We asked the experts if Black Friday or Cyber Monday is the better day to shop — and Cyber Monday has better deals overall

We asked the experts if Black Friday or Cyber Monday is the better day to shop — and Cyber Monday has better deals overall

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  • The two biggest shopping days of the year are finally here. But is Black Friday 2021 or Cyber Monday 2021 better for deals?
  • A solid rule of thumb is that Black Friday is a better time to buy newer, big-ticket items and shop in stores.
  • Cyber Monday is a better day to shop for tech deals and smaller gifts. You’ll also see slightly better online discounts.

For decades,


Black Friday

was the ultimate day for bargain shopping. But in the past few years,


Cyber Monday

has come to replace it as the biggest annual shopping event in the US.

Is Black Friday or Cyber Monday better for discount buyers? The short answer is that Cyber Monday has better deals overall — but it’s close.

What is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday comes three days after Black Friday — the Monday after, naturally — and revolves around online deals. This year, Cyber Monday is on November 29.

Generally speaking, tech products are more widely discounted than anything else on this day.

Cyber Monday is actually now even bigger than Black Friday — retail sales on Cyber Monday in 2020 soared to a record high of $10.8 billion online.

Is Cyber Monday better than Black Friday?

Historically, yes. However, we expect the difference between the two holidays to be negligible this year, especially with many retailers encouraging customers to shop early and online with expected supply chain issues.

In past years, we found there to be a few differences, and the line between the two deal days has blurred considerably, with many retailers offering the same deals throughout the whole weekend (and even before and after). For items you’re likely to buy once a year or less often, you’ll probably find better discounts on Black Friday. Anything you’d buy as a gift is likely to have better discounts on Cyber Monday.

That said, overall savings aren’t the only thing to consider. Different products receive better discounts on each day, and the deals that each retailer offers will vary.

“Black Friday equals big-ticket items,” said Steve Koenig, the vice president of research at the Consumer Technology Association. “With big deals on TVs, laptops, game consoles, and more during Black Friday week, many [people’s] purchases end up being for themselves or their own households.”

This year, we saw a lot of deals crop up weeks before Black Friday. Retailers are encouraging shoppers to shop early and online — a stark departure from previous years. Black Friday used to be characterized by long lines, crowded stores, and the mad rush for bargains, but that, of course, is impossible during the pandemic.

That said, shoppers can look forward to shopping for the very best deals without ever leaving their house, regardless of whether they choose to shop on Black Friday, on Cyber Monday, or right now.

When to shop Black Friday versus Cyber Monday

Shop Black Friday for major stores; shop Cyber Monday for secondhand buys 

“For Black Friday, look to the biggest retailers, the ones who can afford to have smaller margins,” said Janet Alvarez, the executive editor of the personal-finance publication Wise Bread. “Places like Walmart and Best Buy tend to offer the best deals on Black Friday.” The exception is Amazon, which tends to have better deals on Cyber Monday, as long as you’re a Prime member.

If you’re willing to buy products from resellers, Cyber Monday is a great time to shop on eBay. “You’ll find a lot of people reselling items they just purchased on Black Friday,” Alvarez said.

Shop Black Friday for this year’s products; shop Cyber Monday for older generations

“Latest-generation products tend to be cheaper on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday,” Alvarez said. “Cyber Monday is a terrific time for smart-home [devices], TVs, and consoles that are older.”

No matter when or where you shop, use a credit card with purchase protection

Especially if you’re buying something expensive like a laptop or TV, it’s best to use a credit card that offers purchase protection. If you pay with a card that offers this benefit and a covered item is stolen or damaged, you can receive reimbursement — much better than being out hundreds of dollars if something goes wrong.

Some of the top rewards credit cards offer this benefit. Coverage varies from card to card and is generally valid for up to 120 days after you purchase an item. Be sure to read the terms and conditions ahead of time so you’re familiar with any exclusions and caps on reimbursement.

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