With the holidays on the horizon already, many are beginning to wonder what Black Friday 2021 will look like. It’s the biggest deals event of the year, and one of the most popular times to buy Christmas gifts at bargain prices.
And if you’ve been perusing deals online (like we are all the time), you may have already seen retailers beginning to build the Black Friday buzz.
The pandemic meant Black Friday 2020 was a somewhat different affair, with many retailers choosing (or being forced to) close their doors and direct all customers online. In June 2021, Walmart announced that it would once again close all its US locations on Thanksgiving Day. The retailer usually kicks off Black Friday sales on the evening of Thanksgiving. It’s likely other US retailers will follow suit, given how prominent Black Friday is in the States.
Here we’re answering all your questions around Black Friday season and making major predictions on what to expect this year, so you’re fully prepared to snap up the best Black Friday deals on laptops, phones, Apple devices, and anything else you’ve been waiting to get your hands on.
When is Black Friday 2021?
This year Black Friday is on 26 November, one day after US Thanksgiving. The event will be followed by Cyber Monday.
How many days is Black Friday?
The boundaries of when Black Friday starts and ends is no longer as well-defined as it used to be. Traditionally, the event lasted one day, whereas now, Black Friday deals begin as early as October.
In the US, Best Buy has already started Black Friday pricing, while Target has started an early Black Friday ‘Holiday Best’ savings event which promises the best prices of the season. Walmart has also revealed its Black Friday prices across a variety of tech.
In the UK, retailers such as Amazon and Currys PC World often have early Black Friday deals with top discounts arriving a week or two before Black Friday. The BT Shop has also started inviting customers to sign up to its Black Friday deals mailing list.
Be sure to sign up to Tech Advisor’s deals newsletter so you can keep up with the best Black Friday deals all across the web!
Best early Black Friday deals right now
Below are the best tech deals we can see right now ahead of Black Friday 2021. We’re also including any early Black Friday offers as they’re announced.
1. Samsung Galaxy S21 range
Now: Free Harman Kardon speaker & SmartTag
Save a bundle on this Samsung bundle! You can also get £297 off the Galaxy Watch 4 (4G, 40mm) with this purchase.
2. Apple iPad Pro (M1, 2021, 2TB) – Cellular
Now: ££1,428.45 (£470.55 off)
This massive discount on the 11in M1 iPad Pro was previously as high as £639! It’s changing fast, so be quick if you want to make the most of the offer!
3. O2 100GB SIM
Was: £15 per month
Now: £6 per month (£108 off with cashback)
Fonehouse’s offer on this 100GB SIM from Three drops the price to just £6 per month when you claim cashback. See our full guide to cashback deals.
4. Oppo A54 5G with free Nintendo Switch OLED Model
Now: From £21 per month
This excellent offer from Virgin includes a free Nintendo Switch OLED Model at rates as low as £21 per month (2GB data, 36 months). See our full article on how to get a Switch/OLED Model with a new phone contract.
5. Apple Watch SE (GPS, 40mm) with Nike Sports Band
Now: £249 (£20 off with free Apple Music, Arcade & News+)
Currys is matching Apple’s new reduced price of £249 for this variant of the Watch SE 40mm, but you also get up to 5 months of Apple Music, Arcade and News+ bundled in for free.
6. Oppo Find X3 Pro (12GB RAM, 256GB)
Now: £774 (£325 off)
Oppo’s intriguing 2021 flagship – the Find X3 Pro – benefits from on of its biggest Amazon discounts yet, in this latest deal, which sees over £300 knocked off the original RRP.
7. Apple TV+ (3 months) with Currys Perks
Was: £4.99 per month
Now: Free with membership (Free to sign up to Perks)
Currys’ new membership loyalty program, Currys Perks, includes three months of Apple TV+ for free. Sign up to Perks for free.
8. Dell XPS 13 7390 (2019)
Now: £1399 (£245 off)
This may be an older model from 2019, but this Dell XPS 13 still packs a Core i7 processor, 15GB RAM, and 512GB storage with £245 off. See our hands-on review.
9. Samsung Galaxy A52 (SIM-free)
From: Carphone Warehouse
Now: £299 (£100 off)
The ever-popular budget Galaxy A52 is now even cheaper at £299 – save £100!
10. Microsoft Surface Go 3
The Surface Go 3 ultra-portable affordable 2-in-1 is now on sale in the UK and US. You can buy it directly from Microsoft or these retailers.
11. OnePlus Nord (12GB RAM, 256GB)
Now: £399 (£70 off)
OnePlus’ superb re-entry into the mid-range market in 2020 – the OnePlus Nord – is already a great example of value-for-money, but this discount on the higher RAM/storage SKU found on Amazon makes a good deal even better. (There’s also currently a discount on the 8GB RAM model and other colourways too.) See our full coverage.
12. Microsoft Surface Pro 8
Now: Where to buy in the UK & US
Microsoft’s latest premium 2-in-1, the Surface Pro 8, is now available to buy the US and pre-order in the UK – here’s where you can buy one.
13. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 with 12GB data
Now: £37.50 per month, £19.99 upfront (with free Galaxy Watch 4)
Get the Flip 3 on Tesco Mobile with 12GB data for £19 upfront, and claim a free Galaxy Watch 4 while you’re at it!
14. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (41mm, LTE)
Now: £309 (£130 off)
The 41mm casing size of LTE/Wi-Fi build of the Galaxy Watch 3 enjoys a rather significant price cut in this latest Amazon deal. Check out the full Samsung Week event for even more discounts.
15. Smarty 50GB (SIM Only)
Was: £15 per month
Now: £12 per month (20% off)
Smarty has slashed its rate on the 50GB data SIM to £12 per month. Contracts last 1 month at a time, and you can cancel at any time. 4G only.
16. Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm, GPS + Cellular) – Refurbished
Now: £399 (£110 off)
This refurbished Apple Watch 6 with cellular connectivity has over £110 off as a part of the BT Shop’s Big Tech Sale. BT has listed it as returned stock that’s still sealed in the box making it an even more appealing deal. See our full coverage.
17. Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro (6GB RAM, 128GB) + free Mi Band 5
Now: £199 (£30 off + free activity tracker)
Our favourite budget phone of the moment, Xiaomi’s Poco X3 Pro already represents phenomenal value and enjoys an extra discount, direct from Xiaomi. The company’s also throwing in its superb Mi Band 5 activity tracker on top for free too.
18. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
Now: £680.32 (£218.68 off)
The Surface Pro 7 might have launched in 2019, but it remains an excellent 2-in-1 PC. That’s especially true in this deal, which drops the i5 model with 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD to £699 thanks to the launch of the new Surface Pro 8.
19. Apple iPhone 13 with free AirPods
Now: From £34 per month
Grab the brand new iPhone 13 and bag a free pair of Apple AirPods while you’re at it! We’re separately looking at where to buy the iPhone 13 and the best pre-order offers.
20. Apple 10.2in iPad (9th gen, 2021) – 64GB
Now: £312.62 (£6.38 off)
It’s not a big discount, but considering the 9th gen iPad only released this month, it’s a welcome discount from KRCS.
Should you wait for Black Friday? Will deals really be better?
With deals already beginning to roll in, you don’t really need to wait until 26 November to get your hands on an excellent offer.
Keep an eye on Amazon. Given its prominence, you can pretty accurately glean when sales from other retailers will start by following Amazon’s sales schedule. While Amazon doesn’t often provide notice before a big sale, unless it’s Prime Day, you can be certain if Amazon has deals on a certain product so too will other retailers. Thankfully, for shoppers this means you should be able to get low prices everywhere!
It’s also worth noting that it’s unlikely prices will reduce further on 26 November if retailers begin Black Friday deals early. Past years have shown retailers generally spread out excellent deals in the week leading up to Black Friday – effectively turning the day into a week-long event.
In fact, if you wait too long, stock might even sell out by the 26th, or you may struggle with getting your goods delivered timely. This appears to be a risk this year especially, due to the delivery truck driver shortage in the UK and the ongoing supply chain crisis that’s leaving products stuck at ports.
Our advice is clear: if you see a drastic discount on that Apple Watch or Nintendo Switch console you’ve been eyeing, you should pick it up! And if prices do go lower on the day…
…Take advantage of price-matching
Remember to hold retailers accountable to their prices. Many retailers, such as Currys PC World offers price-matching against other retailers, whether online or in-store.
In past years, Currys has promised its early Black Friday deals won’t have lower prices on Black Friday itself. If you’ve bought an item from Currys and found a cheaper price elsewhere within 7 days, Currys will refund you the difference. Keep track of Black Friday deals at Currys here.
While Amazon doesn’t have a price-matching policy, it does have a strong returns policy. You can return most new and unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. You also have the statutory right to cancel and order within 14 days of delivery.
If you find your purchase has a lower price just days later, you can always cancel your first order and buy the same item at the lower price and send the original purchase back (if you’ve received it already). Again, be sure it’s unopened, unused and undamaged.
We’re certain retailers will continue spreading deals all through the month of November instead of concentrating all their best deals on Black Friday itself. The added benefit of distributing deals over the month is that it also prevents frenzied crowds from gathering in stores and shopping centres.
Will Black Friday happen this year? Will coronavirus cancel Black Friday?
Black Friday 2021 is certainly happening – whether or not another sudden lockdown strikes in November that forces stores to close. As 2020 taught us, limiting in-store shopping doesn’t necessarily cancel Black Friday sales, it just means that a lot of the shopping experience happens online instead.
Last year in the US, where Black Friday typically sees large crowds gather outside shops before doors open, Walmart decided it would close all its stores on Thanksgiving Day. Two other major US retailers, Target and Kohl’s, also followed suit. Walmart will be doing the same this year.
2020 is sure to have transformed Black Friday forever, with more of a focus on online shopping. However, this year is also different from last, as most people are also now double-vaccinated (or even triple in some cases). This means retailers hungry for foot-traffic will vie for customers to shop in-stores too.
If you want to stay prepared for Black Friday 2021, check out some of our top predictions below…
Top 5 predictions for Black Friday 2021
1. The return on in-store shopping
As we touched on above, it was a lonely time for physical retail through the lockdown. That’s sure to change this year due to the vaccine uptake. There’s no doubt retailers will want to make the most of their customers’ new found freedom with in-store discounts, live demonstrations of products, and other exclusive promotions.
2. Rise of click and collect
2020 also taught us of the convenience of click and collect, where you buy online and pick up in store, or even pay in store. The industry term for this is BOPIS (Buy Online Pay In Store) – something you can bore dinner guests with over Thanksgiving – and this payment method is only expected to grow.
Click and collect saves you on queuing to pay in-store, while also saving you on delivery costs in some cases. We expect more retailers to offer C&C as a payment method this year.
3. More ways to pay: Buy Now Pay Later
Another effect of the pandemic and online shopping has been a surge in Buy Now Pay Later services – and retailers want to cash in.
Services such as Klarna, ClearPay and PayPal Credit allow you to split payments into 3-4 chunks or delay payments without interest (or late fees in some cases). It has its risks if you’re unable to pay back, but it is a convenient way to afford the things you want if you don’t want to pay in one go.
4. Expect delivery bottlenecks
Let’s not forget the nightmare of limited delivery slots when lockdown began. It’s likely we might see similar bottlenecks this time round for a few reasons. First up, there’s a shortage of HGV drivers in Europe, one that’s only exacerbated in the UK due to Brexit.
Then there’s the global supply chain crisis in the aftermath of the pandemic, where ports and warehouses are finding it difficult to keep up with surging demands under reduced staff and other resource constraints.
So if you see a compelling deal now, you should probably just pick it up!
5. More QVC-style live shopping deals (keep an eye on social)
This year Currys PC World introduced live-shopping to its site, appropriately called LiveShop. To compete with Prime Day it launched exclusive discounts on Google Nest and Pixel devices which were available only to those who watched the stream.
Liveshopping e-commerce isn’t new. It’s a huge multi-billion dollar business in China, but it’s only just picking up in the global West. Over Prime Day, Amazon US had exclusive discounts through influencer-hosted live shopping events via Amazon Live.
Some brands have also started offering additional discounts through its Instagram and social feeds, so we’d recommend following all your favourite brands (if only temporarily) .
We’ll be keeping an eye on the best Black Friday 2021 tech deals and also offering detailed coverage of the best Black Friday offers.
And if you’re an Apple fan, see the best Black Friday Apple deals on our sister site Macworld UK