The Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales are almost upon us once again, providing another opportunity for us to spend our hard-earned money on the latest gadgets, gizmos, and household wares.
According to Internet Retail, analysis by Clearbanc showed that small online businesses saw a 150% surge in business on Black Friday 2020.
Additionally, the Home and Garden sector saw a 52% uplift in sales on the same day, with many consumers continuing to concentrate on improvements to their homes during the pandemic.
Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2021
This year, Black Friday falls on 26 November. In less than two weeks, Black Friday will be back for another year, as retailers seek to slash their prices across technology, home appliances, TVs, laptops, fashion, and beauty products.
In the lead up to Cyber Monday last year, Scottish consumers saw warnings about potential issues with the sale of counterfeit electronics and price-hiking on games consoles.
It is important that consumers take care to ensure the proper manufacturing standards have been met and that electronic goods have passed the rigorous safety checks required to ensure that they are safe enough to bring into our homes.
With fewer Brits making the most of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this year, spending across the UK is expected to drop by an estimated £1.2 billion.
What’s the difference?
Much of the difference between the two sales events comes down to branding, as both will have plenty of fantastic tech deals, whether you’re looking for a new laptop or a pair of swish noise-cancelling headphones.
The difference is that some tech may sell so well during Black Friday that it could sell out before Cyber Monday, leaving you out of luck; or alternatively, some tech may sell at a decent discount during Black Friday only for retailers to slash the price down even further for Cyber Monday, hoping to clear out the rest of their stock.
Cyber Monday also typically sees discounts on smaller items that might get ignored during Black Friday. For example, if you’re more interested in fashion than tech, some online retailers are expected to offer site-wide discounts on Cyber Monday, meaning it’s worth waiting for that bargain.
Cyber Monday is also typically a good time to find deals on small appliances and white goods, so if you’re looking for a new microwave, check when your favourite household store begins its Cyber Monday sale.
Generational Differences – Impacts of the Pandemic
It’s the younger demographic that are traditionally known for doing most of their shopping online during these sales.
Interestingly, in 2021, the ‘silent generation’ (67%) and ‘baby boomers’ (66%) are expected to be more likely to shop only online, possibly as a result of a sustained apprehension over the transmission of COVID-19.
‘Gen Z’ (40%) and ‘millennials’ (37%) are the least likely to shop solely online, with these generations choosing the “online and in-store” option at (43%) and (48%) respectively.
With the expectation of the broadening age groups shopping online, comes the associated risks of potentially purchasing substandard products either in error, or as a way of saving money.
Counterfeit electronics can pose risks to health and safety, including increased chances of them catching fire. Lower prices on these cheap, copycat, counterfeit electronic goods can come at a cost, with the components used to produce them being of a sub-standard quality to the real thing.
In addition to the production methods, many counterfeit electronics are not subjected to the rigour of safety testing. This not only poses safety risks, but often means that the items do not have the same life span of genuine products. Buying cheap, knock-off products can mean buying twice.
Electrical Safety First highlight the process that is used by manufacturers to bring products to market in the EU. They outline that manufacturers are required to meet several basic requirements to ensure that products they sell meet EU standards and are safe for consumers to use.
They highlight that key components of this safety regime are the Low Voltage Directive (LVD) and the CE mark, both of which legitimate manufacturers must abide by in order to sell products in the UK and the EU.
Black Friday is the perfect time for shoppers to grab a bargain, but the dangers of falling victim to a purchase scam are growing year-on-year, according to HSBC. Black Friday draws millions of holiday shoppers seeking to score deals, compete for hot products, and cross names off their shopping lists.
This mega sale event also allows scammers to demonstrate the increasingly creative lengths they will go to. As for new scams in 2021, ongoing supply-chain issues could put some popular items in short supply. It’s smart to be cautious towards online ads showing low-price deals on those hard-to-find items. Expect some 2021 holiday scams to prey on your desire to snag a coveted gift, without making sure the “seller” is legitimate.
Purchase scams occur when fraudsters trick shoppers into paying in advance for goods or services that are never received and are the most common form of Authorised Push Payment (APP) scam affecting HSBC customers, with 6,218 cases reported so far this year
David Callington, Head of Fraud at HSBC UK, said:
“Fraudsters can put consumers under their spell and make them think they are giving out personal or financial information for a legitimate reason. If a deal looks too good to be true – it probably is. Use secure payment methods and only buy from sites you trust.
“At HSBC UK, we’re working hard to protect customers against fraud, but there are lots of ways you can help to protect yourself too. By being aware of the tricks fraudsters use you can help keep your money safe.”
So how can we spot the scammers? What do scams look like?
- Someone contacts you out of the blue, by call, text, or email
- They claim to be from a trusted organisation, like your bank, utility provider or police
- They can sound genuine, as they may already have gathered information about you online
- They often put you under pressure to do something without you having time to think it through properly
- Calls, texts, and emails may appear genuine, but their actions and requests are not
Golden Rule – If it’s too good to be true, think twice before buying.
Don’t let yourself get carried away with unnecessary purchases – unless, of course, you’ve got the cash to burn!
James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, says:
“The key thing to do is to make sure you’re actually getting a bargain – not just a hyped-up price cut.
“If you are going to bag a bargain on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, don’t go in blind. Start by making a wish list and noting what the current price is for the items on it.”
Counterfeit electronics and games consoles are of key concern heading towards Black Friday and Cyber Monday. By following simple guidance, we can ensure that we reduce our chances of being caught out.
Avoid the counterfeits – they can pose health and safety issues and have a shorter lifespan than genuine goods from trusted retailers. Buying cheap can mean buying twice!
Check the packaging / manufacturer information – counterfeit goods will often come in different packaging to the genuine article. This may include spelling mistakes, a lack of safety marks and missing or vague manufacturer address information (postal and web addresses).
Consult with the manufacturer – When something is sold out online, there may be second releases. Check with manufacturers – this could save you time and allow proper recourse if things do go wrong.
Avoid purchasing if at all unsure! – Do not be rushed into a sale by the offer of lower prices and limited stock. Weigh up your options.