Does It Matter When You Shop on Cyber Monday?

Not as much as you might think. But if you want lightning deals, glue yourself to your computer screen. And keep in mind that many deals end at midnight today.
Cyber Monday shopping

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Cyber Monday is here! If you want to use your break time at work to hit the sales, you may be wondering exactly when you need to shop. (And whether a coffee break will be enough time to nab all of your holiday gifts.) Just how important is it to be online at just the right time on Cyber Monday?

As we learned, the exact time you're online doesn't matter as much as you might think.

How Quickly Do Deals Disappear?

To figure this out, we looked at data on sales that started on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday 2015. We checked when sales started and ended, looking for sales that lasted less than an hour as well as sales that lasted less than 24 hours.

But there's one thing to bear in mind: Amazon's quick-moving lightning deals (and other deals like them). While not all of them sell out instantly, particularly too-good-to-be-true offers are gone in a flash. These deals come and go too fast for us to record, and they aren't reflected in these numbers. Unfortunately, that makes them tough to plan for, too — Unless they are advertised beforehand, you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Cyber Monday Sales Are Now Live!

However, it's not all doorbusters and lightning deals. Of the sales we record, very few deals sell out in an hour or less:

  • Thanksgiving Day: 0.8% of sales over within an hour
  • Black Friday: 0.5% of sales over within an hour
  • Cyber Monday: 1.4% of sales over within an hour

If we look beyond the one hour window, 4% of deals expired within two hours, 6% of deals expired within three hours, 9% of deals expired within four hours, and 12% of deals expired within five hours.

And, in fact, many are available for a full 24 hours — or longer — before they're gone. But once again, Cyber Monday sales are more fleeting than on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

  • Thanksgiving Day: 26% of sales over within 24 hours
  • Black Friday: 36% of sales over within 24 hours
  • Cyber Monday: 61% of sales over within 24 hours

So whether you shop today for just a few minutes, or are glued to your screen all day, you can get deals. If you can't find any Cyber Monday shopping time at all? Many deals continue into the rest of the week, though not as many as on Thanksgiving or Black Friday.

When Do Deals Begin?

Last year, we found discounts spread pretty evenly throughout the day. The largest spike of new deals came at 2 pm ET, but that only accounted for 6% of the day's total deals — meaning there's no single good time to shop. You'll find deals launching at a steady pace from around 7 am to 8 pm.

SEE ALSO: 7 Ways Cyber Monday Is Different From Black Friday

When Do Deals End?

New deals roll out steadily throughout Cyber Monday, but when they end is more clear cut. In 2015, a full 53% of deals ended between 11 pm and midnight — and most of those at 11:59 pm. Even if you can't make time to check Cyber Monday deals all day, there are still a lot of deals left (but about to come to an end!) just before midnight. And remember, 49% of the deals that start on Cyber Monday will last more than 24 hours.

Who Has the Best Deals on Cyber Monday?

It's no surprise that massive online retailer Amazon is the leader on Cyber Monday sales, making up a solid 8% of the day's deals. Just behind them was Dell Home, accounting for 6% of the day's deals, and Target with 5%. But if your favorite store isn't on this list, don't worry: 35% of Black Friday and 34% of Thanksgiving Day deals are still happening by Cyber Monday.

Thirty-five percent of Black Friday and 34% of Thanksgiving Day deals are still happening by Cyber Monday.

If you're looking for deals that sell out quickly, last year they came from Dell Home (40%), Amazon (20%), B&H Photo Video (20%), HP (10%) and eBay (10%). But remember, Amazon is king of the lightning deal, and that's where you're most likely to find deals that sell out before they ever made it to our data.

When to Shop on Cyber Monday

While deals move faster on Cyber Monday than they do on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, the strategy to get the best deals is basically the same. Because deals begin and end at different times on each day, it's important to research in advance so you know when the item you want will be available. If it's in limited quantity, snag it immediately.

SEE ALSO: The Top 10 Stores for Cyber Monday Deals in 2016

If you want to snatch up those lightning deals, your plan will be to stay glued to your computer or mobile device. While we may see fast-moving deals elsewhere, your best bet is to watch Amazon's Deals page for the latest.

Getting one of these deals is all about being on the right page at the right time. If you miss a must-have deal, be sure to click to join the waitlist. This option will only appear when other shoppers have added the item to their cart but haven't checked out yet. So if they ultimately don't purchase the item, it will be available for shoppers on the waitlist.

If you're just browsing, check in online a few times during the day to see what's available. Do a last glance before midnight when most deals will expire.

Excited for Cyber Monday? Check out our Cyber Monday guides for the best advice, or subscribe to the DealNews Select Newsletter, download the DealNews apps, or read more buying advice.

Elizabeth Harper
Contributing Writer

Originally working in IT, Elizabeth now writes on tech, gaming, and general consumer issues. Her articles have appeared in USA Today, Time, AOL, PriceGrabber, and more. She has been one of DealNews' most regular contributors since 2013, researching everything from vacuums to renters insurance to help consumers.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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