The biggest online shopping day of the year keeps getting bigger. Cyber Monday is a shopping phenomenon for the Monday after Thanksgiving. Falling between November 26th and December 2nd each year, it takes place four days after US Thanksgiving.

Created by retailers to boost online sales, Cyber Monday was first coined by the National Retail Federation in a press release back in November 2005. Since then, the concept has been used by online retailers all over the world. On Black Friday, online sales increase but many people are still in favor of in-store shopping. However, on Cyber Monday, shoppers are all about online purchases. Of course, holiday shopping is different this year due to coronavirus. 

Rise of Cyber Monday

2020 marks the 15th anniversary of the Cyber Monday holiday.

Cyber Monday’s recent growth has been particularly impressive. The Monday after Thanksgiving has been a popular online shopping day since the turn of the 21st century. When and where did Cyber Monday become a great day to save on holiday gift shopping?

Cyber Monday was established in 2005, coined by the National Retail Federation in a press release with the headline “‘Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year,” after the group noticed a significant uptick in online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Despite being a relatively new phenomenon, Cyber Monday has steadily grown year on year and is beginning to outdo the traditional Black Friday event, which has been around for decades. Cyber Monday is particularly suited to those who are visiting family over Thanksgiving and want to make the best of the holiday discounts without lugging the shopping home with them.

Holiday sales now begin as early as mid-October, especially with the introduction of Amazon Prime Day, which is widely considered the unofficial kick-off of the holiday shopping season. Plus, the coronavirus pandemic has made it much less safe to gather in stores, forcing retailers to give up in-person doorbusters in favor of online deals. 

Last year, Cyber Monday broke online sales records with a total of $9.4 billion in sales, an increase of 19% from 2018.

Cyber Monday vs Black Friday: The Real Difference

The five-day holiday shopping extravaganza that spans Thursday to Monday, are two of the biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Though Cyber Monday is specifically for online shopping, the reality is that online retailers offer discounts on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The actual date shifts every year, with this year’s Black Friday date falling on November 27. Despite this, in 2020 the biggest retailers began promoting deals early in the first week of November.

Aside from the dates, the traditional difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is that Black Friday deals are found online and in physical stores, whereas Cyber Monday is purely dedicated to online discounts. Black Friday is key for purchasing big-ticket items, which often involve some forward planning. That’s why you’ll see people camping outside electronic stores to make sure they get the specific tablet they want. There are often great deals on TVs, laptops, appliances, and power tools. Meanwhile, Cyber Monday is associated with smaller items, gifts, and impulse buys. 

How to Prepare for Cyber Monday?

The best way to do this is to make yourself a wishlist. It doesn’t have to be retailer-specific. You should just have an idea of what you’re looking to buy during this period of the most amazing shopping experience. Make a list of every type of device you want, and be prepared to buy a deal fast without waiting for a hypothetical better price down the line. It may sell out while you’re waiting to save those few extra bucks – especially true the further we move from Black Friday into Cyber Monday and beyond.

Most of the big retailers will publish their newest deals at midnight every day, especially on Cyber Monday itself, while retailers like Amazon have lightning deals pages where you can wait for certain products to go on sale with your finger poised over the “Add to Cart” button.

Getting The Most Out Of Cyber Monday

This entire holiday weekend provides a great opportunity to save money on the items you want. 

The most important aspect of preparing for Cyber Monday is knowing where the best deals are located. To do so, you can visit several websites and forums that are dedicated to helping customers find the top discounts and promotions.

There are a few things you can do to maximize savings. Here are some Cyber Monday shopping tips to find the best deals.

1. Plan your shopping early 

Put together a shopping list well before Cyber Monday. This gives you time to research the typical prices online, to differentiate a good deal from advertising hype. A shopping list will also keep you focused and less likely to be drawn off-track by good deals on things that you do not really need.

In order to make sure you find the best prices on everything you want, it’s a good idea to check each website the week before Cyber Monday. Most businesses will announce their prices well ahead of time. This way, you can maximize your savings and minimize the time needed to conduct research.

It is fine to explore for good deals outside of your shopping list, but take care of your shopping list first – and avoid the temptation to spend your Cyber Monday savings and then some.

2. Sign up for store newsletters

Nobody likes to get thousands of emails in their inbox, but if you sign up for the mailing lists or newsletters of stores you frequent and appreciate, chances are you get plenty of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and discounts.

3. Look for discount coupons and promotions

Cyber Monday has become a large enough phenomenon for many websites. These sites collect ads from multiple vendors and act as a clearinghouse for deals. You can find similar sites that allow for comparison-shopping or setting alerts with various retailers when the price of an item is at or below your desired target. Coupons are a tried-and-tested savings technique, and they can rack up some huge discounts on Cyber Monday deals. Some retailers allow you to ‘stack’ coupons—using more than one coupon on a single offer—meaning you can create massive savings while still getting the items you need. Look out for coupons from both the product manufacturer as well as the store you’re shopping at and put them together for the best deal.

You should also consider coupon apps that let you browse coupons and apply discount codes at checkout when shopping online. If you’re shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, there are bound to be various coupons you can use ― many of which are stackable. Use coupon-tracking and cashback tools such as Honey and Rakuten to find them.

Discounts will make or break your Cyber Monday strategy. Price discounts are most appealing to consumers, followed by free shipping and free gifts. Consider markdowns or, if you need to move some stock, offer product bundles, free gifts, and buy-one-get-one offers.

4. Track online prices and compare the deals

One of the best Cyber Monday strategies to guarantee you’re finding the right prices is to compare them online. While many companies claim to offer the “best discount” on a specific item, they’re rarely the only ones with a sale going on. Instead of combing through multiple competing sites to find the best price, you can visit a comparison site. This way, you can view the same item from different providers and find the absolute best deals all in one place. 

You can get the most out of holiday deals by watching online pricing between competing retail outlets. While printed ads boast particular pricing, digital ads are more flexible. So, retailers can respond to competitors’ pricing as their own sales wax and wane, according to Paige. “Outlets like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Macy’s will have online-only pricing for some items that are driven by real-time data,” she said. Use price tracking tools such as SlickDeals and CamelCamelCamel (which tracks Amazon prices specifically) to keep an eye on the best deals.

5. Check your credit card for offers

Another great way to save money on Cyber Monday is to check your credit card for any exclusive offers. Many credit card providers offer special discounts if you shop through their online portal, or meet certain conditions. These discounts generally don’t interfere with other coupons and sales. This means you could combine this with coupon stacking and achieve even bigger discounts during your holiday shopping.

Cyber Monday Deals Around the World

The US might be the only country in the world that celebrates Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. But it’s not the only country in the world to host a massive online shopping sale around that time. Many other countries like Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Indian, and China also offer a similar experience for Cyber Monday. In recent years, the Cyber Monday shopping bonanza has become increasingly popular, with more people turning to online shopping to benefit maximum. 

Final Words

Cyber Monday remains the busiest e-commerce day of the holiday shopping season, but its outsize public image far exceeds its actual impact on overall holiday sales. After all, it’s only one day. When Thanksgiving falls early, the holiday shopping season has more than 30 days just like it. As all-digital platforms like Amazon embrace the irreplaceable in-store shopping experience even as they double down on digital subscription services like Amazon Prime, physical retailers like Target are investing huge sums in e-commerce innovation.

Amid the pandemic, how did you make the most out of online shopping? Let us know in the comments section.