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Should you buy a TV in the Black Friday sales?

There may be bargains galore, but is it a good time to buy a TV?

buying a tv in black friday sales
Last updated: 11 November 2021

The Black Friday sales are now even bigger than the Boxing Day sales in Australia. And while there are plenty of savings to be made, and lots of top-notch goodies to snap up, not every deal you'll find will be a good one. 

If you've been hanging out for the Black Friday sales to buy that new TV you've had your eye on, you might be wondering how much you could save. 

While we can't tell you exactly where to get the best price, we can give you some tips on how to decide whether Black Friday is the right time to buy a new TV – and whether you're better off shopping in person or online. 

Is Black Friday really the best time to buy a new TV?

There are so many sales events throughout the year that you're likely to find discounts year round. But will you get the best deals in the Black Friday sales?

During the various lockdowns, online promotions were the only way to enjoy a sale when you couldn't leave home. 

You may find the best deals are to be found instore. Bricks-and-mortar retailers will be desperate for consumer traffic

Denis Gallagher, CHOICE TV expert

"But with the country progressively opening up again you may find the best deals to be found are instore," says CHOICE TV expert Denis Gallagher. "Bricks-and-mortar retailers will be desperate for consumer traffic to ramp up leading to Christmas after months of few or no customers in-store. 

"Electrical retailers usually offer good discounts below the retail price around this time of year. But there will no doubt be some specific models from Sony, LG, Samsung and Hisense available at some great prices piled up instore in an attempt to get you through the door."

And don't forget that with post and freight delays, buying online could mean that you're left waiting longer than you'd like for your new TV to arrive, which means heading instore could be a good option. 

Will COVID-19 affect the Black Friday sales?

COVID has affected all of us in different ways, and it's had a big impact on retailers. So while we're all getting frustrated with postal delays, retailers are experiencing the same problems – but on a much bigger scale. 

"Companies are not only scrambling to get stock to retailers for Black Friday sales following constant shipping delays through COVID restrictions," says Denis. "There are also huge numbers of products that continue to be pushed through the system due to the increase in online shopping in general."

This means you could have trouble finding specific products through some retailers. 

"But don't give up," says Denis. "A simple search should find another bricks-and-mortar retailer with the product in stock because the product deliveries will come in waves for the next couple of months. Some store chains will get the stock they need, others won't."

Will I be able to buy the exact TV I want in the Black Friday sales?

COVID hasn't just affected everyone's travel plans: it's also thrown a spanner in the works for retailers. Stock availability has been inconsistent, so it's best to keep an open mind about the product you want to buy. 

Even our CHOICE buyers, who source all the products we test (they're pretty much professional shoppers!) are having trouble making predictions about stock availability. 

Keep an eye out for the type of product you want, rather than a specific product, and you should be able to bag a bargain

Denis Gallagher, CHOICE

"Some products arrive by the truckload when expected, while other products won't arrive at all," says Denis.

"The best approach is to keep an eye out for the type of product you want, rather than a specific product, and you should be able to bag a bargain."

Do your research

So research broadly and learn as much as you can about the type of features you're looking for, so that you'll know a good deal when you see one. Here are some helpful places to start:

And of course check our expert TV reviews to make sure you're buying the best TV for your money! 

Which TVs should you look out for in the sales?

Although discounts can be hit-and-miss, there are some types of TVs to look out for if you want to save some serious money. 

There's an undeniable move to large TVs – think 65-inch and larger (which is a problem for CHOICE's expert testers, as they can't fit as many TVs in our lab for testing!). But this means that retailers know there's a demand for large TVs, so may be less willing to discount them. 

Retailers know there's a demand for large TVs, so may be less willing to discount them

"This means you should be able to bag an absolute bargain if you buck the trend and look out for 55-inch models in any of the higher-end OLED, QLED Mini LED ranges from Hisense, LG, Samsung or Sony," says Denis. 

You may have had your heart set on a huge TV, but remember that they're not ideal for every home entertainment setup – if you have a compact living room or are looking for something for the bedroom, a smaller size will be perfect. 

"Take another look at your lounge room and ask yourself: is a 55-inch TV a better option?" suggests Denis.

What size TV should I buy

High definition TV viewing guide.

What size TV should I buy 4K distance

Ultra high definition/4K TV viewing distance guide.

Can you still get a good deal on a fancy TV?

You're likely to get bigger discounts on products that aren't so much in demand. But what if you want a high-end model – will you still be able to bag a bargain?

"You can often pick up great discounts on the premium series TVs (such as the G series OLEDs from LG or the 8K Neo QLED series from Samsung) as they will most likely have the highest profit margin for the retailers to work with," Denis says.

"TV companies will also be offering incentives for the retailers to drop the price of the premium and largest models as they don't want them to be hanging around when the new lot of 2022 TVs come out early next year."

Should I buy last year's model to get a bigger discount?

"There is no real downside to buying last year's model," says Denis. "The 'smarts' in smart TVs have progressed to the point where the features on offer for a 2021 TV will still be available on a 2020 TV through a software update. 

"For example, LG is offering a three-month Apple TV subscription to all owners of smart TVs all the way back to 2016 models. So owners of older models should keep an eye out for opportunities to breathe new life into their Smart TV."

There is no real downside to buying last year's model

Denis Gallagher, CHOICE

It's a good idea to enable automatic updates if you like getting the latest features. For example, your 2018 TV could be enhanced with features and functionality through a firmware update that happens in the background. If you enable these automatic updates, the 2018 TV you have today could very well be a better TV than when you bought it. 

"However, an area where the latest and greatest features can't simply be 'updated' are things such as higher resolution, 8K or support for some enhanced audio functionality where a higher processor or specific chipset may be required," says Denis.

Consider which features you can and can't live without, as these could affect how much you'll have to pay. 

How to tell whether a TV is the current model

When trying to work out if the TV is a genuine bargain or old stock that's being sold cheaply, the first thing you need to know is when the TV was released. 

The secret to unlocking this information? It's all in the product code. Denis explains it in detail here: How to buy a bargain TV

Making sense of product codes and the like can be confusing at the best of times, and unfortunately Covid has made things even more complicated. 

"This year is even more confusing than last year in this regard as there is a mish-mash of 2020 and 2021 models, so look at the model and choose accordingly," says Denis. 

Which retailers are good to buy TVs from in the Black Friday sales?

While we can't give you an exhaustive list of retailers, Denis has a few tips for where to buy. 

We surveyed shoppers in 2019 about the best place to buy electronic appliances online, they named AppliancesOnline.com.au as their favourite, followed by Bing Lee and Myer. The least favourite retailer was Harvey Norman. The Appliances Online website was deemed easiest to use, while some shoppers didn't love the experience on The Good Guys' website.

Kogan

One retailer that regularly offers discounted goods is Kogan. At CHOICE, we have some misgivings about Kogan, as it doesn't have a great track record of doing the right thing by consumers. 

In fact, we gave the company a Shonky Award in 2019 for its customer service. And it picked up another Shonky this year (2021) for its bladeless fans that barely create a breeze. So if you are going to shop at Kogan, shop with caution. 

If you are going to shop at Kogan, shop with caution

"Kogan no doubt has some amazing prices for TVs, but the question is – do they have amazing TVs?" Denis says. "Well, if the TV is Kogan's own brand, the answer is probably no. Their TVs have performed consistently poorly over the years and this is a perfect example of what you pay is what you get.

"However, you can still bag a bargain with a Samsung, Sony or LG TV from Kogan, as long as you are aware of the model to avoid buying last year's stock.

"Thankfully, Kogan's product listings show the product code clearly, so you can check to see if it is a model for the Australian market and if the TV is a 2020 or 2021 model."

JB Hi-Fi

Another retailer that may be worth considering is JB Hi-Fi. 

If you're looking for a big-screen bargain, JB HiFi often has sales that combine a pretty good discount on the RRP with a JB HiFi gift card. This is good for anyone who's also looking for gifts leading up to Christmas, according to Denis. 

"For example, a recent offer had a LG Nano86 75-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV [2021] for $2397, which is $600 off the RRP and you also get a JB HiFi gift card for $200, which could go towards a soundbar or Christmas gifts," says Denis. 

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE