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Black Friday 2021: the date, deals and what to expect

Black Friday
(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 $4.9 billion 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 $9.0 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?

Black Friday began in the US but in recent years has very much become a worldwide 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 2020 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 Best Buy and Walmart will no doubt want to go big on PS5 and Xbox Series X console bundles ahead of the Holidays, 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 audio and home theater retailers will deliver some hi-fi and home theater bargains – last year's What Hi-Fi? Award-winners are a good place to start when it comes to finding a price reduction.

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, 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 wireless noise-cancelling headphones under $100, a discounted 55 inch 4K OLED TV or a portable, outdoor-friendly Bluetooth speaker – 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?

Big-selling products over Black Friday 2020 included the Apple AirPods, Sonos One, Sony WH-1000XM3, Amazon Echo and Fire products, Bose wireless earbuds and noise-cancelling headphones, UE Bluetooth 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 US deals below – you can even see how the prices compare a few months later...

Last year's best Black Friday deals

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Hisense 75-inch 4K HDR Android TV $1000 $600 at Best Buy
If you're looking for a genuine Black Friday TV deal, you just found one. This 75-inch H6510G pairs 4K resolution with support for premium Dolby Vision HDR. The Android TV operating system puts more than 5,000 apps at your fingertips, too, including Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu.

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AirPods Pro wireless earbuds $249 $190 at Woot (save $60)
Under review, we called the AirPods Pro "exceptionally comfortable" and praised their "strong noise-cancelling and balanced, easy-going sound". As well suited to a long-haul flight as they are to a run around the block, they could be the only pair of headphones you ever need.

Sony STR-DN1080

Sony STR-DN1080 AV receiver $598 $498 at Crutchfield
Sony's Dolby Atmos and DTS:X-supporting amp has six HDMI inputs that cater for a range of 4K HDR sources. It's also bursting with connectivity features, including Spotify Connect, AirPlay and Bluetooth. And the icing on this cake is the amazing sound quality.

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Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds $230 $168 at Crutchfield
Setting a new benchmark for true wireless earbuds, these 2020 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Sonys combine effective active noise-cancelling with great sound – and they're now down to their lowest ever price. Also at Amazon

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Sony WH-CH710N $199.99 $88 at Crutchfield
The 710N are wireless ANC over-ears that automatically adjust based on how noisy your surroundings are, so you can focus more on enjoying your tunes. Also impressive is the 35-hour battery life and one-hour replenishment with only a 10-minute charge.
See the deal at Best Buy ($88)
See the deal at Amazon ($88)

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Amazon Fire TV Stick (2020) $39 $27.99 at Amazon
The latest version of Amazon's streaming stick packs Dolby Atmos for more immersive sound with compatible content and speakers, and HDR, for much greater contrast ratios. It only launched a couple of months ago, and it's already discounted. Amazon doesn't play games. 

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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K $49 $29.99 at Amazon
If you want something a bit higher-specced, Amazon also makes a 4K version of the Fire TV Stick. And – you guessed it – it's also discounted. It's also Amazon's most powerful streaming stick, and an absolute steal with $20 off.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite $29 $17.99 at Amazon
This is the cheapest Fire TV Stick Amazon makes, and now it's even more affordable than usual. Despite its low price, it still has an Alexa remote, and HDR for stunning visuals. Essential.

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JBL Live 300TWS: $149.95 $74.95 at Amazon
JBL's wireless earbuds are half-price right now at Amazon. They come with a carry case that doubles as a charger and the deal applies to all four colour options: black, blue, purple and white.

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TCL 55S434 55-inch 4K TV: $399.99 $199.99 at Best Buy
If you're not familiar with TCL, they're a reputable budget TV brand. This nicely-priced 4K HDR screen boasts Android TV, voice control and access to a glut of apps including Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and HBO Max. Don't forget: you'll need to sign into 'My Best Buy' or sign up to reveal the discount.


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Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones: $350 $278 at Amazon
Sony’s premium wireless headphones deliver a sonic masterclass: they're richly detailed, enjoyably dynamic and have a natural knack for timing and rhythms. Nothing really lets them down either – battery life, build, comfort and usability are all great.

Amazon Echo Show 5

Amazon Echo Show 5: $90 $44.99 at Amazon
If you prefer your smart speakers with a touchscreen, the Echo Show range is for you. This 5.5in model lets you watch cooking videos or hold video calls, all of which are a doddle thanks to the built-in Alexa smart assistant.

B&W 606

B&W 606 speakers: $899 $629.99 at Crutchfield
The 606 are the perfect size for a pair of bookshelf speakers: not too small, not too big. They look the business, too. And with this discount, they just got a lot more affordable. Most importantly, they sound amazing – What Hi-Fi? Award-winningly amazing, in fact.

LG OLED65CX

Sony X750H 55-inch LED Android TV: $800 $518 at Amazon
This is decent-spec Sony 4K HDR TV with a high-contrast ratio, so it should be good for movies and gaming. It offers a premium design a great smart TV experience – two things often lacking in budget 4K TVs. Grab this bargain big screen while you can.

Vizio H1

Vizio 55-inch OLED H1 4K smart TV: $1299 $899 at Best Buy
OLED is the hottest TV tech and to see an OLED TV below $1000 is almost unheard of. This model will level up your home viewing with Dolby Vision HDR, Vizio's latest ProGaming Engine and more – and all for $899.

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Sony SRS-XB12: $58 $35 at Amazon
The colourful Sony SRS-XB12 is small but mighty. It boasts a water-, dust-, and mud-proof build, plus an Extra Bass feature for more low-end heft. You can even pair two speakers together for room-filling stereo sound. (Hey, at this price, you might as well buy more than one.)

Bose SoundLink On-ear headphones

Bose SoundLink II $229 $159 at Best Buy
These wireless Bluetooth over-ear headphones are discounted by 41% for Black Friday, which looks like a bit of a bargain – and then some. Enjoy 15 hours of wireless battery life from one charge and, thanks to a built-in mic, you can also use them for voice and video calls.

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Beats Powerbeats Pro: $250 $159.99 at Best Buy
We're fans of the Powerbeats Pros for a number of reasons. Build quality is excellent, as is their fit and list of useful features. These true wireless earbuds come into their own for exercise, so this new low price shouldn't be sniffed at – and you might want to put those fitness workouts to good use and move fast if you want a pair.

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Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen): $39.99 $18.99 at Amazon
This compact, fabric-wrapped speaker suits any decor and adds the Alexa voice assistant to any room in your house – simply and cheaply. The sound is very good for the size, too.

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Sony UBP-X700 4K Blu-ray player: $250 $149.99 at Best Buy
Any Sony product reduced by $100 makes us sit up and pay attention. But this is a stone cold, Award-winning five star product, with a 40% off saving.

What Hi-Fi?

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