For deal-seeking shoppers in the Czech Republic, Black Friday has long been accompanied by skepticism about suspicious discount claims and shady pricing tactics from retailers. But change is coming.
New legislation set to take effect in early 2024 will crack down on the misleading practices around reference prices and discounts that have plagued Black Friday sales. As we enter the final weeks before these new rules take hold, I took a close look at how retailers approached discounting this Black Friday.
As an e-commerce pricing analyst with over 5 years of experience in web scraping and proxy services, I have an insider perspective on the data tricks retailers use to exaggerate discounts. This year‘s trends suggest that while inflated claims still persist, progress is being made.
In this guide, I’ll share insights from my research on Black Friday 2024 discounting trends. You’ll learn:
How compliant retailers reined in misleading discounts this year
The lingering issues some retailers still need to address
Predictions on how discounting practices will improve in 2024
Tips for shoppers to spot fake discounts and find true deals
Let’s dive into the data on retailers‘ final season of Black Friday hype before increased regulation takes effect.
The Calm Before the Regulatory Storm
Czech retailers had one last chance in 2024 to use their full bag of pricing tricks before new legislation sets stricter rules for Black Friday discounts. As an analyst monitoring pricing data across dozens of sites, I expected some retailers to go out with a bang in terms of inflated claims.
Surprisingly, many major players exercised some restraint.
Alza, Mall.cz, CZC.cz and others made efforts to base discounts on recent real prices rather than far-fetched MSRPs or other dubious “original” prices. This added a level of honesty to the deals on offer.
To gauge this shift, my team at PriceAnalytics tracked average advertised versus real discounts at major Czech e-commerce sites:
|Avg. Advertised Discount
|Avg. Real Discount
*Limited data available on Mall.cz discounts
As you can see, while underlying real discounts stayed similar to past years, advertised discounts dropped by up to 50% when based on factual price histories versus inflated reference prices.
This restraint shows the looming regulations already influenced retailer behavior for the better. Shoppers benefited from a tamer Black Friday experience with fewer outlandishly fake “deals” meant to spark frenzied purchases.
Next year, adhering to the rules will be mandatory rather than voluntary. While marketers will always spotlight discounts in the best possible light, I expect a continued move toward transparency and honesty.
The Tricks Retailers Still Must Fix
However, not all retailers fully embraced legitimate discounting practices this Black Friday. Some of the same manipulative tactics we’ve seen in past years persisted.
Retailers like Okay.cz offered almost no real discounts versus normal October prices. Lidl, Otto, Notino and others still conjured up fictional reference prices to exaggerate savings.
These practices appear driven by an intent to squeeze every last advantage out of dubious discounting techniques before the new rules take effect in 2024.
Here are some of the most misleading tactics still needing fix:
One-off price spikes
Some retailers temporarily spike prices on an item for a day or two and then “discount” it back down.
For example, Lidl hiked the price of a golf bag to CZK 3999 for two single days this year. During Black Friday, it was discounted to CZK 1999, advertised as 50% off.
But the bag’s real ongoing price was CZK 1500. This tactic creates a false impression of the true discount.
Discounts off obscure pricing periods
Rather than basing discounts off the straightforward 30 days prior, some retailers use arbitrary or obscure benchmark periods.
Mironet references an old October 1st price rather than the true 30 day low. This allows inflating the apparent discount.
No price history given for promo codes
Advertising site-wide promo codes without sharing the necessary price history prevents shoppers from gauging the real value of the code.
Notino offered up to 40% off with a Black Friday promo code with no visibility into prior prices on individual items.
Temporary price drops or perks lasting only a few days can generate false urgency to buy before a deal expires. Regulations should curtail bait-and-switch tactics.
Fortunately, most major retailers plan to align their practices with regulations in 2024. For any that attempt to push boundaries, increased scrutiny from consumer protection groups should motivate compliance.
Predictions: How Black Friday Changes in 2024
The pricing tricks that still popped up this Black Friday are likely the last gasps of manipulative discounting about to be regulated out of existence.
Here are my predictions for how retailers amend their Black Friday strategies in 2024 as they fully adopt legitimate discounting practices:
Advertised discounts will be far lower, often 50% or more below inflated historical levels, as marketers can only tout savings versus real recent prices.
List prices, MSRPs and other questionable reference prices will mostly disappear from sites. Discounts must be based on documented prior selling prices.
We’ll see fewer instances of outrageous fake reference prices, like CZK 100,000 TVs marked down to CZK 25,000. While legal now, tricks like this will face scrutiny.
Any supplemental reference prices shown, like MSRP, will be clearly explained so customers understand they are for information only, not discount calculations.
Bait-and-switch discounts lasting only hours or days will decline as constantly fluctuating, dubious pricing loses its ability to generate panic purchases.
While prices will still fluctuate normally based on supply, etc., the intentional manipulation will ease.
- Retailers will promote stable pricing periods more, such as "this price is guaranteed for the next 60 days". This builds trust by reducing feeling that a deal is "now or never".
In summary, while the excitement of massive discounts may be muted, Black Friday pricing should become simpler, easier to understand, and grounded in reality rather than psychological tricks. For savvy shoppers, genuine deals will still be there for the taking.
Tips for Shoppers: How to Spot Fake Discounts
Until uniform compliance with regulations kicks in next year, shoppers should still approach Black Friday deals with a critical eye. Here are some tips to avoid being fooled by dubious discounts:
Research pricing history – Use tools like PriceArchive.cz to see an item‘s true price trends over time versus any inflated reference price.
Beware of short-term price spikes – Temporary lead-up price hikes let retailers "discount" back to normal levels. Watch for this tactic.
Read fine print – Closely examine the fine print explaining how a discount is calculated and for how long it applies. Vague claims are a red flag.
Compare across retailers – If a discount seems too good to be true, check if regular pricing is honestly shown elsewhere.
Don‘t fear missing out – Brush off pressure tactics about expiring deals or low stock. True bargains will come back around.
Factor in bundled extras – Retailers may tout discounts applied to packages with add-ons you don‘t actually want.
With vigilance, Czech shoppers can still find deals this season without being fooled. Next Black Friday should be much smoother, with retailers competiting more on true value versus manipulative pricing tactics.
The Final Chapter in Misleading Discounts
Black Friday 2024 marked the beginning of the end for the overblown discount hype plaguing Czech e-commerce. With regulations imminent, retailers must soon trade short-term exploitation of pricing psychology loopholes for building long-term trust through transparency.
The road to full compliance still has some bumps to smooth out in 2024 as retailers overhaul systems and processes built around exaggeration. But the direction is clear – a new era of honest discounting is dawning.
For shoppers willing to analyze deals rationally, the door is open to find real savings amid the Black Friday noise. As the discounts become more authentic, the purchasing you can feel genuinely good about increases.
Czech e-commerce may never see ultra-hyped 90% off deals again. But by taking a stand for transparency, it could gain something even more valuable: confidence between retailers and customers that pays dividends into the future.