Bargain hunting this Thanksgiving? Wait until Monday at your peril

The lure of the deal isn’t what it used to be.
The lure of the deal isn’t what it used to be.
Image: Reuters/Jeff Haynes
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The Monday after Thanksgiving in the US, known as Cyber Monday, is traditionally the best day for shopping electronically. But it turns out that Black Friday is a better day for shopping for electronics.

Over the last two years, bargain hunters caught the best deals on laptops, smartphones, kitchen gadgets and data storage on Black Friday, according to Deal News. Even iPhones, which rarely qualify for Thanksgiving weekend discounts, have only ever been on offer on Black Friday.

Although Cyber Monday usually throws up better deals for clothes and shoes shopping, this year, clutching your fashion cash for those extra two days could be a mistake.

In 2012, sales on Cyber Monday grew almost 17% from the year before, compared to a 2% sales decline on Black Friday—perhaps because these sales leaked into Thursday due to stores opening earlier—but were still dwarfed by Friday’s $11.2 billion compared to its more paltry $1.5 billion. Many have written about the death of Cyber Monday—but it’s not the retailers who should be worrying about their purses, it’s the shoppers.

Almost two thirds of shoppers cited “best prices” as the main reason behind Cyber Monday’s sales increase, with “ease” ranked second. But with many of the top deals available before Monday, and retailers offering the same deals online as they do in store throughout the weekend, these reasons are increasingly obsolete.

Now that people have high-speed internet—not to mention a range of smartphones and tablets—at home, they don’t need to wait until getting back to the office on Monday to fill their virtual baskets. In 2012, for the first time, purchases made on home devices outstripped those made at work.

And with the holiday period shorter this year than it’s been in more than a decade—a later-than-usual Thanksgiving meaning Cyber Monday falls in December, when a particularly early Hanukkah is already half-finished—retailers are less likely to waste those extra two days by holding deals back until Monday.

It’s not necessarily the death of Cyber Monday; ComScore predicts record sales of $2 billion this year. So the retailers will still do well after the weekend—you just might miss out on the best deals.