Black Friday is fast approaching, and so is its close cousin Cyber Monday. A massive 48 percent of Americans plan to shop on Black Friday, and 42 percent of Americans plan on shopping on Cyber Monday. But which one will save you the most while causing you the least stress? Arm yourself with info before you hit up the sales.
- Black Friday has more discounts on most electronics. 2014 saw 48% of deals for headphones, 83% for iPhones and 47% for laptops land on Black Friday.
- You get to see your items in the flesh. Over 60% of shoppers prefer to shop in the store, probably because it guarantees there are no surprises when you get home.
- No shipping costs.
- Some exclusive in-store deals. In 2014, Walmart offered a Vizio 65″ 1080p Smart LED LCD HDTV for $648. That’s $100 cheaper than most 65″ HDTVs — even refurbished ones — were going for at the time.
- Risk of injury. Since 2006, there have been 98 injuries related to Black Friday sales. While your chance of serious injury isn’t high, it’s a lot higher than it would be than if you shopped online.
- Crowds. In 2014, 68 million people shopped in person on Black Friday. Walmart alone had 22 million shoppers altogether.
- Bad timing. In 2014, Barnes and Noble opened at 6 a.m. Friday, while Best Buy started its sales at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. At least 28 major national chains opened on Thanksgiving in 2014.
- Not all stores are open on Black Friday. While plenty still open in the wee hours, some in 2015 plan to boycott the entire day. Sporting goods store REI has announced it will be closed on Black Friday 2015.
- It’s much faster. No driving time, and no time spent waiting in huge lines.
- More discounts on toys and travel. Cyber Monday 2014 attracted 45% of all deals on toys and 25% of travel deals.
- Virtually zero chance of injury, not counting the risk of spilling hot chocolate on yourself.
- You can do more research. In 2014, 83% of Cyber Monday shoppers reported doing research online before shopping, while only 64% of Black Friday shoppers did.
- Items may be sold out. In 2014, “out of stock” messages on websites went up by 400% on Cyber Monday. Since you’re shopping later in the game, stores may have sold out of certain items.
- Paying for shipping. Though shipping charges are the #1 reason customers abandon their online shopping carts — 88% of shoppers have done it — shipping costs continue to exist.
- You’re more likely to spend more. In 2014, the average shopper spent $468 on Cyber Monday, versus an average $309 on Black Friday.
- Your workplace might block you from Cyber Monday shopping. 30% of employers block access to online shopping sites.
- You could technically get fired for shopping online at work. 25% of managers report that they’ve fired someone for non-work-related use of the Internet.
Also, remember that holiday deals start earlier each year — some folks even shop on Thanksgiving. Ebates’ 2015 holiday survey examined Americans’ shopping behaviors, and it found that when asked why they chose to begin holiday shopping on Thanksgiving, 39 percent said it was because Black Friday deals are actually starting earlier. The next-best reasons included better selection of products that haven’t been picked over (24 percent) and killing time after eating Thanksgiving dinner (18 percent).
When asked why they plan to shop on Black Friday, 81 percent of those polled said it was because they want to get the best prices on holiday gifts, and 43 percent said it is a family tradition. Almost a quarter (24 percent) said they will shop on Black Friday to get all of their holiday shopping done in one day, and one in five (20 percent) said it’s because they “love the madness.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that some Black Friday deals are available online. More than half of surveyed people (52 percent) revealed they will shop online via their laptop this year. Meanwhile, more than a third will buy via their home computer (37 percent), and more than a quarter will use a mobile device (29 percent). Only 4 percent say they will do any Black Friday shopping via smart watch.
The bottom line is that if 4 a.m. shopping sounds like a fun adventure to you, go for the in-store experience of Black Friday. If it sounds like a nightmare, stick with the cozy safety of Cyber Monday — or even the online deals offered on Black Friday. Happy shopping!
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Prices and Cash Back Percentages are subject to change.