DusseldorfJust a few years ago, many Germans thought of a stock market crash when they heard of "Black Friday." That this day is traditionally the largest US retail turnover and promises a rampant search for bargains, was unknown to most in this country.
That has changed: according to surveys, more than 80% of Germans associate the term "Black Friday" with attractive "bargaining days." And many also use it: by 2017, Black Friday's number of sales in the week was three times greater than in a reference week in October, according to a study of the online advertising platform Criteo.
But who really wants to find good deals, should follow some rules.
Where does Black Friday come from?
The phenomenon comes from the USA. There are many people on bridge day after Thanksgiving and immerse themselves in the pleasure of shopping. Many retailers have tried to stockpile this with special discounts since the 1960s.
The name is due to the fact that, after this day, the dealers have written black numbers for the year. As Black Friday in the US is more likely to be in store business, online trading introduced Cyber Monday a few years ago.
In Germany, Black Friday is largely an e-commerce phenomenon – the stationary trade is just beginning to attend the shopping event. The American online platforms Amazon and Ebay advertise very strongly with a large number of discounted articles.
Where can I find the biggest discounts?
From the displayed amount of discounts, customers should not be blind. "The rebate always refers to the manufacturer's non-binding price recommendation and not to the current market situation," warns Oliver Buttler of the consumer center in Baden-Württemberg. Especially when the products have been in the market for some time, the average price is now well below the original price.
This is especially true for electronics. Even fashion retailers are trying, after the heat of summer and fall, for weeks to reduce their total stock at a discount. To clarify if an offer is really cheap, help web site price comparison sites such as idealo.de or guenstiger.de. Buyers should consult two of these search engines in parallel to ensure they have found the best price.
What can I save?
A recent analysis of idealo.de shows that last year 381 of the 500 products tested on Black Friday were cheaper than the previous month. But big price jumps were rare – on average, no category was more than 20% cheaper. The biggest savings can be made on Black Friday in consumer electronics.
Idealo.de determined that customers received about on television in 2017, on average, 129 € off. With LG's OLED65C7D top unit, buyers could save up to over 1000 euros. Very high discounts were also available for speakers and game consoles.
Significantly less bargains are usually found on smartphones. Here, the economy in the 20 most popular models of the previous year was two measly two percent. Christmas items, which were very popular in the category of toys – Lego, for example – were barely discounted in 2017.
Do I have to attack immediately?
Often traders give the impression that the best deals are available only very briefly. But this is rarely the case. Many providers have already extended the event to a bargaining week anyway. At best, potential buyers know in advance what they want to buy. With a detailed price survey in advance, they can immediately judge whether an alleged bargain is really cheap.
Plus: Black Friday is just the prelude to the Christmas business. Even so, the competition is now so tough that it overcomes discount stores. The comparison site guenstiger.de determined that last year 23% of Black Friday's offers were offered until December 24 again for the same price, or even cheaper.
Where are the hidden costs lurking?
Even though many customers already pay attention to this, you can not emphasize this quite often: by the indicated prices, the shipping costs are still added. Some of them are so high that they make some offers unattractive. In addition, since a change in the law in 2014, the customer always supports the cost of return in case of exchange.
Many large traders assume this voluntarily, but not all. Care must be exercised by customers when buying overseas. When importing goods from countries outside the EU, customs duties amounting to 19% of the value of the goods will be applied from an order value of 22 euros. If it is not clear beforehand if the seller is carrying this, there may be an unpleasant surprise at customs.
How do I recognize dubious resellers?
Typically, a person recognizes fraudulent fake stores in their unrealistically favorable offers. But on Black Friday sinking the consumer attention threshold because of the variety of offers, warns consumer lawyer Buttler. In addition, fraudsters are getting more and more professionals. They kidnap family domains or build reputed stores exactly.
If unsure, you should look for the print, privacy information and cancellation policy. Some degree of protection is provided by quality seals, such as "Trusted Shops". But here too buyers should be careful that the stamp is not copied as an image on the page, but a link with more information behind it.
What to do in case of problems?
Anyone who realizes after the purchase that he or she does not need the goods or instead of the current erroneously sat on a discontinued model, has in principle for 14 days of online shopping a right of return – with the right to refund the price purchase.
It is more difficult in cases of fraud. Who buys on Amazon, likes Amazon buyer protection. Otherwise you should try to book the transfer back. However, if the seller is abroad, there are usually bad cards.