini 2 with Retina display: Pick one up at John Lewis for just £209

EXPIRED: Apple iMac: Get £100 off all iMacs at John Lewis for one day only

EXPIRED: Apple Macbook: Get £100 off all Macbooks at John Lewis for one day only

iPad Air 2: Pick up a second gen iPad Air, the best tablet ever made, at Rakuten from just £330!

Apple TV: Pick up an Apple TV at Amazon UK today for just £64!



Black Friday console deals


Mini hub: Best Black Friday PS4 deals

Mini hub: Best Black Friday Xbox One deals

Sony PS4: Get a white Sony PS4 for £299 at ShopTo

Sony PS4: This is a great deal. PlayStation 4 console, PLUS Grand Theft Auto V AND The Last of Us Remastered AND Destiny + Vanguard AND a 12 month subscription to PlayStation Plus... all for just £399.99 at Game.

Sony PS4: Get a PS4 with Driveclub for just £289 at Tesco.

White Sony PS4: Get a PS4 with Driveclub for just £289 at Amazon

Sony PS4: Get the PS4 Console and Little Big Planet 3 for £299.99

Sony PS4: Sony PS4 with Little Big Planet 3 and The Last of Us Remastered for just £299 at Amazon.

Sony PS4: Get a PlayStation 4 PLUS Grand Theft Auto V, Watch Dogs, Wolfenstien: The New Order and Battle Field 4 for only £399.99 at ShopTo

PS4: Another PS4 bundle with four games, this time with Grand Theft Auto V, Watch Dogs, Alien: Isolation and InFamous First Light all for just £399.99 at ShopTo

EXPIRED: DualShock 4: Pick up a spare PS4 control pad at John Lewis for just £24.99 for one day only!

EXPIRED: Xbox One: Get an Xbox One with a copy of GTA V for just £289 at eBay UK.

Xbox One: Get an Xbox One with a copy of GTA V at Amazon for £299.

Xbox One: Get an Xbox One on its own for £289 at Tesco.

EXPIRED: Xbox One: Get an Xbox One plus copies of Wolfenstein: The New Order and Alien: Isolation for just £389.99 at eBay UK.

Xbox One: Get an Xbox One with an extra controller for £289 at Amazon.



Black Friday TV Deals


Mini hub: Best Black Friday TV deals UK 2014

Samsung UE40H6400: a brilliant 40-inch HD TV currently just £379 at John Lewis.

EXPIRED: LG 49LB5500: Great deal on this 49-inch LED TV, just £329 at Tesco!

LG55UB820V: PC World has an excellent deal on this 55-inch LED HD TV - save £200 with voucher code BLACK200!

Sony Bravia KDL-42W76: Full HD LED 42-inch TV, currently just £399 at John Lewis.

Sony Bravia KDL-40R483: Full HD LED 40-inch TV for just £299 at Argos!

Panasonic TX-39AS500: One of TechRadar's favourite TVs of 2014, save £100 and pay just £299 at The Co-op.

EXPIRED: Luxor 42-inch TV: Get this 42-inch TD LED TV for just £279 at Very.

Panasonic TX-40AX630B: 4K Ultra HD 40-inch TV, save £300 - now just £699 at Very.

Panasonic TX-48AX630B: 4K Ultra HD 48-inch TV, save £400 - now just £899 at Very.

LG 49UB850V: 49-inch 4K Ultra HD TV, save £1000 - just £999 at Very.

Samsung UE40HU6900: 40-inch4K Ultra HD TV, save £400 - now just £599 at Very.



Black Friday Tablet Deals


Samsung Galaxy Tab S: 10.5-inch white Android tablet, just £298 at PC World (saving £100) when you use the code BLACK100

LG G Pad 8.0 tablet: pick up this Android tablet at John Lewis for just £99.95!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 3: Pick up a Samsung Android tablet from John Lewis for £149.

iPad mini: Price war on iPad minis! Pick one up at John Lewis for just £149. The same iPad mini £149 deal is available at Tesco.

iPad mini 2 with Retina display: Pick one up at John Lewis for just £209

iPad Air 2: Pick up a second gen iPad Air, the best tablet ever made, at Rakuten from just £330!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids: Get a child-friendly Samsung Galaxy tablet for just £89 at Very!



Black Friday Laptop and Computing deals


Cheap laptops: Very has some amazing deals on laptops and other computing items - check them out on Very's Black Friday computing page.

Apple iMac: Get £100 off all iMacs at John Lewis for one day only

Apple Macbook: Get £100 off all Macbooks at John Lewis for one day only

Asus laptop: 15.6-inch Windows 8 laptop, 4GB RAM and 750GB HDD now just £299 at PC World.

Lenovo Yoga 2: 13.3-inch touchscreen Windows 8 laptop now just £499 for one day only!



Black Friday Camera Deals


Mini hub: Black Friday Camera Deals 2014

Sony DSCH400 Digital Camera: a compact camera with 63x optical zoom,a bargain for just £152.10

Sony Cyber-shot DSC HX400: Digital Bridge Camera - a great cashback deal on this DSLR-style handling camera. Get it now for £305.10 (£265.10 after Sony cashback)

Samsung WB1100F Smart Bridge Camera - these are running out fast over at Very.co.uk. Now just £109.99.

Sony A7 with 28-70mm lens cheapest ever - this award-winning Sony camera is now just £999.00

Canon EOS 100D DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm III Lens - Black (18MP, CMOS Sensor) 3 inch Touch Screen LCD - a great price on this DSLR with a further discount to £319.99 after cashback.

Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera - another sub-£350 DSLR over at Amazon for £329.99

Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Camera - available for just £260 after using the Canon cashback promotion.

Canon PowerShot SX510 HS Camera - 30x optical zoom, wifi and GPS tagging. Snap it up at a knock down price of £138.29

EXPIRED: Sony A5100 Compact System Camera - a whopping £200 off this Sony camera at John Lewis, now just£349.

EXPIRED: Canon PowerShot S200 Digital Camera - another John Lewis compact camera on offer for £149.



Black Friday headphones deals


Sennheiser CX 300 II: Excellent earphones! Save £23 by picking them up at Amazon for £21.99.

EXPIRED: Philips SHB6017: Bluetooth wireless sports earphones on Amazon for just £39.99.

Beats Solo 2: Get these Beats by Dre for just £135 at Tesco!

Sennheiser Over ear: Save £60.99 on the Sennheiser Momentum Closed headphones - now just £199 at Amazon

Sennheiser MM 30i: Ear-Canal Headset, now £29.95 on Amazon.

Sennheiser HD419: Sleek closed back headphones, save £15 - now £39.95 on Amazon.

Sennheiser HD201: Closed dynamic stereo headphones, now just £17.98 on Amazon.

AKG K550: High performance headphones, save £150.99 - now just £99 on Amazon

More headphones deals: Lots more black friday deals on headphones at John Lewis - check them out!



Black Friday Games Deals


Far Cry 4 for Xbox One: Just £37.99 at Zavvi just for today

The Evil Within for PS4: £23.99 just for today

PES 2015 for PS4: Pick it up for just £24.99 for a limited time

The Last of Us Remastered on PS4: Just £24.85 at Amazon UK

Metro: Redux on PS4: Just £18.85 for today only at Shopto

Call Of Duty Ghosts Hardened Edition (PS3/Xbox 360) for £9.99

The Last of Us Remastered (PS4) (hard copy not download) for £24.85

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4) for £24.99

PES 2015 (PS4) for £24.99

Lego Batman 3 (Xbox One) for £29.86

The Evil Within (Xbox One/PS4) for £23.98

Elgato Game Capture HD60 for £119.99

Assassin's Creed Rogue (X360 & PS3) for £24.99

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4/Xbox One) for £29.97

Lords Of The Fallen (PS4/Xbox One) for £24.95

Football Manager 2015 for £17



Black Friday Fitness Band Deals


Fitbit Flex: Wireless activity and sleep tracker, big saving on Tesco. Currently just £39!

Sony Smart Band: Save £40 on the Sony SWR10 Core Smart Band and get it at Very.co.uk for just £39.99.

Jawbone UP24: Wireless activity tracker just £49.99 at Amazon today!



Assorted Black Friday deals


HP Printer: Save £160 on the HP Envy 120 e-All-In-One printer. Was £249.99 now just £89.99 while stocks last!

5-port USB charger: Anker Astro 40W 5-Port USB wall charger. Normally £19.99, get it for £15.99 with our exclusive discount code which is BFDEALS1.

Portable USB charger: Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 16000mAh External Battery charger, normally £29.99, get it for £23.99 with our exclusive discount code which is BFDEALS1.

Black Friday landing pages:


Get Black Friday deals on games:

Black Friday PayPal deals


PayPal will be running some excellent deals on Friday, the most interesting ones being:

1. Steam, saving up to 75% off the latest games from 26th November to 2nd December

2. iTunes, 20% off £15, £25, £50 and £100 iTunes codes from 26th November to 1st December

3. Spotify, 3 months of Spotify Premium for the price of 1 month from 24th November to 31st December

All offers will be live on Friday at www.paypal.co.uk/BlackFriday

Get more Black Friday UK deals early!


Amazon will be adding new hot deals all week next week, but it's already gotten the ball rolling with some pretty enticing deals. They don't last long though so you need to be quick. You can keep track of what's going by going here: Amazon Black Friday deals




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