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

Thanksgiving tends to beat Black Friday and Cyber Monday in terms of deal numbers. But how will 2021 look?
Updated
Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on phone

Black Friday is heralded as one of the best shopping days of the year — if not the best — but is it really the day you should do all of your shopping?

Depending on the kinds of products you're looking for, the answer might be no. Read on to learn about the differences in deals on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Then browse our other Black Friday guides, so you'll be ready for whatever the shopping holiday brings.

Thanksgiving Wins Against Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Sort Of)

The Black Friday "creep" seems to spread more every year, and 2021 is no different; in fact, it seems to have taken a page from 2020's playbook with its early sales. In a typical year, all of November can play host to Black Friday–branded deals. But Thanksgiving tends to offer the best chance to save.

We listed the most Staff Pick deals on Cyber Monday in 2020, even though Thanksgiving had more offers overall.

For the past several years, we've listed more Thanksgiving deals than offers for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. While all three days may have similar numbers of Staff Picks — our offers that are the "best of the best" — we listed the most Staff Picks on Cyber Monday in 2020. That's despite Thanksgiving having more deals overall.

So how will 2021 compare? Considering Kohl's, Target, and several other big stores will be closed on Thanksgiving, it might seem like there won't be enough deals for Thanksgiving to pull ahead again. As we learned last year, though, Turkey Day had a huge amount of savings opportunities — they were just primarily available online.

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday vs. Thanksgiving Deals

We want to help you craft a savvy shopping plan, so we took a deep dive into our data from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday 2020. Check out the infographic below for the best days to shop specific product categories.

Keep in mind that these trends are based on the 2020 Black Friday season, so they're not fixed rules. Given that Black Friday 2021 is already shaping up to look very different than previous years' Black Fridays, some — or all — of the best categories to buy each day could be upended. Trends change year to year anyway, so the best thing you can do is keep an eye on all the deals throughout the Black Friday season.

Ready to start planning? Check out all our Black Friday 2021 deal previews!


Senior Staff Writer/Spokesperson

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
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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