Tag: pricing

Why black friday is a fake

Since it was gleefully adopted by the UK seven years ago, the name Black Friday has been synonymous with amazing, money-saving deals.

It is the day when, for a glorious 24 hours of plummeting prices and discounts, the consumer appears to come out on top — and, this year, it’s at the end of this week.

Originally an American concept, Black Friday falls the day after their Thanksgiving holiday and marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The Samsung 55-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ¿Save £400, now £849¿ (was £1,249 from May 11, 2016 to June 22) but it was £50 cheaper at least 29 times in December, January and April, the same price at least seven times in April and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May +9
The Samsung 55-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ‘Save £400, now £849’ (was £1,249 from May 11, 2016 to June 22) but it was £50 cheaper at least 29 times in December, January and April, the same price at least seven times in April and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May

In Britain, it’s simply seen as a good excuse to go bargain hunting — and deals are starting earlier than ever this year.

With many shops already advertising their Black Friday offers, we’re expected to splash out £10 billion before this week is out.

But in this frenzy of spending are you really getting a good deal? In many cases, it would appear not.
The Nutri Ninja BL450 blender with pulse technology (silver) was advertised at £44.99 but was £5 cheaper at least 22 times in April and May.

The Fitbit Blaze was advertised as ¿Save £20, was £159.99, now £139.99¿ (£159.99 from March 1 to Nov 15). But it was £10 cheaper at least nine times in January, £7 cheaper for the rest of the Black Friday sale period (other than Black Friday itself), and the same price 124 times between October and May +9
The Fitbit Blaze was advertised as ‘Save £20, was £159.99, now £139.99’ (£159.99 from March 1 to Nov 15). But it was £10 cheaper at least nine times in January, £7 cheaper for the rest of the Black Friday sale period (other than Black Friday itself), and the same price 124 times between October and May

A year-long investigation by consumer experts Which? has found that an astonishing six out of ten of last year’s ‘deals’ were for products that were, in fact, cheaper or the same price at other times of the year.

The research tracked the prices of 35 of the most popular technology, home and personal care products on sale on Black Friday 2016, but the results throw the entire validity of the Black Friday ‘deal’ into question.

Richard Headland, editor-in-chief of Which? Magazine, says: ‘From a consumer point of view, it’s obviously very frustrating.

Beats Solo 2 wireless black headphones (also in yellow) were advertised at £169. But they were cheaper by £19 for at least two days in February and the same price for at least two days in December.

The one day on which you assume you’re getting the best deal ever is that last Friday in November.

‘We think it’s misleading on the part of the retailers, who are happy to hype up the size of Black Friday discounts.

‘Retailers disagree, though. They argue that just because a product is included in a Black Friday sale, it doesn’t stop them discounting it at other times of year, too. That’s true, but it’s also a tacit acceptance that there may be better times to shop for a bargain.’

Who are the culprits?

Some of the worst offenders were some of our top retailers and the deals make sorry reading.

There was the Neff Slide and Hide oven from Currys/PC World. It sounded like a good deal at £494.99, particularly as the retailer’s adverts claimed it had been priced at £599.99 throughout September and most of October.

But the oven was actually cheaper than the Black Friday price for at least 113 other days of the year. It cost £449.99 — £45 cheaper — just three weeks later.

The Neff Slide and Hide oven was cheaper than on Black Friday for at least 113 days of the year. It was advertised on Black Friday at ¿£494.99 ¿ 10 pc off the marked price of £549.99¿ (was £599.99 September 1 to October 18). The lowest price in the year was £419, at least 33 times in April and May. It was £449.99 at least 49 times from mid-Dec to February +9
The Neff Slide and Hide oven was cheaper than on Black Friday for at least 113 days of the year. It was advertised on Black Friday at ‘£494.99 — 10 pc off the marked price of £549.99’ (was £599.99 September 1 to October 18). The lowest price in the year was £419, at least 33 times in April and May. It was £449.99 at least 49 times from mid-Dec to February

A Samsung 55-inch Smart 4K Ultra HD curved TV was advertised in Currys/PC World as ‘Save £400, now £849’, but was £50 cheaper at least 29 times in December, January and April, the same price at least seven times in April, and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May.

There were similar anomalies with the Fitbit Blaze, a Samsung Ecobubble 8kg washing machine, and an HP Envy 4524 all-in-one wireless inkjet printer.

The DeLonghi bean-to-cup coffee machine looked like a bargain last Black Friday at £349 in Currys/PC World — a huge saving on the £729.99 that the retailer’s advertising stated it had been for most of September and October.
The Samsung 49-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ‘Save £250, now £699’ (it was £949 from May 11 to June 22). But it was also £699 at least 18 times before Black Friday in August and September. It was also £50 cheaper at least 29 times afterwards in December, January and April.
However, Which? data showed that it was priced at £579.99 for nearly three weeks when the ad claimed it was selling at £729.99. Plus, it remained at the Black Friday price for almost all of December.

They also slipped up with a Braun 3040s Series 3 electric shaver and Sony MDR-ZX770AP on-ear headphones, among other items. An Oral B electric toothbrush from Amazon was advertised as ‘save 26 per cent — was £40.49, now £29.99’.

It sounded like a good offer, until you realise it was £5 cheaper on at least two days in July.

You may feel that this casts a bit of a cloud over the whole Black Friday experience. The build-up has already been diluted by the fact that so many shops have been discounting goods all month.

The Braun 3040s Series 3 electric shaver was advertised at £39.99 but was the same price at least nine times in June and July, and between £4 and £5 cheaper at least five times in December +9
The Braun 3040s Series 3 electric shaver was advertised at £39.99 but was the same price at least nine times in June and July, and between £4 and £5 cheaper at least five times in December

There are also suggestions that UK discounts aren’t as high as those in other countries.

While online prices here were cut by an average of 12 per cent last year, according to UK retail strategy expert Jamie Merrick, of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, they were down a whopping 29 per cent in the U.S., and 20 and 23 per cent in Germany and France respectively.

However, it seems that 31 per cent of households are planning on getting involved, and there are predictions that £1.74 million will be spent online every minute of the day itself, £3 billion will be spent over the four days from Friday to Monday and more than £10 billion during the week.

Commerce consultancy Salmon expects there will be £20 billion-worth of online sales in November, overtaking December sales — which, for retailers at least, is good news.

Currys/PC World — Eight deals were cheaper or the same price after Black Friday:

The Samsung 55-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ‘Save £400’ now £849 (was £1,249 from May 11, 2016 to June 22) but was £50 cheaper at least 29 times in December, January and April, the same price at least seven times in April and £79 cheaper at least 18 times in May.
The DeLonghi Magnifica bean-to-cup coffee machine was advertised at £349, ‘Save £380’ (was £729.99 from Sept 6 to Oct 10, 2016) but was the same price at least 28 times in December. Indeed, Which? price research shows it was actually £579.99 from Sept 6 to Sept 24.
The Samsung wireless soundbar and subwoofer HW-K430 was advertised as ‘Save £150, now £129.99’ (was £279.99 from Sept 28-Oct 31). It was then the same price at least 18 times in Dec and Jan.
The Fitbit Flex activity and sleep wristband (in black, slate or pink) was advertised at £39.99 ‘Save £40’ (was £79.99 from Oct 20 to Nov 12). But it was £2 cheaper at least six times at the beginning of Dec.
Beats Solo 2 wireless black headphones (also in yellow) were advertised at £169. But they were cheaper by £19 for at least two days in Feb and the same price for at least two days at the beginning of Dec.
The HP Envy 4524 all-in-one wireless inkjet printer was advertised at £35. But it was the same price at least three times after Black Friday in late December 2016 and early January 2017.
The Samsung Ecobubble 8kg washing machine WF80F5E2W4X was advertised at £349 but was the same price at least twice at the end of December.
Three deals were cheaper or the same price before and after Black Friday:

The Neff Slide and Hide oven was cheaper than the Black Friday price for at least 113 days of the year. It was advertised on Black Friday at £494.99 — 10 pc off the marked price of £549.99 (was £599.99 from Sep 1 to Oct 18. The lowest price over the year was £419, which it was at least 33 times in April and May. It was £449.99 at least 49 times from mid-Dec to Feb.
The Samsung 49-inch Smart 4k Ultra HD HDR curved TV KU6670 was advertised as ‘Save £250’ now £699 (it was £949 from May 11 to June 22). But it was also £699 at least 18 times before Black Friday in August and September. It was also £50 cheaper at least 29 times afterwards in December, January and April.
The Fitbit Blaze was advertised as ‘Save £20’ was £159.99, now £139.99 (it was £159.99 from March 1 to Nov 15). But it was £10 cheaper at least nine times in January, £7 cheaper for the rest of the Black Friday sale period (other than Black Friday itself), and the same price 124 times between October and May.
Argos — these deals were cheaper or the same price after Black Friday:

Beats by Dre PowerBeats2 wireless sports headphones (black) were advertised at £99.99 with the line ‘Save £30 — our lowest price ever’. But if you waited just three weeks, until Dec 17, they were £10 cheaper, as well as on at least 13 other days at the end of December.
The Dyson V6 Fluffy cordless vacuum cleaner was advertised at £229.99 but was the same price at least four days at the end of December.
The Philips Viva Air Fryer with rapid air technology was advertised at £69.99 but was the same price at least 20 times afterwards in December and January.
The Gtech AR02 AirRam filter bagless upright vacuum cleaner was advertised at £149.99 but was the same price on at least one occasion in early January.
The Nutri Ninja BL450 blender with pulse technology (silver) was advertised at £44.99 but was £5 cheaper at least 22 times in April and May.

Three deals were cheaper or the same price before and after Black Friday:

The LG UHD TV 4k LG49UH650V 49-inch UHD4k Web OS Smart LED TV was advertised as ‘£499 — Our lowest price’ but it was £20 cheaper at least seven times at the end of Dec, £4 cheaper at least 11 times in early Dec, and the same price at least 17 times between Nov and Jan.
The Braun 3040s Series 3 electric shaver was advertised at £39.99 but was the same price at least nine times in June and July, and between £4 and £5 cheaper at least five times in December.
Sony MDR-ZX770AP on-ear headphones (black) were advertised as £34.99 but were the same price for at least six days in early November 2016 and at least 16 times in December.
How to spot a true bargain

How do you avoid getting it wrong? Richard Headland, editor-in-chief of Which? Magazine, has some tips:

Do your research

Be focused. Identify which products you want to look for and get a feel for prices. You can use Which? to look up product reviews and find out current and historical prices at a range of popular retailers, or websites such as CamelCamelCamel for Amazon price history. Compare what looks like a good Black Friday deal with other retailers. Don’t be swayed by a claimed ‘saving’.

Watch the hype

We’re easily taken in by bright signs proclaiming ‘Was £100, now £50’, but these may not be true. By law, a product has to have been on offer at the higher price for 28 days before a discount is offered, but this isn’t always the case. As long as there is a note explaining the offer, shops get away with it.

Keep your cool

You are the target of aggressive marketing — so stay cool and calm. More than ever, it’s clear that it’s not just a day of discounts, so if you’re not convinced, then hold back.

Beware the RRP

Be suspicious of RRP prices (recommended retail price). Officially, the manufacturer isn’t allowed to set the price of a product. In reality, there is collaboration, so that a manufacturer will sell at a discount at the same time as an independent retailer. Apple is a good example of this. Having said that, you can still have a look at the RRP on the manufacturer’s website, to see whether a retailer is being honest.

Price promises

Try to buy from retailers with a price promise — those who’ll refund the difference if you find a better deal on the same product elsewhere, or if the price drops later.

Count in delivery

Look at delivery costs in advance. In a Which? survey, four in ten people said paying for postage and packing was an irritating part of online shopping. Some retailers offer a buy online and pick up later service, which means you don’t have to go near the shops on the day itself.

Product reviews

Check out reviews. In some cases, a discount on a product will be there for a good reason and shops might struggle to give them away.

By Alice Smellie for The Daily Mail

Vodacom bows to pressure to reduce prices

Vodacom will actively participate in the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (Icasa) consultation process on the draft regulations regarding data expiry periods and out-of-bundle billing.

Vodacom told Fin24 that it was committed to the process of drafting new regulations, after the communications regulator stepped into the going feud between consumers and networks over the high cost of data.

“Vodacom is aware of the draft regulation gazetted by Icasa regarding data expiry periods and out-of-bundle billing,” a company spokesperson told Fin24 this week.

“Vodacom is committed to bringing down data prices and has brought down effective data pricing by 44% over the last three years.

“Through the likes of Just4You, which offers customers hourly, daily, weekly and monthly bundles, Vodacom has made significant inroads in recent years in its pricing transformation journey,” the spokesperson said.

The latest step by Icasa to join the #DataMustFall campaign was aimed at regulating data expiry dates, according to a notice published in the Government Gazette on Monday.

Icasa intends to encourage networks to extend the validity of data bundles.

“With regard to out-of-bundle billing, Vodacom reiterates its position on this matter in that it remains fully committed to addressing these and has already started to implement its plans,” Vodacom told Fin24.

“We remain committed to consulting with the regulator in our shared quest to continuously address customer needs and improve the customer experience,” the company added.

The public has until September 19 to submit comment.

Prior to the recommendation, the regulator announced it would hold an inquiry to try reduce high data costs. This inquiry will be conducted over four phases and completed in March 2018.

These phases include a market study, discussion document, public hearings, and findings document. Members of the public would have 45 days to submit comments following each phase, News24 reported.

By Kyle Venktess for Fin24

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