Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Is There A Difference?

Come the holiday season, we’re all looking for the perfect deal. We want to get the best gift, for the least amount of our hard earned money. Stretching our paychecks has become a consumer focused holiday. Well, in fact, it’s actually two different holidays (Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday) that are separated by the weekend.

So, when you’re deciding when you should shop, you’re probably wondering if there is any difference between the holidays. If there is a difference, which is better Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Honestly, there may be slight variations in the deals you’ll receive, but for all intents and purposes there’s really no difference between the deals themselves. The biggest difference between Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday is the shopping experience.

I prefer Cyber Monday shopping for several reasons. Avoiding crowds, the convenience of mobile shopping, and optional gift wrappings make this my go to for the holidays. Of course gift selection is of paramount importance. However, from a consumer perspective, Cyber Monday is the better holiday to take advantage of.

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What’s In A Name?

Let’s get down to brass tacks. These holidays are designed to get us to open up our wallets and drop massive amounts of cash, or swipe our credit cards until the magnetic strips no longer work. But, where did the names come from?

Black Friday is the Friday immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday. Where the name truly originated from, I don’t know. However, I’ve been told that this is the day when companies actually turn a profit. In the financial world, when you are operating at a loss, you’re considered in the red. When your company starts making money, you’re considered in the black. I always thought it odd that it wasn’t green, but then again I’m no financial wizard either. Hence the name “Black Friday.”

Whether or not this is truly “the day” when companies start making money for the year is inconsequential. The fact remains that it is one of the busiest days of the year for retail. A close competitor for busiest sales day is Cyber Monday. Aptly named because all deals and transactions occur in cyberspace (a.k.a. the internet).

With the dawn of the millennial consumer, digital shopping has made trekking to the stores an obsolete endeavor. Instead, Cyber Monday is marked by digital shopping carts that can never overflow, and where customer service is only a click away. Unfortunately, no green backs accepted on this holiday, only plastic money can be used on this day of digital deals!

Which Has Better Deals?

Alright, I’ll start this off by saying that my research has been limited. But, from what I can tell, the deals of Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday aren’t all that different. Sure, you may save a few bucks by doing extensive research. However, you’re likely to find variance on any other day as well. In order to truly maximize savings, you’ll have to look at base pricing on non-holidays and compare to competitors. Also, you’ll need to look in depth at features to ensure you’re getting the exact same product for a cheaper price. Not all 50″ televisions are created equal.

Alright, let’s assume there’s no difference at all in the product you are looking at. You’re probably wondering whether you get a better deal on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I’m here to tell you that it’s unlikely that the price will change drastically.

The Comparison

I really hope I don’t get in trouble for this, but let’s take a couple of Forbes articles written for Black Friday 2017 and compare it with the Cyber Monday 2017 equivalent. Forbes is a respected online publication, which is why I chose their articles as my example. I’m sure you can find others if you do some digging around.

Here are the links:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2017/11/22/best-black-friday-2017-ads-deals-amazon-apple-best-buy-target-and-walmart-sales/#259e7c8d3949

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2017/11/26/best-cyber-monday-2017-ads-deals-amazon-apple-best-buy-target-and-walmart-sales/#74fd51085499

I highlighted some things worth noting. The author for both is the same, and the dates correspond with the holiday referenced in the article. Do me a favor and copy/paste these into two different windows. Now shrink them down so that they both take up half of your screen, with one window on the left and the other on the right. Go ahead and scroll through. Notice anything? A bunch of the same deals are repeated on both, for identical products. (I would have taken screenshots but didn’t want to get into copyright trouble)

Now, I will admit that the deals on both articles are for online storefronts. Traditionally, brick and mortar store locations make their offers on Black Friday. But if the Amazon’s of the world aren’t changing their prices from Friday to Monday, why would the Walmart’s? Let’s face it, the big companies all have an online presence as well.

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: It Doesn’t Matter?

Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it doesn’t matter which holiday you shop on. While the deals can be very similar, if not identical, there are other intangible reason for choosing which holiday you should participate in.

Black Friday Analysis

The real benefit of shopping on Black Friday is the experience. Getting up at 4 A.M. to wait in the lines with family to try and grab the best deals can be rewarding. Not to mention you’ll definitely have to operate with Seal Team 6 type precision to maximize your shopping bounty. However, just spending time with family (or friends) and fighting through the crowds can be rewarding.

Black Friday isn’t without it’s perils though. I’m sure you’ve seen the videos of crazed shoppers, fights, stampedes and other threats to your safety. Of course, you’ll have to wait in long lines to get into the store. And unless you’re one of the lucky few to get in and out quickly, the lines to exit the store will also be a challenge. Usually, there’s limited stock, so you always run the risk of not getting the deal you had hoped for.

If you’re set on participating on Black Friday, I recommend you check out my “Day After Thanksgiving Survival Guide” article in preparation. This will have some other pitfalls, as well as, tips and tricks to help make Black Friday shopping as painless as possible.

Cyber Monday Analysis

If you’re not into getting up early and standing in a line of strangers in the freezing cold, chances are Cyber Monday is the day for you. You’ll still need to plan to be an early shopper to take full advantage of any online deals. But, at least you’ll be doing it from the comfort of your own home with a nice cup of coffee.

Cyber Monday also has some other perks not featured on Black Friday. If you choose to use Amazon for your holiday shopping needs, some online vendors offer gift wrapping to ease your holiday load. Also, you needn’t worry about pushing around some cumbersome cart, you have unlimited storage space and it doesn’t weigh a thing.

Finally, you won’t be spending hours in line to finish your holiday shopping. A few clicks, enter your credit card number, submit and you’re done. Of course, with an increase of online shoppers on Cyber Monday, there may be delays in server response. However, the wait of a few extra seconds will be far less painful than standing in a line of 50 people.

Cyber Monday Issues

I’ve already covered one of the issues of server speed due to increased load. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do on your end to assist with this. It’s up to the online store to make sure they’re prepared for the amount of traffic their site will receive.

If you have cash on hand to help you stick to your budget, better think again about Cyber Monday shopping. Only credit and debit cards (and gift cards I suppose) are accepted forms of payment. You’ll also need to budget for shipping costs. Assuming you have Amazon Prime, you can avoid some of the delivery costs.

The biggest problem with virtual shopping is that the item you’re looking to buy isn’t tangible. For instance, you don’t know if the sizing is going to run small for a pair of shoes. Similarly, you won’t know the quality of the product firsthand. Amazon and others have done a great job of having your peers review the product.

Amazon goes so far as to provide you answered questions other users have had. I try to provide a bit more detail than you’ll likely find from your peers. Check out my gift ideas section for some examples. However, nothing compares to handling the product yourself and doing your own assessment.

Final Thoughts

If your sole purpose for shopping on Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday is the deals, you really aren’t going to get an edge one way or another without significant research. For me, the ability to shop at home, without fighting crowds and lines, is worth making Cyber Monday my premier choice. However, if you’re looking to test your mettle against the other Black Friday shoppers for some quality family bonding, go for it. I do recommend you read my survival guide for Black Friday before you walk blindly into the lion’s den.

 

 

This site (TheGiftasaurus.com) is owned and operated by Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC also participates in affiliate programs with Clickbank, CJ, and other sites. Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

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