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Black Friday or Cyber Monday?: When to shop for what deals and why

As online shopping becomes the default, you may be wondering about Black Friday or Cyber Monday and how they differ. Here's when to shop for what.


As online shopping becomes our default way of buying items, you may be wondering about Black Friday or Cyber Monday; how they differ and when you should buy what. After all, most retailers now offer doorbuster deals not just in their stores on Black Friday but also online.

And these deals are no longer limited to a single day. More retailers are touting Black Friday deals that last the whole month of November. Cyber Monday has essentially expanded into Cyber Week, taking up the entire week starting the Monday after Thanksgiving.

However, there are still a few differences when it comes to shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Black Friday or Cyber Monday infographic - Copy contained in main article. Not explicitly discussed in article: Spending on Black Friday 2019: $7.4 billion. Spending on Cyber Monday 2019: $9.4 billion. Cyber Monday spending increased to $10.8 billion in 2020.

Black Friday is for big ticket items

Black Friday deals tend to focus on the big stuff: furniture, appliances and other household items that you just don't buy all that often. If you need a new fridge, TV or rug, you may want to at least head to your local store's website if you aren't fully comfortable braving the in-person crowds.

For workers who have the day after Thanksgiving off but will have to spend Cyber Monday working, going to a store or a retailer's website on Black Friday might make more sense in terms of their schedules, as a fair number of Cyber Monday deals have time limits or can sell out quickly.

Cyber Monday focuses on personal tech

Cyber Monday often has the edge when it comes to deals on smaller, personal tech products and gifts you'd like to give during the holiday season. That's likely why Cyber Monday edges out Black Friday when it comes to spending. In 2019, Cyber Monday sales were $9.4 billion, compared to $7.4 billion for Black Friday. In 2020, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cyber Monday spending increased even further to $10.8 billion.

Cyber Monday 2021 will be your best bet if you're looking to buy a new smartphone, computer or other internet-enabled device this year. But that doesn't mean you should sleep on any Black Friday deals that hit your inbox, as retailers are continually merging the two formerly disparate shopping holidays. Generally speaking, there is a slight uptick in how big deals are from Friday to Monday after Thanksgiving, with sales that build over the weekend.

New tech products are ideal for post-Thanksgiving buys because they're so pricey, and Cyber Monday deals will give you the most bang for your buck. Keep an eye on your favorite tech retailers' sites and sign up for email alerts for deals.

Of course, whether you're doing your online shopping on Black Friday at 4 a.m. or Cyber Monday at noon, you need internet that works. Missing a doorbuster deal on an item you need, like a new smartphone or a gift for a family member that sells out in minutes, can either cost you hundreds of dollars or mean missing out entirely on an item. For fast, reliable internet that won't quit when you need it, consider a fiber connection like Ting Internet.

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