When Black Friday comes around, you can find deals galore, both on the web and on the high street…

Despite originating in the US, Black Friday is an event that’s become prominent in the majority of the Western world – from the UK to Australia.

While it now involves shoppers eagerly awaiting their November payday to splash their cash in retailers’ online stores, Black Friday was traditionally an in-store-only affair. That was before the internet became the preferred way to shop, and throngs of shoppers would line up outside high-street shops in the early hours to bag some bargains on slashed-price items. 

The advent of e-commerce has certainly added a new dimension to the shopping extravaganza, but which Black Friday deals are better – those found online or in physical stores? 

We’ve asked the experts to find out which way is the best way to shop the Black Friday sales in 2024.

Online or in-store: what’s the difference?

Shopping for Black Friday sale items online is fundamentally different to browsing the shelves of physical stores and this often comes down to the different experience and exclusivity each offers.

There’s a certain thrill in physically nabbing a deal in a real shop but we also can’t ignore the convenience of online shopping.

“On the one hand, we have the experience of a store that gives you the gratifying sensation of taking something home; it’s immediate and reliable,” says Andhi Ermawan, founder of myprosandcons.com.

 “Yet on the digital side of things, we have the probability of better comparing prices from the comfort of your home without being pushed or pressured into the feeling that an item will be taken by someone else should you put it back on the shelf.”

Customer preference and free time are also big factors. Whether it’s online or in-store shopping, it ultimately comes down to whatever works best for you.

Online or in-store: which is the best for deals?

If you don’t mind how you shop the Black Friday deals this year, it might be worthwhile to know which type of shopping is going to grab you the best bargains. Is it online or in-store?

Clay Cary, an e-commerce analyst at couponfollow, explains how in-store discounts are usually around 20% off during Thanksgiving week, reaching 37% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. 

“Online deals, on the other hand, average a 34% discount,” he says. “Be aware, though, that not all of these deals are genuine because some retailers inflate RRPs to make discounts seem more appealing.”

Andy Barr, a retail expert and co-founder of the online price-tracking website alertr, explains that brick-and-mortar stores generally offer slightly better discounts because they have more excess stock that they need to get rid of – mostly to make way for new products. 

“This can lead to a limited amount of products having drastic discounts just to sell the products quickly,” he says.

“However, in-store shopping is often incredibly competitive, with lines to get into a store and no guarantee that you will get the product you want.”

This is where online Black Friday deals shine: you can look at multiple sites and products to compare their prices and ensure you’re saving as much as possible.

Related content: