Analysis Finds That Black Friday Discounts Are Just An Illusion
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Analysis Finds That Black Friday Discounts Are Just An Illusion

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Year-on-year, pre-holiday shopping madness is becoming more and more common, and advertising campaigns encourage consumers to take advantage of unique promotions. ITMAGINATION’s data analysis experts have examined 6 popular product categories and prove that big discounts during Black Week are mostly advertising slogans. Once again, the high discounts turned out to be illusory rather than concrete.

Key findings: Only a third of the products were priced at their lowest level compared to the last 3 months for Black Friday in November. On the other hand, the average prices of the most popular electronics and household appliances on Black Friday were higher by over 8 percent versus their lowest levels in the preceding 90 days. Let’s cover these in detail below.

Discounts are overrated

According to data science experts from ITMAGINATION, during Black Friday 2020, prices of select household appliances and electronics were on average over 3% higher compared to their minimum price in the preceding month. The discrepancy between prices grows when we consider the preceding 90-day period, where prices were higher by an average of over 8% during Black Friday 2020 than the minimum price in the preceding 90 days. Interestingly, the average discount advertised on products was less than 5%, with only 32% of all products reaching their lowest price point compared to the previous 30 days.

We also noticed a similar trend of price movements throughout Black Week. Our analysis shows that the average prices during Black Week were higher by 1.8 percent versus the lowest price from last month and higher by more than 7 percent when compared to the lowest price points observed in the 3 months leading up to Black Week. Taking into account the minimum values ​​from the weeks leading up to mass sales, contrary to popular theory, there are no significant discounts during Black Week.

An example that really stands out from this year’s lineup is the price of printers, which during Black Week were on average 11%. more expensive compared to the lowest price they’d reached in the preceding last 90 days, says Marcin Dąbrowski, Chief Innovation Officer at ITMAGINATION.

To really benefit from advertised deals, be vigilant

In this year’s study, ITMAGINATION’s specialists took into account 6 types of products (washing machines, refrigerators, laptops, printers, TV sets, telephones) that consumers bought during Black Friday and Black Week. Industry experts unanimously agree that finding favorable offers requires in-depth market research using price history comparison websites as well as portals and discussion forums, where users who are focused on specific product groups inform each other about shopping opportunities, and our analysis added to the consensus.

It turns out that the significant discounts during Black Friday and Black Week are mainly advertising gimmicks, with the main goal of attracting customers or to sell off stale inventory. To find good offers, prices should be tracked throughout Black Week and not only on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, as half of the products tested were manipulated prior to this period – where the price of many products increased before any discounts were applied, effectively nullifying any discounts offered. According to the analysis, the greatest price fluctuations concerned printers and laptops, while the smallest fluctuations were on  TV sets and phones.

Thanks to advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence, today we can effectively study many market trends quickly and effectively. In the case of Black Week, prices gradually rose during November, then fell again on the days of shopping fever. Technology helps show consumers the way the commercial market functions, thanks to which we build social financial awareness – adds Marcin Dąbrowski from ITMAGINATION.

Research methodology

In each of the 6 categories, there were products from many manufacturers and in different price ranges, but all of them were selected as “popular”. Prices on Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday and Black Week were checked against a historical chart that covers a period of up to half a year leading up to those days. Analysts focused on comparing the current price level with the minimum price available in the aggregator in the above period.

We’ve seen the same strategies from retailers in 2019

ITMAGINATION’s data analysts conducted a similar study last year. It found that online store prices were rising in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. The real average fall in prices during Black Friday (compared to the previous month) was 5.5%. Following Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday and Black Week rolled out, our analysis showed that prices for most electronics products across all categories had risen again.

The article was also published in Polish on Rzeczpospolita.

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