Holiday Sales: What To Buy on Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

The holidays are right around the corner, and that means you’ll be hearing about two sales a lot: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These huge deal days have blurred together in the minds of some shoppers, but they aren’t carbon copies of one another. Something marked down on Black Friday may be even cheaper on Cyber Monday — and vice versa.
So, what should you buy at each sale? We’ve rounded up tips to help you get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here’s what you need to know about the two sales that bookend the Thanksgiving weekend.

What Is Black Friday?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has ushered in the start of the holiday shopping season for decades. It’s synonymous with doorbuster deals. In recent years, it’s expanded beyond one day. So, shoppers can score “Black Friday” deals throughout November.
It’s also expanded from an in-store event to a dual in-store/online sale. That means shoppers have more opportunities to save. According to SpendMeNot, 155 million Americans shopped during Black Friday last year, and 88 million of them bought something online.

What Is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday was coined in 2005 by the Nation Retail Federation to promote online shopping, according to HowStuffWorks. Since then, Cyber Monday has become the biggest online shopping day of the year. It’s always the Monday after Thanksgiving, although many retailers now extend Cyber Monday to Cyber Week.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday seem similar, savvy shoppers know that it’s better to buy certain items at one sale over the other. So, what should you buy on Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday? Let’s break it down — and take a look at even more savings opportunities to have on your radar during the holiday season.

Electronics Are Black Friday Bargains

If you’ve got any big-ticket electronics on your shopping list, then Black Friday is likely the better day to make the purchase. That’s because it’s traditionally a fantastic opportunity to score deep discounts on pricey electronics like TVs and gaming consoles at big-box stores.
Consumer Reports says TVs, in particular, are smart Black Friday purchases. The source says TVs are predicted to be discounted by 19% on average, which is up from 11% last year. So, it could be an opportune time to upgrade your TV even if you don’t get a rock-bottom doorbuster deal.

Get Appliances for Less on Black Friday

Much like big-ticket electronics, big-ticket appliances are another category to buy on Black Friday. Check the appliance section at department and warehouse stores if your home needs a new refrigerator, dryer, or other major appliance.
Countertop appliances are also Black Friday classics. Yahoo! Finance says a lot of retailers offer doorbuster deals on coffee makers, blenders, etc. And some stores even offer rebates that make your new countertop appliances free. So, Black Friday’s the day to score appliance deals.

Save on Toys During Black Friday

If you’re shopping for little ones this holiday season, then you’ll want to circle Black Friday for toy deals. While Cyber Monday is also likely to have toy deals, the most popular toys can sell out by the end of Black Friday.
That makes waiting until Cyber Monday a gamble. A lot of retailers sprinkle Black Friday deals throughout November, so anyone shopping for kids will want to keep an eye out for discounts on trending toys that might sell out.

Clothing and Beauty Deals Abound on Cyber Monday

Fashion retailers are known for site-wide discounts on Cyber Monday. For example, the websites of retailers like J.Crew, Gap, and Old Navy typically offer a promo code that slashes 30% to 60% off the price of everything in your shopping cart.
Cyber Monday is also a good time to nab beauty products for less. Instead of site-wide sales, both Ulta and Sephora usually take up to 50% off select items. Additionally, they’re known for offering an array of free gifts with qualifying purchases.

Snag Cyber Monday Deals on Tech

Even though Black Friday will surely have tech deals, NBC News says, “you’re likely safe — and possibly even better off — waiting until Cyber Monday.” TVs are classic Black Friday doorbusters, but smaller tech devices like laptops and tablets are Cyber Monday mainstays. agrees that we’ll see Black Friday’s computer deals “repeated (or slightly improved) on Cyber Monday when eBay, Newegg and Amazon target tech shoppers.” Additionally, the source says tech accessories like headphones will be marked down.

Score Deals After Christmas, Too

There are also certain things that are better to hold off on until after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For example, unsold holiday merchandise gets seriously discounted after Christmas. So, it’s a good time to replace burned-out holiday lights and upgrade artificial Christmas trees. You can save 50% to 90% by buying after Christmas instead of next year.
Right around the new year is also a prime time to purchase exercise equipment. Since fitness goals are typically popular New Year’s resolutions, stores often compete with one another for business. That makes it a prime time to nab ellipticals, treadmills, and exercise bikes for less. It can also be an opportunity to snag a good deal on a gym membership.

And Don’t Forget About Small Business Saturday

In between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there’s another shopping event to keep in mind: Small Business Saturday. While participating local shops don’t usually give rock-bottom discounts, many run special offers like giveaways and select discounts.
And check to see if you can earn credit card rewards for shopping locally on Small Business Saturday. American Express, in particular, supports the event. As a result, Small Business Saturday can be a win-win — local shops get an influx of sales, and shoppers get deals.

The Bottom Line

Having a game plan can help you make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead of buying everything on your shopping list — tech, makeup, toys, etc. — on the same day, use some strategy to figure out the perfect timing for each item. Shopping with intention is the key to maximizing both savings opportunities.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both deal bonanzas, but different types of products are at their lowest prices during each sale. Generally, it’s smart to snap up TVs, gaming consoles, appliances, and toys on Black Friday. Then turn your attention to laptops, tech accessories, clothing, and beauty goods on Cyber Monday.