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7 Ways Cyber Monday Is Different From Black Friday

It's easy for Cyber Monday to be overshadowed by the Black Friday hype, but this billion-dollar shopping holiday has its own unique qualities. So what is Cyber Monday all about?
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Cyber Monday deals

Black Friday has grown much bigger than just a single day, to the point where any late-November sales seem to be encompassed in the "Black Friday season." Even Thanksgiving deals seem to get wrapped up in the Black Friday title. So it shouldn't really be surprising to see that Cyber Monday is frequently included in the term as well, since retailers tend to roll one day of sales into another at this time of year.

But we shouldn't be so quick to just write off Cyber Monday as Black Friday's less-awesome sibling. This online holiday has plenty of draw on its own, starting with the fact that it provides better savings than Black Friday in many cases. In fact, since 2013, Cyber Monday has yielded more Editors' Choice deals than the Friday before.

SEE ALSO: Find Out What Every Major Store Will Do on Cyber Monday 2016

So what makes Cyber Monday so special? Read on to learn a little more about everyone's second-favorite shopping holiday.

Cyber Monday Has Happier Origins

Pinning down the origin of the term "Black Friday" is not easy, but the current prevailing theory goes like this: Philadelphia police negatively coined the term in the 1950s. Apparently, hordes of people would descend upon the town on the Friday after Turkey Day, ahead of the annual Army/Navy football game on Saturday. Stores would take advantage of all the extra business by promoting big sales, and cops were stuck with long, busy shifts that left them dreading the date.

Black Friday didn't come into its more widespread, awesome reputation until the 1980s. But Cyber Monday's origins are much more recent; the term was coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005 to describe the Monday after Thanksgiving, when people continued to shop online after returning to work. And nothing makes anyone happier than goofing off at work!

And There Are Fewer Ads

Before you've even thought about where to find the best deal on a turkey, you're no doubt aware of the upcoming Black Friday sales. This is because retailers (and intrepid deal sites) have been posting Black Friday ads far in advance, sometimes as early as the beginning of October. However, we see comparatively fewer Cyber Monday ads — possibly because retailers know that shoppers will check out those sales anyway.

Unlike the ad hype behind Black Friday, there's virtually no lead up to Cyber Monday. Stores are less likely to tease sales the way they do for Black Friday.

According to a recent DealNews survey, 83% of consumers said they'll be shopping on Cyber Monday, up from 77% in 2015. Compare that to the 44% of people who said they would shop on Thanksgiving. Too many Cyber Monday ads might discourage even more Thanksgiving shoppers.

In-Store Doorbusters Go Bye-Bye

Along with fewer ads comes a dearth of doorbusters. Cyber Monday is an online shopping holiday, after all, so there's no reason to go knocking down the doors of your local Sears to score a $5 toaster. Of course, "doorbusters" in general are dying out. In-store shoppers have long been frustrated by the concept of low-stock items that sell out in seconds, and retailers are listening. Nowadays, it's not uncommon to find so-called doorbusters listed online on Black Friday.

Cyber Monday Has the Most Online Sales

We're not talking about coupons here; by "sales," we actually mean goods sold. Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year, and Adobe estimated it would reach $3 billion in sales for the first time last year. Not only did sales that day reach the mark, they flat-out surpassed it. Total numbers for Cyber Monday last year were $3.1 billion, up almost 21% from the year before. Surprisingly, part of what pushed it over the brink was mobile shopping. Shoppers on mobile devices spent 53% more last Cyber Monday than the previous year.

Why are shoppers still eager to spend funds on Cyber Monday, even after Black Friday? According to Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst for forecast tech consultancy Forrester Research, it's because "customers had fewer negative associations with Cyber Monday than with Black Friday." See? Everyone loves shopping at work.

Some People Are Totally Shopping at Work

And you thought we were joking! While not a federal holiday, the Friday after Thanksgiving is a public holiday in 24 states. By Monday, everyone is back at work and almost certainly browsing sales at their desks. To be fair, a wonderfully industrious 55% of shoppers claimed they didn't shop at work last year in our survey.

Last year, almost half of Cyber Monday shoppers perused the sales while at work — and that might be for the best, since the majority of deals will roll out well before the end of business hours.

Sadly, these hardworking shoppers may miss out on the best bargains. Last year on DealNews, 67% of the deals we found on Cyber Monday were posted before 5 pm ET. That means bargain hunters will have to log on during business hours to snag the best sales.

Fashionistas Love Cyber Monday

The Black Friday season is like the Olympics, with different shopping events on each shopping holiday. Where Thanksgiving and Black Friday are better for electronics, Cyber Monday shines in soft goods. Clothes and shoes are especially awesome buys, with retailers busting out Black Friday-beating coupons in several cases. Beauty products are another oft-overlooked, but awesome, Cyber Monday category.

Should you not be the sartorial sort, you can always stock up on toys, or shop for a new major appliance. Better yet, book a killer hotel deal on Cyber Monday; you've probably had enough of those visiting relatives at this point.

In the end, if you've been ignoring Cyber Monday, it's time to give this hardworking holiday another shot. With billions of dollars under its belt, this shopping extravaganza is here to stay!

Excited for the Black Friday season? Check out the DealNews Black Friday hub for the latest updates! You can also subscribe to the DealNews Select Newsletter, download the DealNews apps, or read more buying advice.


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Editor

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.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. 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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