Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: When Should You Shop?

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If you've been scanning the ads lately, you've probably come across both Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and wondered how they differ and which can save you the most cash. While stores have offered Black Friday shopping events for decades, Cyber Monday is newer to the scene with the increase of retailers selling their products online. Both shopping events come with the potential to score deals on popular products, but they offer different experiences that may or may not fit your tastes and needs. Consider both the good and bad when it comes to Black Friday versus Cyber Monday to decide when you should shop.

Black Friday: The Good

If you're looking for deals on just about any kind of product, you may have better luck getting a great deal on Black Friday than Cyber Monday, but the category can make a difference in savings. Business Insider reports that this shopping day is great for expensive, newer models of products like cars, computers and televisions. RetailMeNot also suggests you can find great savings on winter gear, appliances and designer accessories.

Both Walmart and Target highlight their Black Friday 2019 offers on game consoles, home appliances and numerous gadgets along with in-store doorbusters that start Thanksgiving evening. Kohl's will offer a week of deals on toys, clothing, electronics and more and will sweeten the offer with its Kohl's Cash program.

Shopping on Black Friday versus Cyber Monday can also provide a different experience. If you visit stores, you can take advantage of giveaways if you're lucky enough to be one of the first customers. You can also enjoy using your purchases right away rather than having to wait for shipping as well as make the day a social event with your friends and family. Of course, you can still do Black Friday shopping online for added convenience, but you'll have more in-store options than with Cyber Monday.

Black Friday: The Bad

Visiting stores on the busiest shopping day of the year means you can expect to deal with crowds of people competing over the same items. Unless you line up or get to the store early, you may be out of luck for what you came to buy. If you prefer online shopping, you may also find it inconvenient when your favorite retailer only offers popular deals in the store. So, you'll likely find Cyber Monday more appealing if you prefer staying home to shop.

You may also get caught up in the Black Friday shopping frenzy and not end up with the best deals and save money. While Black Friday offers good deals at big-box retailers, Business Insider warns that it may be worth waiting until Cyber Monday if you shop from smaller retailers or resellers or if you plan to buy older products. RetailMeNot cautions against buying toys, furniture or the latest gaming consoles on Black Friday.

Cyber Monday: The Good

When it comes to deals on certain product categories, Cyber Monday can offer a key advantage over Black Friday. Deal News suggests that Cyber Monday offered better deals on speakers, toys and beauty products. Nationwide suggests the day is also great for bargains on clothing and games. Retailers also commonly sweeten their Cyber Monday deals with additional coupon codes and free shipping offers.

For example, Old Navy will offer 50 percent off its clothes on Cyber Monday, while Best Buy will have special offers on 4K TVs and other high-tech products. Amazon will have a whole Cyber Monday week with deals across most product categories.

Cyber Monday also offers an advantage when it comes to convenience. Since most of the sales happen online, you can worry less about in-store doorbusters that require time spent traveling and waiting in line. Even if you do head to the store, you'll find that you deal with a calmer, less crowded environment. While Cyber Monday does bring in the money, Forbes reports it doesn't rank in the top 10 busiest shopping days like Black Friday does.

Cyber Monday: The Bad

With Cyber Monday being such a big online shopping day, you might encounter issues when your favorite stores' websites slow down or crash from people placing a large number of orders. This can drag out your online shopping trip and leave you reaching out to customer support. In some cases, your favorite items might go out of stock while you're dealing with site problems.

You also encounter other inconveniences when you shop on Cyber Monday. Since most sales are online, you'll likely have to wait for your orders to arrive and track them along the way. And like with online Black Friday sales, you find the online-only sales less appealing if you need to buy clothes or something else you need to personally look at or try out. And while you can probably do your Cyber Monday shopping from home, you might be inconvenienced if you have to work and want to check out in-person sales.

So, When Should You Shop?

When comparing Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday to choose when to do your shopping, it will come down to what type of product you're buying and your shopping preferences. If you need a new game console, laptop or 4K TV, you might get the best deal lining up at Best Buy or Walmart on Thanksgiving evening for their Black Friday doorbusters. But if you're buying toys for your kids or clothes, you can find good deals online on Cyber Monday as long as you don't care to wait for the mail and won't find any necessary returns too inconvenient.

The great news is that you can easily shop both these shopping events – even from the comfort of your home. So, don't feel you have to shop exclusively on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Instead, do some price comparison for the items on your holiday shopping list and find out where and when the best deals are. So, go check those ads and start planning your Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping!

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About the Author

Ashley Donohoe has written about business and technology topics since 2010. Having a Master of Business Administration degree and experience running a small business and doing tax returns, she is knowledgeable about the tax issues individuals and businesses face. Other places featuring her business writing include JobHero, LoveToKnow, Bizfluent, Chron and Study.com.