Is it really a Black Friday special? We used this online tool to find out

24 November 2021 - 16:21
By Cebelihle Bhengu
A new study suggests that retail spending during Black Friday will increase this year compared to 2020.
Image: MARK ANDREWS © DAILY DISPATCH A new study suggests that retail spending during Black Friday will increase this year compared to 2020.

Black Friday is around the corner and South Africans are preparing their wallets and budgets to spend (and hopefully save) on essential items like home appliances and food.

Online retailer Takealot is among those retailers who are going big on the annual shopping holiday and have already released some of their specials.

But how will you know if the special you see now, or on Black Friday, is a real steal or just the subject of inflation and discounting?

Software developer Ashton Hudson built a price-tracking service, Serval, to help consumers gauge the cost of products at Takealot over several months to see if they are really scoring a “once in a lifetime” deal.

How does it work? 

The tool compares the listing value of items and their current price. The listing price refers to the “real cost” of an item and the current price is the “special” amount at which it is being sold. The tool also allows consumers to check the price history of an item from as far back as July, or whenever it was listed by the company.

We compared five products now on sale through Takealot “early access” Black Friday deals and tried to determine whether these are a saving.

Keep in mind that Takealot's full Black Friday specials will be released only on Friday, and the retailer has previously said it has limited control over the prices of third-party sellers on its site.

We have compared products listed for sale by Takealot and not those it fulfils for a third party.


Listing Price: R14,999

Current price: R11,899

Verdict: This TV reached a high of R13,999 on October 19, which also led to a R1,000 jump in the listing price. A day or two later it dropped to R12,499 and the listing price to R13,999.

It dropped to R11,999 on November 12 but spiked again just before the latest “special” to R13,699 last Friday. The price dropped again on Saturday to R11,999 and on Monday to R11,899.

The listing price was mostly adjusted at R1,000-R2,000 above the current price throughout, but spiked up before the latest “special” to present a bigger gap, and discount, between the two.

For the best bargain you should have got the TV back in September when it was listed at R11,499.


Listing Price: R5,949

Current price: R2,699

Verdict: On paper this appears to be a massive discount but looking at the price trend over the two months shows the listing price jumped by more than R2,500 from R3,399 to R5,949 on October 6, as the price sat at R2,799.

The price started increasing from the end of October, to a high on November 11 of R3,699. It stayed there for a week before it dropped to R2,799 and then R2,699 on Wednesday.

Like with the 65" TV, the listing price shot up as the price on site dropped, making the “special” discount look even more attractive.

For the best bargain you should have got the set on October 11 when it was R2,499.


Listing Price: R599

Current price: R399

Verdict: This deal is promoted at 33% off. A study of the price trends found the listing price has stayed constant since July. The price Takealot sells it for has fluctuated over the last month from R499 a month ago to R399 on November 13. It stayed at that level for a few hours before jumping back up to R499. 

The price dropped to R399 on Sunday while the listing price stayed consistent.

It is now at its lowest price.


Listing price: R5,099

Selling price: R3,999

Verdict: Both the listing and selling prices have remained the same since its listing earlier this month. So while the twin tub is 21% cheaper than the listing price, it is no more of a saving than if bought earlier this month.


Listing price: R2,999

Selling price: R1,999 

Verdict: As with some of the other products we searched, this Wi-Fi system has seen a fair bit of fluctuation since the middle of October. It was selling for R2,199 on October 11 before increasing to R2,298 a few days later and then went back down a short time after that. 

It increased to R2,399 on October 25 and stayed around that mark before a drop to R1,999 on October 8. It increased, along with its listing price, to R2,388 last Monday.

At the start of the week it dropped to its previous low of R1,999, where it remains at the moment.