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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

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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