What Is Cyber Monday and When Is It?
You may be wondering when Cyber Monday is and why it's so unique. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving and began as the online response to Black Friday. The term was first used in 2005 as a marketing tool to drive e-commerce sales upward. At that time, most people didn't purchase goods online. Now, 13 years later, most households do a majority of their shopping online.
This year, Cyber Monday is November 26, 2018.
Why Has Cyber Monday Become so Popular?
The world has experienced a definite shift in shopping habits. Everything from pencils to cars can be purchased online and shipped from anywhere. When Cyber Monday first started, e-commerce was new and dangerous. The thought of giving your credit card number to a business over the computer and trusting them to send you something you purchased seemed absurd and reckless. Now, most stores have one-click shopping, allowing you to buy something in a matter of seconds and have it show up at your door in 48 hours or less. You never had to get off the couch to do it.
Cyber Monday coming on the heels of Black Friday allows people who would rather not venture out the opportunity to start, and possibly finish, their online shopping conveniently from the office, train or home. The popularity is due, in large part, to:
- Easy shopping from anywhere
- No waiting in line
- Shop multiple stores at one time with one click
- Free shipping right to your door
These reasons and others make online shopping preferred among many consumers. However, there are some downsides to the phenomenon.
It's interesting to think that Black Friday used to cause such stress years ago that tired and frustrated people would get into fist fights over the last TV or scooter. While you don't get that experience on Cyber Monday, mostly because you aren't standing in line with other people, you can feel the same frustration.
Items promised to be in stock can sell out quickly. Lightning deals carried by Amazon can go live and be gone before you move your cursor over the purchase button. You can go on a waiting list, but then you are the 8,252nd person in line for a deal that went live at the same time for everyone 30 seconds before. Are these people even real? While you can't argue with someone, you can get just as mad when something doesn't work out as promised.
One of the most significant sources of frustration on days like Cyber Monday is computer glitches on your side and/or the retailer's side. There is nothing worse than being 30 seconds away from a deal starting, and either the website experiences problems or your computer or WiFi connection goes haywire. Many times, there is no raincheck online, and the sales keep continuing when the problem is up and running. Substantial traffic on e-commerce sites on Cyber Monday can cause entire networks to be down for large amounts of time.
How You Can Save the Most Money on Cyber Monday
Comparison shopping is something made so much easier by technology. Going from one store to another to check on prices is done entirely online. You can be standing in front of a refrigerator in Lowe's and check the prices at Home Depot in a matter of seconds. The same thing applies to all e-commerce stores as well. It's a good idea to do some comparison shopping for Cyber Monday. Amazon used to have the market cornered on deep discounts, but other stores are starting to catch up and catch on.
Helpful Apps and Resources
Smartphones allow people the freedom to comparison shop whether in-store or online. Apps have been developed that help aid in your quest to score the best deals on Cyber Monday. Some of the apps released as of Cyber Monday 2017 were:
DealNews – A team of highly qualified shopping experts continually monitors the ongoing deals and ads from online and box stores and transmits those to you via the DealNews app. You can then, in turn, directly click on the retailer to start your shopping, or you can download coupons and ads to take to a store with you. There is an option to turn on notifications, so if something you're interested in is found at a lower price, they will let you know.
Ebates – Ebates has been around for a few years now and offers a basic premise: Shop certain stores using a specific link, and Ebates will kick you back a percentage. That money will then build in your Ebates account until you choose to cash it out. While this might not always be helpful for finding the best deals on Cyber Monday, it does offer money back for shopping some of those same deals. You can shop via the app or website. You can also choose which stores you wish to receive deals and notifications for. For example, if Amazon has a deal through Ebates, you will receive a notification.
Krazy Coupon Lady – The Krazy Coupon Lady website and corresponding app are helpful for all shopping needs, including Cyber Monday. You can choose the stores you want to receive alerts about, and as soon as the team of Krazies finds out about a deal there, they'll shoot you a notification or email. They have it all timed down to the minute with deals on Amazon as well, where they will tell you to run, not walk, to your nearest computer or phone to grab a deal that is too good to let scroll by.
What Are the Most Common Items Available at Discounts on Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is a virtual potpourri of sale items. There are standard fixtures, as there are during Black Friday Sales, which are ever present. The difference? You don't have to stand in line and haul these finds away. They'll show up at your door if they're still available by the time you check out.
TVs have been getting bigger, better, flatter and smarter over recent years. They've also gotten more expensive. Gone are the days you could score a decent 36 inch TV for $100 or less. However, there are certain times of the year when TVs are deeply discounted. Cyber Monday is one such day. Online retailers across the board offer discounts on all the same type of TVs, brands, sizes, etc. Cyber Monday is not the biggest day to buy a TV, that record is still held by its big sister Black Friday, but you can get substantial savings and have the product delivered straight to your door.
Game Consoles, Games and Accessories
One of the hottest gifts you can put under the tree year after year is a video game console and related accessories. It's pretty typical for manufacturers to release new and improved versions of their consoles in September/October, so the kids have plenty of time to beg. Some of the best deals on consoles happen over the Thanksgiving weekend, including Cyber Monday. Video games and related accessories like gaming headsets, gift cards for credits and gaming chairs are also offered at lower prices. Some marketplaces provide bundled deals, which give you things like extra controllers, a headset and a game for the regular price of the console. That equals significant savings for anyone looking to get more for the same price.
Tablets and Smartphones
There are a large number of tablets and cell phones on the market these days. Cyber Monday may offer bundled deals on one, the other or both. Cell phone carriers may provide some of the best discounts on Cyber Monday since they can not only offer incentives like "buy one get one" deals, but also a reduction in the cost of certain plans or a big discount on accessories. One of the biggest promos run about this time every year is "buy a phone get a tablet." If you are looking to knock out two gifts in one or looking to upgrade your phone and still have something to give to your teenager, Cyber Monday shopping may be the time to do it.
The most popular New Year's Resolution year after year is the promise to get in shape through diet and exercise. Companies have started to capitalize on this trend by creating trackers explicitly designed for dieters to help monitor activity level throughout a day. What started out as a simple pedometer a few years ago has turned into a full-blown category of technology all on its own. The fitness tracker is typically now a watch that can do everything from telling you what your heart rate is to how many hours of REM you caught the night before and just about everything in between. It can help incentivize you to reach a goal by encouraging you to join challenges with friends and family who sport the same type of tech. The Thanksgiving shopping weekend is an excellent opportunity to take care of the dieter on your list, even if that's you.
Smart Home Devices
Over the past two seasons, items to make running your home easier have cropped up. Things such as Google Home and Alexa all use voice control to help you remember things, find out information without having to search online and play music throughout the house. Smart home devices provide more services, such as monitoring the temperature of your refrigerator, stove and thermostat as well. These devices have seen a definite uptick in sales on Cyber Monday.
Laptops and Computers
With the education system going online more and more, kids of all ages are in need of a computer. Maybe you have a family fixture that you all share, or perhaps you've decided that you need another more portable unit. Either way, Cyber Monday is one of the best days to score a great laptop at a price that can't usually be beaten. Online retailers from Best Buy to Walmart and Amazon to Microsoft all have can't miss deals on the latest laptops and PCs to fit your family's growing need.
Toy shopping has been increasingly moving online over the last few years. The evidence isn't any more apparent than the closing of the childhood icon Toys “R” Us earlier this year. While the price of Barbie might shock you on any given day, on Cyber Monday, she may be a tad more affordable. Make sure to comparison shop across all retailers, as some store such as Best Buy carry some of the hottest seasonal toys at lower prices.
You can land some great deals on some of the best clothing brands on Cyber Monday. Not only do they offer Black Friday savings, but many provide additional savings online Monday. Some of the items available online are not offered in stores and vice versa, so in this way, retailers can capture both sides of the market. It's a win-win for everybody.
The holiday shopping season is officially ushered in on Black Friday and continues the four weeks after. Whether you choose to put boots on the ground Friday or kick your well-rested feet up on Cyber Monday and do your shopping, you are bound to come out ahead in the quest for great holiday deals. Both holidays target consumers all across the board, and the incentives and deals offered makes getting the best deal for your money easier than ever before. Between shopping apps, minute-by-minute deals and free shipping, you'll have all the resources you need at your fingertips to ensure you get the best deals out there. Happy clicking!