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Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday: What to Buy When

Posted on 11/21/2012 11:15 EST
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Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Is there really a difference?

Cyber Monday is a marketing tool created in 2005 by online retailers. Making the day following the long Thanksgiving weekend a retail holiday was an attempt to sustain the hype of Black Friday sales a bit longer. Mission accomplished.


Photo by flickr.com/33482346@N05

At first, Cyber Monday was a way for retailers to differentiate between in-store Black Friday sales and online deals, but that's no longer the case. Most retailers offer the same bargains on both days and Black Friday sales are now breaking out up to two weeks before the official day.

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Will in-store Black Friday deals eventually go the way of the dodo bird? Do you really want to wake up at 4 a.m. to score those can't-pass-up deals? DealNews.com reports that 70 percent of the in-store deals its researchers found at Target and Walmart were also available online at comparable prices or even cheaper. Many online sale items also included free shipping with a minimum order.

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Now that Black Friday has crossed over to the online universe, what practical differences remain between the two days? Fashionistas may do better waiting until Cyber Monday when more apparel choices pop up but tech addicts will find less of a selection on budget electronics. In general, shoppers are more likely to find discounts on luxury brands on Cyber Monday because the Black Friday tradition is wrapped up in blow-out sales on lower end merchandise. According to Dan de Grandpre, editor in chief of Deal News, smaller brands generally don't offer big promotions on Black Friday because mega-retailers, such as Target and Walmart, drown them out.

Bottom line: From the consumer's perspective, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are converging. The range of discounts offered on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are essentially identical, ranging from 30 percent to 75 percent, reports CNBC. Deal News further notes that Black Friday boasted only five percent more deals than Cyber Monday in 2010.

Regardless how many "lowest price" or "best deal" advertisements call to you for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, such inducements are not always the best deals. Below is a list of items that are worth passing up on these days of shopping mayhem.


Photo by flickr.com/jonbradbury

Toys.

You're more likely to get the best buy on toys two weeks before Christmas. (Ditto for holiday decorations.) But remember, the longer you wait the smaller the selection will be.

Winter Wear.

Seasonal items are always cheaper out of season. Winter wear will be heavily discounted in January.

High-end Electronics.

Black Friday sales generally target lower-end electronics while prices on upmarket items are more likely to fall closer to Christmas, according to Bundle.com.

HDTVs.

A spokesman for Fat Wallet says some HDTVs bearing the label of lesser-known brands are very cheap on Black Friday and Cyber Monday but better deals overall burst forth in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.

Digital Cameras.

Forget those holiday family pictures and wait until mid-winter to buy a digital camera. The models currently available will soon be replaced by 2013 versions and Deal News recommends holding off until retailers are desperate to sell off the old stock.

Jewelry and Watches.

Black Friday deals on jewelry and watches are similar to discounts offered around Valentine's Day. For watches, Deal New suggests waiting until spring and summer months.

Final Tip.

Don't rush to shop yourself silly on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. There are other big-time shopping days still ahead. Super Saturday falls just before Christmas, and Green Monday follows a week after Cyber Monday. Pace yourself; the budget is only so big.

by Alyssa Goldman (Google+ Profile)


Filed in: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Shopping
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