7 Ways Cyber Monday Is Different From Black Friday

With fewer ads and doorbusters, Cyber Monday can feel like Black Friday's less-awesome sibling. But last year it raked in $6.59 billion in sales.
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Cyber Monday keyboard

Black Friday gets a lot of love from consumers, but Cyber Monday reigns when it comes to online shopping. So while you're planning your strategy for all those Black Friday deals, take a moment to read up on what makes Cyber Monday so special.

What Is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is an online shopping day that falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It's often written off as Black Friday's less-awesome sibling, but that's unfair.

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Why the unfairness? Well, in the Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday battle, the latter was actually a clear winner until 2016. It had been consistently yielding more top-shelf, Editors' Choice deals than Black Friday. Last year, Cyber Monday did boast more Editors' Choice picks than Black Friday, although Thanksgiving beat out both days, having a higher number of deals we'd consider the "best of the best." Still, Cyber Monday has its strengths, and it's a shopping holiday you shouldn't miss.

7 Ways Cyber Monday Is Different From Black Friday

Cyber Monday Has Happier Origins

Pinning down the origin of the term "Black Friday" isn't easy. But its association with day-after-Thanksgiving shopping began in 1960s Philadelphia, said Ben Zimmer, former executive editor of Vocabulary.com, in The New York Times. According to the Times article, "the local police took to calling the day Black Friday because they had to deal with bad traffic and other miseries connected to the throngs of shoppers heading for the stores."

The term Cyber Monday was coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005, decades after Black Friday originated.

Black Friday didn't come into its more widespread, awesome reputation until the 1980s. But Cyber Monday's origins are much more recent; the term was coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005 to describe the Monday after Thanksgiving, when people shopped online after returning to work or school. And nothing makes anyone happier than goofing off at work!

There's Less Time to Prepare

Before you've even thought about where to find the best deal on a turkey, you're no doubt aware of the upcoming Black Friday sales. This is because retailers (and intrepid deal sites) have been posting Black Friday ads far in advance, sometimes as early as the beginning of October. However, we see comparatively fewer Cyber Monday ads — possibly because there are only a few days between Black Friday and the Monday after. Additionally, retailers probably figure that shoppers will check out those sales anyway.

In-Store Doorbusters Disappear

Along with fewer ads comes a dearth of doorbusters. Cyber Monday is an online shopping holiday; there's no reason to go knocking down the doors of your local Best Buy.

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

Of course, "doorbusters" in general are dying out. In-store shoppers have long been frustrated by the concept of low-stock items that sell out in seconds, and retailers are listening. Nowadays, it's not uncommon to find so-called doorbusters listed online during Black Friday.

Many Sales Are Over in Less Than 24 Hours

Perhaps one of Cyber Monday's most defining characteristics is the ephemerality of its deals — especially compared with Thanksgiving and Black Friday. In 2017, 25% of the deals we posted on Cyber Monday were over by the end of the day. Only about 16% of Black Friday deals, and 12% of Thanksgiving deals, ended that quickly last year.

Similarly, Cyber Monday tends to have more short-lived offers, like Amazon's Lightning Deals. So it's best to stay glued to your screen — whether it's a laptop, phone, or tablet — as the deals will be fast and furious.

Cyber Monday Has the Most Online Sales

We're not talking about coupons here; by "sales," we actually mean goods sold. Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year, and last year it hit a record $6.59 billion in online sales, compared to $5.03 billion for Black Friday. That's up more than 16% from Cyber Monday 2016. Unsurprisingly, part of what pushed it over the brink was mobile shopping. Last year, mobile sales on Cyber Monday reached $2 billion for the first time.

Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year, and last year it hit a record $6.59 billion in online sales.

Different Stores Will Shine

While Black Friday will be dominated by deals from the usual suspects — Best Buy, Kohl's, etc. — Cyber Monday will see some less likely players shine. In the past, we've seen stores like Timberland and Lucky Brand offer truly fantastic deals, so don't be surprised if you come across unexpected finds.

Fashionistas Love Cyber Monday

The Black Friday season is like the Olympics, with different shopping events on each shopping holiday. Whereas Thanksgiving and Black Friday are better for most electronics, Cyber Monday frequently shines in soft goods.

Clothes and shoes are especially great buys, with retailers busting out Black Friday-beating coupons in many cases. And last year, we saw clothing and accessories deals from more retailers on Cyber Monday, compared to Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Beauty products are another oft-overlooked, but awesome, Cyber Monday category.

SEE ALSO: Black Friday Men's Clothing Predictions 2018

Should you not be the sartorial sort, you can always snag a TV, or shop for toys for the kids. Better yet, book a killer hotel deal on Cyber Monday.

So if you've been ignoring Cyber Monday, it's time to give this hardworking holiday another shot. With billions of dollars under its belt, this shopping extravaganza is here to stay!

Readers, what's on your shopping list for Cyber Monday? Let us know in the comments below!


Former Senior Staff Writer

Stephen has been writing for such national and regional publications as The Village Voice, Paste, The Agit Reader, and The Big Takeover for 20 years. He covered consumer electronics and technology for DealNews from 2013 to 2018.
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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1 comment
knicksfan
According to CNBC, the term Black Friday was used to term the day that the average retailer would get out of the red (deficit or loss ) and into the black (profit) for the sales year.