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Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: What to Buy Each Day

If you can only shop on one day, choose Thanksgiving for the biggest variety of deals. But for some items, like iPhones or clothing, Black Friday or Cyber Monday will be better.
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Black Friday

Black Friday is held up as the ultimate shopping day, but Thanksgiving actually offers more awesome deals. Of course, there are great sales to be found throughout the Black Friday season, with Cyber Monday deals adding their fair share of savings to the mix. However, if you're looking for a specific type of product, it's hard to know whether Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday will give you the best chance to score that bargain.

Because most shoppers will be looking for deals on these three days specifically, we gathered data from the past three years of Thanksgivings, Black Fridays, and Cyber Mondays to determine which days offered the best sales on a given product category. From TVs to toys to tablets, we've got the skinny on when you're most likely to find a killer price low. But before we get to the results, let's discuss the amorphous blob of time that Black Friday has become.

Black Friday is a Season

Around this time of year, DealNews often refers to the "Black Friday season," but it's not mere marketing hype (at least, not entirely). We've been tracking the expansion of Black Friday for years, and can say with some certainty that these sales will last for nearly two weeks. Thanksgiving sales can start as early as the Monday before, Black Friday sales almost universally start on Thanksgiving, and we'll begin seeing Cyber Monday sales on Saturday. In fact, Cyber Monday has become Cyber Week, with excellent offers still appearing as late as the Friday after Black Friday.

So as you're reading the guide below, keep in mind that we're discussing trends as opposed to hard and fast rules. The savvy shopper will keep an eye out for discounts throughout Black Friday week — no matter what the calendar says.

That said, on to the findings!

BF vs. TG vs. CM

Ditch the Turkey, Get the Deals


If you can only shop on one day this year, go shopping on Thanksgiving. Almost every product category we examined showed a higher concentration of deals on Turkey Day. This is especially true in the electronics and entertainment categories, where everything from hard drives to Blu-rays see steep discounts. In fact, about 51% of all the deals we listed on Thanksgiving last year were hot enough to be marked Editors' Choice.

Of course, these Thanksgiving deals are really just early Black Friday deals. With many stores choosing to start Black Friday sales on Thursday, there's little wonder that this holiday has become a shopper's dream. If you'd rather linger over your pumpkin pie, rest assured that many of these sales will be live on Black Friday — even if the doorbusters are gone.

So what's your Black Friday game plan? Will you concentrate your savings on a single day? Share your strategies in the comments below! And if you're excited for Black Friday deals, consider subscribing to the DealNews Select Newsletter to get a daily recap of all our deals; you never know when a Black Friday price will be released! You can also download the DealNews app, check out the latest Black Friday ads, or read more buying advice.


Features Writer

Marcy pens consumer news stories of all sorts, in addition to adding pithy prose to many of the roundups you see every day. Her work for DealNews has appeared on sites like Lifehacker, the Huffington Post, and MSN Money. She is by far the most metal member of the DealNews staff, and you can see why by following her on Twitter @ThatBonebright.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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6 comments
SophieisHere
Just scored an Amazon HD7 Tablet and Free Foundation ($500 value) from http://www.eBed.com when I purchased a much needed Healthy Back Mattress!! #winning
emma24xia
From the sheet I find most electronics like Android phones, cameras and TVs are shopped on Thanksgiving season, I believe people are ready to capture festival moments with these gifts. But how to move phone picture, videos or video recordings shoot by cameras and watch on TV? If you have no idea about that, have a look at Pavtube Unveils 2014 Thanksgiving vs Black Friday vs Cyber Monday Crazy Promotion! and it would bring you some ideas. https://www.facebook.com/...52229694821468/?type=1
Scroogus Maximus
As for Amazon's notoriously "Disappeared In 3 seconds!" lightning deals: With more people staying home and shopping from the safety (and warmth, and lack of heel marks on your spine, and...)of their home, Lightning Deals are actually expected to evaporate almost as fast as their name indicates. Prime opening up "pre-buying" to its members has also increased the "How Did That Sell Out So Fast?" headaches experienced by the average consumer. However, since you're reading this, you're well above average- and as a Dealnews user, you generally live above the power curve on purchasing, don't you?
dealnews-bglaser
@multimarrc Thanks! And great questions. We're flattered by @nimer, and think they are pretty accurate :-). We offer some more tips in our preparation guides for Black Friday (http://bit.ly/1ybKXoh) and Cyber Monday (http://bit.ly/1ro9ocf). Basically, do a lot of Googling, and be sure to check the DealNews newsletter (http://bit.ly/1ANANN7), mobile app (http://bit.ly/11sGyAS), and BF ads (http://bit.ly/1roal4e) regularly.
nimer
@multimarcc: strategy is simple, keep dealnews.com on your phone / tablet / pc and trust the 'hotness' measure :-). I'm in the market fir a bunch of those items, but refuse to buy until dealnews tell me so
multimarrc
Very helpful!

So how does online shopping fit into all of this? Is there a suggested strategy for "tracking" when the online deals go live? How about Amazon's notorious Lightning Deals?

Looking forward to shopping this week!
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