Whether you've been collecting gifts throughout the year or prefer to wait until the holidays have arrived, you probably hope to get in on some great deals after Thanksgiving.
The good news is that retailers are well-stocked for the gift-giving season. But when your Turkey Day plans have been made, you might wonder if you should brave the crowds on Black Friday or hang out at home for Cyber Monday to get the best prices.
What Is Black Friday?
In the late 1980s, retailers started using the term "Black Friday" as a nickname for the day after Thanksgiving. This is because stores typically turned a profit on this day, and accountants used different colors of ink to show whether earnings were up or down. Red meant negative, and black stood for positive.
What Is Cyber Monday?
"Cyber Monday" didn't come into existence until a couple of decades later. Then, in 2005, Shop.org, which was the online component of the National Retail Federation, coined the term in a press release.
In the statement, the organization explained that online shopping on the Monday after Thanksgiving was becoming a trend that was driving retailers to plan significant discounts that day."
On Cyber Monday, consumers set their sights on surfing for holiday gifts and shopping online," executive director of Shop.org Scott Silverman said in the 2005 release. "This year, online retailers will be capitalizing on the increased traffic by offering special promotions and discounts."
When Should You Shop For The Best Deals?
Now that they are both part of our collective vernacular, which offers the best deals? It might come down to what you hope to purchase and how you prefer to shop.
"Cyber Monday tends to outperform Black Friday for online discounts, with the best deals of any during the five days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday but not by a significant amount," Jonathan Silver, founder and CEO of Affinity Solutions, a global insights firm tracking consumer purchasing habits, told GoBankingRates.
Ultimately, you can look for items on your list during Black Friday sales and finish up on Cyber Monday.
"If an item is on sale during Black Friday, and the price is good, buy it," RetailMeNot editor Kristin McGrath told NBC News. "Think of Cyber Monday as a second chance to snag items that sold out during Black Friday sales — because retailers generally repeat their deals, you're limiting yourself if you wait until Cyber Monday."
Since many retailers have transitioned to offering Black Friday deals online, you can shop both from the comfort of your couch. However, if items go out of stock online, you might need to head to a store nearby to find what you want.
In many cases, you might not need to wait for either day to find something on your gift shopping list at a sweet price. Several major retailers, such as Amazon and Walmart, have already launched Black Friday specials online and in stores.