Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday:When can you save more?

November 27, 2007

Now that we’re past Thanksgiving, the shopping mania for the holiday season is officially on.

After being stuffed with turkey, it’s time to stuff our Christmas trees with gifts. There are two major shopping extravaganzas that happen after Thanksgiving, Black Friday which is the Friday after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend.

The numbers are up for Black Friday. 147 million dashed to the department stores and retail sales are up by 8% compared to last year. From the looks of it, either more people were able to save for the holiday shopping or they were just brave enough and prepared to spend more, or the discounts were just so irresistible they can’t let it pass.

But, as a smart consumer, which I know you are, how can you really see the difference in shopping with a 2 day difference? Let’s first break down these two big days in American retail.

Isn’t a black Friday a bad day?

The term, “Black Friday” originally, had no connections to shopping or whatsoever at all. During the late 1920’s, the Friday after Thanksgiving gave the folks the hardest time in the streets due to the very heavy traffic. I think that the very heavy traffic was due to a millions of people lining up to shop and that people are going back to work after a day of rest. Since this day was officially recognized, retailers traditionally launch mall-wide sales with prices dropping off for as low as 70%. Now, who wouldn’t shop?

Cyber Monday’s roots

Cyber Monday, on the other hand,was coined just two years ago by an online retail organization due to a report that online sales significantly increased (77% to be exact) during that Monday following Thanksgiving weekend. Well, I guess the numbers really justified the branding. And just like Black Friday, it has become a young tradition for online merchants to give put discounts during this day.

What’s the difference?

Yes, what difference does it make when you go shopping at a brick and mortar store and through your computer? Well, the difference depends on your preferences.

If you’re the type who doesn’t like marching into the store at 5 in the morning to grab your must have items, then it is ideal for you to shop at Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is also perfect for those who are still glued to their beds after the stress of preparing for Thanksgiving.

But if you’re the type who wants to be physically challenged by the thrill of getting the best buys at the retail store, then you’re a Black Friday consumer.

Which day offers better discounts?

Actually, when you shop during either Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the drop-down rates are basically the same. As I’ve mentioned, physical stores offer to at least a 70% drop off, while online merchants give out not only discounts but also coupons serving as “reserved discounts” which shoppers can use a few days before Christmas. When you shop during Black Friday, you can immediately bring home the item, zero shipping fees for that. If you buy online during Cyber Monday, you’ll have to wait a few days but can get items that are not on sale in the department store but are 50% off online. Also, during this time of the year, online merchants cut off the shipping fee as an added twist.

At the end, I say that it is entirely up to you when to shop after Thanksgiving. Depends really on where you are comfortable. Whenever you shop, you’ll still be spending, that’s inevitable. Keep in your mind this money saving tip I have learned from my mom who single-handedly raised me by working three jobs, Spend first on what you need then go for the the gold.