By Aimee Serafin

 

It’s that time of year when everything edible comes in pumpkin spice and thoughts turn to holiday shopping. While you are putting the finishing touches on your shopping list, retailers are gearing up for their biggest holidays of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of Black Friday or shopping from your pajamas on Cyber Monday, there are deals to be found and plenty of reasons to check out each.

Black Friday

It used to be that all the deals on Black Friday were in the stores. You had to get up early and fight the crowds to get the best deal. In recent years, brick-and-mortar retailers (Walmart, Target, etc.) have been offering online Black Friday deals. Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions for 80 of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S. like Walmart and Amazon, reports that Black Friday 2018 pulled in $6.22 billion in online sales, up 23.6 percent from 2017, a new high.

Of course, the “door-buster” sales that require you to be in the store at a certain time to get the advertised deal still keep the tradition of Black Friday alive and well. Here are a few reasons to come out of your turkey coma and get in line at the store before sunrise on Black Friday:

Seeing is Believing: When you are in the store, you can hold, measure, try on and see the items for yourself. There’s no guessing and hoping the item you buy online is exactly what you want.

Get the Deal: Some Black Friday bargains are available on Cyber Monday, but not always. This might be the only time you can get that steep discount on that new TV.

Social Fun: You can bring a friend or spouse and turn it into an outing. Not to mention, your shopping friend can offer advice and suggestions on your potential purchases.

Additional Purchases: You can browse the store and find other items you might not have considered. Just use caution that you don’t spend too much. Remember, retailers count on you making those unscheduled impulse buys.

Immediate Gratification: As soon as you buy it, you take it home. There’s no wondering whether it will arrive in time or be damaged in shipping.

Returns are Easier: If you do have to return something, it’s always easier to take it back to the store than to ship it back.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, started in 2005, which could be considered the “early days” of online shopping, when online retailers noticed a sharp increase in sales the Monday after Thanksgiving. According to the National Retail Federation, most people only had slow dial-up internet connections at home, so they did online shopping on the faster internet connections of their employers after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Cyber Monday is big business. According to Comscore, Cyber Monday racked up more than $6 billion in digital spending in 2018, a 28 percent increase over 2017. Here are a few reasons to skip the stores and click the mouse for holiday shopping:

Easily Find What You Want: Because you are shopping online, it’s easier and faster to find exactly what you want.

You’re Free to Travel: You can go visit Grandma over Thanksgiving weekend and still rack up on some great deals.

Find the Best Deals: A quick Google search of “Cyber Monday deals” turns up many sites that compare deals. No scanning through store flyers and ad clippings to sort through.

It’s Convenient: Shop on your computer or phone from anywhere. You don’t even have to get dressed or go anywhere.

No Extra Purchases: Shopping online prevents you from spending more money on items you see as you go through a physical store. Skipping the impulse buys puts more money in your pocket.

No Crowds: Perhaps one of the biggest selling points for Cyber Monday is that you don’t have to be in the middle of hundreds of people scrambling for the limited amount of merchandise.

Do Your Research

Black Friday and Cyber Monday each have advantages for shoppers. No doubt, many people find themselves in line at Walmart on Black Friday and on Amazon.com on Cyber Monday to find the best deals. The key, of course, is research. Most retailers – online and otherwise – publish holiday shopping deals in advance, so start looking now to save money.

Make your list, check it twice and find the discounts that are nice. Happy shopping!

This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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