99% of Black Friday sales are not real

“99% of Black Friday sales are not real”, that is the stark warning from the OCU consumer association in Spain.

Looking at the offers advertised by online stores, you may be tempted to buy some products that present substantial savings, but the problem is that the price reduction is not generally calculated on the cheapest price, they say.

The law establishes that, in offers, sales and promotions, the cheapest of the last 30 days must be used as a reference price … but the OCU price studies reveal that in practice this is not respected.

Last Friday, one week before Black Friday, they collected more than 16,000 product prices on different websites, of products whose evolution we had been able to follow in the previous 30 days. In some 6,000 cases we were also able to collect a price that the web showed as a “reference” (prices crossed out, and sometimes indicating the percentage or amount of money that you would now save on it), implying that the discount is applied to it.

In more than 99% of cases, the “previous” price indicated is not the lowest of the last 30 days: in almost all cases, these prices are inflated compared to reality, which obviously affects the savings they advertise… and to average real saving.

The average saving advertised would be 25%, but the reality is that the price collected on November 18 compared to the minimum of the last 30 days reveals that today the prices of the products are, on average,3% more expensive.

In other words, at the beginning of Black Week, there are few sales, and yes, prices are somewhat more expensive than at some point last month.

Some of the examples they reveal show Amazon advertising an average of 22% discount, whereas their prices are 6% more expensive.

In El Corte Ingles, they advertise savings of 21%, but are actually 7% more expensive, in MediaMarkt, where a discount of 19% on average is advertised, % increase.

Of these businesses, Amazon do indicate in many cases that these crossed out prices are Recommended Retail Price, or they say that it is a “previous price”, but that way of calculating the discount does not comply with the regulations.