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Black Friday 2021 UK: the date, deals and what to expect from this year's sales

Black Friday 2021 deals sales
(Image credit: Future)

The Black Friday date follows a predictable pattern, falling on the Friday before Thanksgiving, but the nature of the Black Friday sales aren't quite so set in stone, and 2021 may not deliver quite what we've come to expect.  

The last 12 months have seen unprecedented growth in people shopping online, with worldwide e-commerce sales tipped to hit almost £3.6m in 2021, up 46% since 2019. Will this mean an even bigger jackpot for online retailers this Black Friday? It's not so simple.

Firstly, with more people shopping online throughout the year there's no longer the same desire, from consumers or retailers, to focus all the shopping in a short period of trading around Thanksgiving and in the run-up to Christmas. Instead we've seen more sales throughout the year, from Amazon Prime Day to more traditional retailer sales and discounts targeting new online shoppers stuck at home and, in some cases, with money to spend that hasn't this year been spent on holidays or entertainment.

There's also the matter of supply chain issues and the global chip shortage, where a combination of COVID-19, trade wars and natural disasters have taken their toll on availability. This has meant fewer existing products in shops and, as confirmed by industry sources, fewer new products launched. Neither of which bodes well for Black Friday deals. 

Nevertheless, if Prime Day is anything to go by, we'd expect big-name retailers such as Amazon to do their level best to ensure Black Friday 2021 lives up to expectation. After all, according to Adobe Analytics data, Black Friday last year saw consumers spending £6.5 billion, an increase of 21.6% over the previous year, so there's plenty to play for.

When is Black Friday 2021?

The Black Friday 2021 date is Friday 26th November.
Cyber Monday 2021 will be Monday 29th November.

Black Friday always takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, which means this year it will fall on Friday 26th November. Most retailers will want to make the most of what will typically be the busiest 24 hours of the event, meaning we can expect deals going live at midnight and running until the end of the day. 

Of course, you can rest assured that Black Friday won't be simply one day of deals – those days are long gone. Instead, expect at least a week of build-up, maybe longer, from many retailers. And of course, the Black Friday sales continue through to Cyber Monday, which is always the Monday after Black Friday.

What is Black Friday?

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday began on the other side of the Atlantic but in recent years has very much become a worldwide and UK shopping phenomena. It's regarded (and backed up by stats) as the busiest shopping day of the year – both online and in-store – and officially kicks off the holiday season.

Why is it called Black Friday? The date was traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping season, when retailers hoped to move out of the "red" (loss) and in to the "black" (profit), hence Black Friday. 

What about Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday 2021 will be Monday 29th November.

The term 'Cyber Monday', meanwhile, was coined by Scott Silverman and the National Retail Federation's Ellen Davis in a bid to encourage people to take their shopping online during the Black Friday event. That was back in 2005, when people needed such encouragement! It's always the Monday after Black Friday.

Where to get the best Black Friday deals?

The dominant names on the high street, such as Argos, Currys and John Lewis, will no doubt want to go big on PS5 and Xbox Series X console bundles ahead of Christmas, while the Sony WF-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM4 (and XM3) are likely to be some of the biggest headphone sellers.

We won't forget the hi-fi and home cinema kit, so will be on the look out for deals on B&W and KEF speakers, not to mention 4K and portable projectors, AVRs, turntables and more. 

We're confident the specialist AV retailers such as Richer Sounds and Sevenoaks will deliver some hi-fi and home cinema bargains – last year's What Hi-Fi? Award-winners are a good place to start when it comes to finding a price reduction.

The likes of Amazon, Argos, eBay, Currys and AO.com will be competing in the bun fight to offer the lowest prices on audio and video too – which is only good news for the consumer.

How long will Black Friday last?

Well, Black Friday is 24 hours. And Cyber Monday is 24 hours. But like Amazon Prime Day and the January sales, these events always have preliminary and aftermath offers. 

For one, deals will run during the weekend sandwiched in the middle of the two days. And in the days and weeks building up to them, there will be plenty of 'pre-Black Friday' savings serenading the sites. 

Are the Black Friday deals any good?

After the initial few years of excitement around Black Friday in the UK, we naturally moved to the apathy stage, as people began to question whether the offers were genuinely good deals. And it remains up for debate.

For example, it's not unusual to see discounted products rise in price in the summer months ahead of a "price cut" come Black Friday; naturally this means you're essentially just getting the original discounted price from earlier in the year. That said, there are always genuine deals to be had – it's just finding them amongst the onslaught of offers. 

Luckily that's where our service will come in; we'll handpick the best TV, audio and AV deals across retailers to find the ones that are really worth your hard-earned cash.

We'd suggest having a rough idea of what you want in mind – whether that be noise-cancelling wireless headphones under £200, a discounted 55-inch 4K OLED TV or a bargain record player – but restricting yourself only to specific models will reduce your chance of being lucky in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Pick the features you fancy, then see what ticks your boxes and has the best Black Friday discount. 

What Black Friday deals can you expect?

LG OLED TVs, JBL Bluetooth speakers, Sony wireless earbuds and Bose headphones, Alexa and Echo devices, Apple AirPods... You get the drill. Some of the most popular products of the year are almost guaranteed be on offer at pretty much every electronics retailer during the Black Friday sales.

Previous big-sellers over Black Friday also include the Sonos One and Beam, Sony WH-1000XM3, Amazon Echo and Fire products, Bose wireless earbuds and noise-cancelling headphones, UE speakers, Naim Mu-so products, Denon AV receivers, OLED TVs and plenty more. And if you're a vinyl lover, you can choose from some special edition releases as part of the Record Store Day Black Friday sale.

Take a look at last year's best Black Friday UK deals below – you can even see how the prices compare a few months later...

Last year's best Black Friday deals

Last year's best Black Friday deals

Sony Walkman NW-A55L

Sony Walkman NW-A55L £180 £129.99 at Amazon (save £50)
Save on this class-leading hi-res music player from Sony, part of an Award-winning stable in portable audio electronics.

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Sonos Beam £399 £299 at Sonos (save £100)
This discount applies to both black and white finishes of the Beam, so you can match it to your decor. 

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Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 £100 £79.95
Detailed and insightful sound, reliable Bluetooth, long battery life, two What Hi-Fi? Awards and now, an extra £20 off. These are great wireless earbuds now available at an even greater price for Black Friday.

Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony WF-1000XM3 £230 £149 at Amazon (save £71)
A new benchmark for true wireless earbuds, the Sony WF-1000XM3 combine effective active noise-cancelling with great sound and they're now down to their lowest ever price thanks to this Black Friday deal.

Apple iPad Pro

Apple iPad Pro 2020 11-inch from £769 £707 at Amazon
The 2020 iPad Pro boasts Apple's fast A12Z Bionic processor, so it's ideal for creative types, gaming and video streaming. You can save over £60 on 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB wifi models at Amazon – they all come with a year's free Apple TV+, too! A fantastic Black Friday deal.

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Tidal music streaming 4 months from £0.99
We love Tidal so much, we gave the streaming subscription our 2020 What Hi-Fi? Product of the Year Award – and that was at its original monthly price. Now just £0.99 for four months thanks to this Black Friday offer.

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Bose Soundsport Free £180 £129 at John Lewis (save £51)
Essentially a true wireless version of Bose's superlative SoundSport in-ears, these buds are sweat- and water-proof, have a 15-hour battery life, and a sound that is nothing short of marvellous for a pair of sports earbuds at this price.  

Samsung QE55Q80T

Samsung QE55Q80T QLED TV £1599 £899 at Hughes
This brand new model for 2020 has already dropped in price by £700 with the help of Black Friday! It's one step down from Samsung's flagship 4K TV and represented an excellent mid-range choice at launch. It's great value and arguably the best TV you can buy for under £1000, particularly if you're a gamer.

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Sonos Move £399 £299 at Sonos (save £100)
Sonos' Bluetooth speaker is also discounted by £100. It's the most versatile speaker Sonos has ever made, and offers an open, large-scale sound. The obligatory multi-room capabilities come as standard, and the charging base is very swish indeed. A great buy, especially with this discount. 

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Sonos One smart speaker £199 £159 at Sevenoaks (save £40)
A typically excellent Sonos speaker with voice control, the Sonos One is a stone cold five-star wireless speaker – and now it's even better value, thanks to the Sonos sale. Hurry though, today is your last chance to get one. Sold out at Sonos it's still on sale at Sevenoaks.

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Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) £49.99 £18.99 (save £21)
It's small enough to easily move between rooms, and the unobtrusive design will suit any decor. The sound isn't half bad for the size, either. No wonder Amazon's little hockey puck-shaped smart speaker is its best-selling Echo device. A Black Friday bargain!

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Roku Streambar streaming soundbar £130 £98
Staying true to its streaming heritage, Roku's soundbar is a one-box solution that's designed to be plugged into your TV's HDMI port with minimal fuss – only this one has sound at its core with its soundbar form.

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Apple AirPods Pro £249 £195 at Laptops Direct (save £54)
Knock a big chunk – almost £60 – off the cost of Apple's noise-cancelling wireless buds with this deal. The AirPods Pro are a joy to use (especially with iOS devices) and sound great to boot.

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New Echo Dot + 6 months Amazon Music Unlimited £109.93 £28.99 at Amazon
The new spherical Echo Dot (4th-gen) is a great way to affordably start or expand your voice-controlled home. Not only is it 42% off, you also get six months free of Amazon's streaming service (normally £10 per month).

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AKG Y500 Wireless headphones £129 £89 at Selfridges
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Juggling good sound quality, clever features, durable build quality and attractive design in equal measure is no mean feat, but AKG pulls it off while making it look easy". A great Black Friday deal on a five-star set of wireless AKG on-ears. 

Samsung UE43TU7100

Samsung UE43TU7100 43-inch 4K TV £479 £299 at John Lewis
This is more or less Samsung's cheapest 4K model for 2020, and it's a great TV for the money, too. it does a remarkably good job in terms of picture and sound, and boasts the best, most-app packed operating system in the business. As long as you can live with only two HDMIs, there’s little reason not to buy at this cheap price.

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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds £250 £239 at Sonic Direct (save £11)
The fantastic, five-star true wireless earbuds combine brilliant noise-cancelling tech with natural, dynamic sound. They're worthy challengers to the AirPods Pro and even a discount as modest as £11 is welcome.

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Sky: 50% off Sky TV packages and Sky Mobile plans
Sky has kicked off its Black Friday deals early with half-price Sky TV and Sky Mobile packages. Log into your account to see the best deals available to you.

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Q Acoustics 3010i standmounts: £199 £179 at Amazon
"Exemplary budget bookshelf speakers for smaller living spaces", as we concluded in our five-star review. The 3010i are among the most engaging of their kind at this level. So even a discount as modest as £20 is most welcome.

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Bowers & Wilkins PI4 noise-cancelling wireless in-ears £270 £100 (save £170)
A wireless neckband design boasting noise-cancelling, app support, Bluetooth 5.0 aptX, 12 hours on a single charge and USB-C quick charge for 3 hours of juice from a swift 15 minute charge. And look at the price! Quick! 

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Philips PH805 wireless ANC headphones £160 £99 at Currys
The Philips PH805s do a sterling job of bringing the looks, build and specs of a premium pair of noise-cancellers down to a lower price, and while their relative lack of dynamism and slightly sub-par noise-cancellation make them less than perfect, they are a bargain at this price!

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Technics EAH-AZ70WE-K £240 £149.99 at Amazon (save £90)
Technics' first pair of wireless earbuds has a serious price cut for Black Friday. They produce a solid, punchy sound, are comfy to wear and the noise-cancelling does a solid job too. Be quick and you can save £90 off the Silver finish.

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