Black Friday is known to throw up a bargain, but what shoppers may not know is some product prices are increased ahead of the flash sales event.
Data from price comparison website PriceSpy shows that one in 10 products typically go up in price around Black Friday. These items are typically gadgets and electronics, and the increases tend to happen a week before the event to make discounts appear more attractive.
Non-tech categories such as beauty and health, home and garden and fashion and accessories were found to offer better discounts on Black Friday.
Mobile phones were the most popular items on Kiwis' shopping lists on Black Friday last year, but the data shows these items offered the smallest discount on the day and an average discount of 2 per cent.
Headphones, the second most popular item, offered an average discount of 9 per cent, while gaming consoles offered an average discount of 11 per cent.
Insights show that one month before Black Friday last year, at the start of November, the price of Apple iPhone 8 Plus (256GB) was $959, on Black Friday the price had increased by 48 per cent to $1416.
This was a similar story for Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (128GB) models, which increased by 38 per cent to $685 on Black Friday from $685 and 18 per cent to $869 on the day from $739 just weeks earlier.
The price of a DJI Spark RTF drone increased by 39 per cent to $696, up from $499 in the first week of November and a Canon EOS R camera priced at $2149 at the start of the month increased by 28 per cent to $2747 on Black Friday.
Price Spy found many examples of price increases on electronics such as mobile phones, cameras, headphones and drones on Black Friday.
"Our historical pricing data highlights the need for shoppers to be vigilant surrounding price discounting across these big flash sale days," Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, New Zealand country manager for PriceSpy, said.
Matinvesi-Bassett said increasing prices ahead of dropping them on or around Black Friday was a "conscious and strategic move made by retailers to make their Black Friday deals appear better than what they are for consumers".
She said it was a strategy to ensure they maintain a healthy margin from each sale.
"Our recommendation to shoppers therefore is to not take the discounts offered at face value and conduct price research.
"When we dig deeper across the historical price points of products, we can also see flash sale days, like Black Friday, don't necessarily offer the cheapest price – as our research found of the top three products people were looking to buy last Black Friday, all items could be purchased for less prior to the sale day."
Contrary to what many retail commentators think, Ben Goodale, chief executive of Quantum Jump, does not believe Black Friday will have the same appeal in New Zealand this year as it has had in previous years' past.
"I think we are looking at a very different Black Friday for retailers this year. While retail has bounced back really well from lockdown and the wider impact of Covid, with some categories doing extremely well, I don't predict a stellar performance from Black Friday," Goodale told the Herald.
"Consumers are shopping more at the moment because they want to, or need to, not because of a 'sale event' - we are seeing more sophisticated and long term marketing strategies are paying off in retail.
"Shoppers are currently distracted, not quite sure what month it is as the normal equilibrium of the year has been so disrupted – and this means that while trading levels overall will be fine, last year's Black Friday spike is unlikely - I just don't think shoppers heads are in that mode yet."
Watch out for scams
As Black Friday and Christmas approaches, it pays for shoppers to be mindful of increased activity by scammers.
Last week a widespread scam text was sent out in New Zealand making claims about unpaid custom charges, and cyber security software company Avast is warning that it is likely many more shopping related scams will pop up in the weeks to come.
Luis Corrons of Avast warns that it is the time of year where the internet is filled with enticing deals but it is also a time where shoppers spend less time researching where they are purchasing from.
"Getting a great deal during Black Friday or Cyber Monday is a thrill for many shoppers, however, knowing you are doing so with no surprises from scammers is the gift that keeps on giving," Corrons said.
"Be on the watch out for phishing emails and texts offering deals or shipping information which persuade you to click a link or download an attachment, which could be malware like ransomware that holds your files hostage until you pay a ransom, or even lead you to a fake website where it asks you to sign in with your personal information or gets you to complete an actual payment."
He recommends that shoppers do not store payment information and use a VPN when shopping online if possible.