Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: What to Buy Each Day

Most electronics are better to buy on Thanksgiving, but leave laptops for Black Friday and TVs for Cyber Monday.
Black Friday shopping

Black Friday has long been regarded as the best shopping day of the year, boasting 24 hours of can't-miss deals. But is it really the winner when it comes to holiday shopping?

For many product categories, the answer is no.

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Thanksgiving Is Likely Your Best Bet

With the "Black Friday creep" growing every year, notable offers can pop up at any time during November. But if you only want to shop one day, Thanksgiving tends to be the best one.

Consider our data from last year: We posted 31% more of our top-tier, Editors' Choice deals on Thanksgiving than on Black Friday. Turkey Day beat out Cyber Monday, too — but not by much. In 2017, Thanksgiving had about 3% more Editors' Choice deals than Cyber Monday.

Last year, we posted 31% more Editors' Choice deals on Thanksgiving than on Black Friday.

That said, we should note that even though Thanksgiving has more deals that we'd classify as the "best of the best," not all of these are better for you. Your top shopping day will largely depend on the specific items you want to purchase, whether that's headphones or hotel stays. You could find a better deal on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

To help you figure out your best time to shop, we delved into last year's data from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. The chart below gives our estimates of which day will have the best deals for a wide variety of product categories.

Black Friday Infographic

Remember: These trends are based on the 2017 Black Friday season and are not fixed rules. Trends change from year to year, so it's best to keep an eye on all the deals throughout the Black Friday season.

Readers, what will you be looking to buy around Black Friday? Do you prefer shopping on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday? Let us know in the comments below!

Senior Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015. Her work has been featured on MSN, Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, GoBankingRates, and Moneyish. In her spare time, she enjoys baking sweets, reading thrillers, and listening to an ever-growing list of podcasts.
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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I'm looking for a smartwatch/ fitbit hoping for a good deal
michael bonebright (DealNews)

You bring up a good point!

First off, here's what our other article says: "Okay, don't get us wrong — you can find fantastic deals on games during Black Friday. But those will continue nonstop from Cyber Monday all the way through early January. We posted about 55% more Editors' Choice deals on video games during December than we did during Black Friday week last year, so don't jump on ho-hum discounts."

The purpose of THIS article is to give you a sense of which broad categories see the most/best discounts on these three days ONLY. So if you're shopping for something specific (like video games), and you don't want to spend a bunch of time glued to your computer, then the chart above tells you which day is your best bet overall. In this case, we know we'll see a big crop of great gaming deals on Thanksgiving.

That said... December is also a great time to shop for games! Don't feel like you have to settle for a ho-hum deal.
The other dealnews article on what not to buy on Black Friday suggested waiting on video games and implied to wait until Cyber Monday. Though, it was also unclear on when exactly to buy since it said sales go on through to the end of the year. In any case, it is inconsistent with this article.
Holiday Tragedy
Lots of people work on Thanksgiving, Gas Stations, Convenience stores, Drug stores, Hospitals, Restaurants, IT people that support online website shopping (sorry not as automated as you think)...the list goes on. I won't shop on Thanksgiving, but not so sure why so many people get their shorts all bunched up by the fact that some stores like to open...
Trag, Im right there with you, but the unfortunate thing is that retail employees snatch these hours up because these shifts pay more and they'll have more money for Christmas, so it's hardly oppressive at this point. I think it's mostly disgusting that we commercialize every single holiday and make it about buying stuff and that most everybody (consumers, employees, businesses, etc.) goes along with it so easily.
I will not shop on Thanksgiving at all. People should have the day off. By "shop" I mean actually buy things. I'll browse ads, and I have no problem with placing on-line orders, since those systems are automated. But any shopping that requires interacting with an employed human is, in my opinion, oppressive on Thanksgiving Day.

I prefer shopping on Cyber Monday, mainly because traditionally, that shopping was mostly on-line. That was the whole nature of Cyber Monday. Shop from work on Monday. That avoids all the crowds and driving.