Hanging sale tags display text for “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.”

What Is the Difference Between Cyber Monday and Black Friday?

Updated on October 31, 2023

Updated Oct 31, 2023 - Cyber Monday and Black Friday are sales events held shortly before and after Thanksgiving. Retailers offer significant deals on many products. As such, these are popular days for shopping. While similar, there are minor differences between the events.

Cyber Monday and Black Friday are two very similar events — to the point of overlapping much of the time — within a short time period. Therefore, it may be easiest to imagine these holidays as one big weekend. Do not think about them as two separate events, just a larger time period when different savings can pop up — but also vanish. 

Some deals will appear on Black Friday and get gradually better as Cyber Monday approaches, while others will sell out as soon as they appear on Black Friday. Some retailers have extended the savings to a whole week — completely blurring the line between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now, it is no longer about one day of savings when online shopping is the new norm, and we are bombarded with deals throughout the holiday season.

What Is Black Friday?

Black Friday is celebrated primarily in the United States and takes place on the Friday following Thanksgiving. Many retailers offer significant discounts on items on this day, and therefore Black Friday is a popular day for shopping. 

Origins of Retail’s Black Friday

The term Black Friday first appeared in the public lexicon about an event that has nothing to do with Thanksgiving or the following days. For over a century, Black Friday was a reference to the disastrous stock market collapse in 1869, with the word “black” building a negative or mournful connotation in this context. 

However, the term Black Friday, as we know it today, can be traced to the 1950s when frustrated police and business leaders continued to use the term in a negative light for the popular holiday shopping that took place after Thanksgiving. Historically, employees took the day after Thanksgiving off to extend their weekends. This would affect the productivity of most businesses, their bottom line, and as a result, the economy. Being a popular day to call out of work and to shop, the day often interfered with business and coincided with disruptive traffic.

However, in the 1980s, this term took on new meaning. Retailers found that the large number of shoppers on this day often took their annual revenue out of the “red” (indicating losses) and into the “black” (indicating profit). This prompted a rebrand for the term “Black Friday,” as well as a tradition of annual deals on this popular shopping day to further support profits. 

What To Buy on Black Friday

Some types of products offer better deals and opportunities than others when it comes to Black Friday shopping. These products include:

  • High-price electronics like gaming laptops, Macbooks, and tablets;

  • Small appliances like blenders and toasters;

  • Smart home technologies like home security gadgets and smart thermostats;

  • Gaming consoles like Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo;

  • Wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers;

  • Home Goods like towels and decor

Meanwhile, you should be wary of “doorbuster” deals that often feature cheap materials or hidden fees.

What Is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday takes place on the Monday following Thanksgiving. Many online retailers offer substantial discounts on a variety of items on this day, and therefore, it is a popular day for online shopping. 

Origins of Cyber Monday

Following a similar trend to Black Friday, online shopping became increasingly popular in the days following Thanksgiving as e-commerce became more common. In the 2000s, retailers began to notice that the Monday following Thanksgiving was particularly notable for online shopping traffic. As such, marketers built off of the idea of Black Friday and essentially extended the popular shopping weekend by popularizing Cyber Monday. 

What To Buy on Cyber Monday

Similar to Black Friday, you should be strategic about what products you buy on Cyber Monday. Products that are typically a good bet include:

Many of these are similar to products that are beneficial to buy on Black Friday. As such, do research beforehand to compare the deals available on each respective day to determine which offers better options

Does Cyber Monday or Black Friday Have Better Deals?

Although both these days offer great deals, they are in such proximity to one another that it can be confusing which one offers better deals. The truth is: different deals will appear on different days, so the best strategy is to know exactly what you want to buy and get an idea about standard pricing beforehand.

Tips for Shopping on Cyber Monday and Black Friday

If you find a great discount for an item you are looking for, first consider whether you actually need it. Then, you should assess the money you have apportioned for Cyber Monday and Black Friday shopping to determine whether the expense is worthwhile. Further steps you can take to ensure that you are making the most of Cyber Monday and Black Friday shopping include:

  • Create a shopping list organized by priority.

  • Be aware of return policies.

  • Research shipping policies and fees.

  • Compare deals from multiple retailers and websites.

  • Research deals from previous years to inform your shopping list.

  • Follow your preferred retailers on social media for information and updates.

  • Build a spreadsheet to keep information organized.

  • Reject add-ons and upsells that you do not need.

  • Be mindful of personal security related to website security and potential exposure of sensitive information.

Bear in mind that if you are shopping with traditional retailers, most deals you see on Black Friday will not necessarily get better by Cyber Monday. As such, it may be best to jump on deals as they become available.

Cyber Monday and Black Friday Deals on Apple Products

Cyber Monday and Black Friday are great opportunities to get a deal on quality tech brands like Apple. However, you should know what you are doing before you charge forward.

Does Apple Do Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Almost all of the best Apple Black Friday deals come from third-party retailers. Apple does hold a small sale on these days, but the discounts are not particularly substantial. Discounts through refurbished tech websites are typically still your best bet for finding a good deal.

Should I Wait for the Cyber Monday Apple Deals?

There is really no need to wait for Cyber Monday to score a great deal on Apple devices. With Cyber Monday essentially being a continuation of Black Friday sales anyway, the deals are not going to be that different from Black Friday deals on Apple devices. If anything, the evolution of Black Friday has created deals throughout November. Apple products will not be an exception.

Miguel G.

Written by Miguel G.Sr. Tech Copywriter (US)

Miguel is always looking for new ways to provide unique perspective on popular tech and has taken his writing to the refurbished industry to promote sustainability. Outside of creating content, you might find him travelling the globe, coaching a fitness class, or cheering on his favorite sports teams (Go Dolphins!)

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