Forget the turkey — Thanksgiving and the days after it are all about shopping. In 2012, more than 307 million people headed to stores on Black Friday, according to ShopperTrak.
Forbes reported 35 million people took a break from football and eating on Thanksgiving Day itself to do some in-person and online shopping in 2012. Over the weekend, another 247 million people headed to stores. Whether you shop on Black Friday or hold out for the deals on Cyber Monday depends on your shopping preferences and willingness to hold out for a better deal.
Excitement vs. Comfort
Queuing up in front of the doors to the mall or a big box store can be pretty exciting. In 2011, Time reported that a couple decided to camp outside of their local Best Buy for nearly two weeks to be first in line when doors opened Friday morning. But all that excitement can quickly turn to fear. The stampede of shoppers into the store once the doors open on Black Friday has led to injuries and even deaths, according to US News and World Report.
If spending days or even hours sitting outside doesn’t appeal to you, Cyber Monday offers some comfort. According to SOASTA, 31 percent of shoppers in 2012 stated that they would rather shop online because the deals and excitement of Black Friday “bring out the crazy” in other shoppers. People talking about Cyber Monday in 2012 were more likely to be excited or happy about it, compared to those who reported feeling excitement but also impatience about Black Friday, according to SAP.
The Deal Hunt
Finding good Black Friday deals and deals on Cyber Monday is part of the thrill of holiday shopping. A number of retailers, including JC Penney, Target and Amazon let people sign up months in advance to be notified of deals via email. As the number of deals offered on Cyber Monday now closely rivals those available on Black Friday, according to CNBC, it can be a toss-up for consumers when they decide to shop. In 2012, Time noted that people could save 5 percent if they waited until after Black Friday and Cyber Monday to buy a television or camera.
The difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is becoming less and less apparent as technology develops. The use of smartphones and other mobile devices means that shoppers can comparison shop online while in a physical store. Forbes reported that people used comparison shopping apps such as ShopSavvy and RedLaser when shopping and that mobile devices funneled 25 percent of online shopping traffic on Black Friday.
Online deals aren’t limited to Cyber Monday anymore, either. In 2012, up to a quarter Cyber Monday deals were expected to kick off on Friday. The year before, the deals started on Saturday, according to CNBC.
Nor is Black Friday limited to Friday anymore. Plenty of stores, such as WalMart and Target, opened their doors on Thanksgiving night, eliminating the need for shoppers to get up at 2 or 3 in the morning to get to the store by 4 or 5 am. Some of the Black Friday Thanksgiving deals were also online, further blurring the distinction between the traditionally in-store Black Friday and the traditionally online Cyber Monday.