Get Ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Whether you’ve moved to America recently or you’ve been living in the United States for many years, you’ll have heard the terms Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you haven’t, then this is your guide to understanding these two very American days and how you can benefit from them. If you’re familiar with them, then here are some tips for making the most of it.

Black Friday takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year it will be November 25. Cyber Monday takes place on the following Monday, which will be November 28.

Black Friday

Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas shopping season and many major retailers cut their prices significantly heading into the shopping season. Black Friday might be the single day in the year where you can buy luxury items for a fraction of their cost.

Although the day itself is the most significant, many retailers start their sales on Thanksgiving and they continue on throughout the weekend. This means that many shoppers sacrifice their Thanksgiving in order to face the crowds in the shops.

Understandably, Black Friday is also a day of absolute madness in the shops. Many people give up the peace and quiet of Thanksgiving to head out and queue for when the shops open on the following morning – the shops that only start their sales on Black Friday itself.

Shoppers are also known to have become very aggressive and adamant in their quest to grab items off the shelves before others can get to it. Retailers are flooded with stampedes of people seemingly blindly grabbing TV’s and other electronics, shoving them in trolleys and proceeding to the next marked down product.

According to The Balance, 74.2 million people shopped on Black Friday in 2015. These numbers have actually decreased in the last few years, but they are by no means insignificant.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year. It followed in the footsteps of Black Friday. Cyber Monday is very much the same, but for online shopping.

While Black Friday usually includes major retailers and focus heavily on technology, Cyber Monday gives a chance for small retailers, who can’t compete with the giants on Black Friday. While Black Friday offerings centre on technology and gadgets, Cyber Monday has a stronger focus on fashion retail, including clothes and shoes. While Black Friday offer deals online and in store, Cyber Monday is an online-only shopping day.

Cyber Monday also holds much more positive connotations for shoppers than Black Friday. The term Cyber Monday was only coined in 2005, but the practice has been around much longer. It developed very organically. People came back from their Thanksgiving weekends and either continued shopping for gifts and personal items online, finding the things that were out of stock or those they didn’t get around to purchasing. It was also a way to prolong their holiday instead of jumping back into office responsibilities.

Black Friday online

In recent years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday started merging in a way. Those not willing to brave the chaos of Black Friday can shop online at certain retailers. Many large retailers like Amazon and Walmart have Black Friday sales on their online shopping platforms as well. These sales will typically kick off at midnight on Thanksgiving and in 2013, the vast majority of online purchases were made only a few minutes after midnight. The website, blackfriday.com was created in order to bring all the online deals to one place.

Shopping at work

Many employees have gotten into trouble in the past for using their office resources to do online shopping. Some companies overlook this, while others come down hard on employees found shopping during their workday. It all depends on the employer, so if you have only recently acquired a job in the United States and you’re working on a better future here, then you might want to be careful.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the best Cyber Monday deals sell out during office hours and the deals posted after the workday is over, are much less exciting. These deals are, however, usually posted at midnight on Sunday night. This means that those not willing to sacrifice their work can stay up later to fit in some shopping before bed, or get up early to shop before they go to work.

Worth it for the savings

It may seem like a mad rush and a massive stress, but these two shopping days might make your Christmas shopping list significantly smaller. If you’re in the market for new electronics, or your family is, then Black Friday really does offer incredible savings.

If you’re after smaller, fashion and lifestyle brands for the women in your life, Cyber Monday is the way to go – think Victoria’s Secret, Steve Madden, Ralph Lauren, Madewell, Lancome, Kate Somerville, Giorgio Armani, All Saints, and Adidas. It might be the perfect opportunity to buy something special for a family member, a husband or a wife who has played an important role in your journey thus far.

Another genre of shopping that is often overlooked but something that you might really benefit from, is travel. Cyber Monday offers a host of travel deals like weekends away and short breaks. Perhaps you can convince your family back home to meet you halfway!