If you’re looking to upgrade your phone, make a big purchase, or buy your Christmas presents early, there’s a good chance you’re waiting for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals to drop.
But is Black Friday or Cyber Monday best for offers? Black Friday is widely considered to be the biggest sale day of the year, but Cyber Monday is still a huge event for retail stores. In fact, Cyber Monday 2020 in America was the biggest online shopping day in the country’s history.
So which to choose? Do you go all in on Black Friday deals, or do you wait a few extra days to see if the Cyber Monday sale is better? It’s a tough call, so let’s look at both events, where they come from, and what makes them different.
In America, all the big stores used to start their Christmas shopping season the Friday after Thanksgiving. People would still be off work and have time for shopping, so retailers put on sales to try to entice them into their stores.
Thanksgiving used to be the last Thursday of November. But in 1939 President Roosevelt changed it to the fourth Thursday of November, allowing retailers to extend their Christmas sales period.
This year Black Friday will be on the 25 November.
There are conflicting stories as to where the name comes from. It’s been claimed that stores wouldn’t start to make a profit until after Black Friday – their accounts would go from being in the red and into the black. It’s more likely, however, that the name is a dark joke by city police forces who had to manage the chaotic crowds and traffic that the day would bring.
Fortunately, most people buy online now, so less reason to worry about that.
Cyber Monday began more recently, in 2004. Research showed that there was a huge spike in online shopping on the Monday after Black Friday, as many people who had been relaxing or shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend, were now returning to their computers and shopping online.
Many online-only stores saw this as a huge opportunity to put together their own sale event and compete with traditional stores. And in time, many established stores also started having Cyber Monday sales themselves.
This year Cyber Monday is on the 28 November.
It’s hard to know what stores have planned ahead of time, so we can’t be sure. But here’s what we would normally expect…
In the UK, many retailers have essentially combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday, running offers over the whole weekend and beyond, regardless of whether they’re an online-only store or not.
If stores do hold separate sales for both events, they will usually offer different products for each sale, rather than reduce the price further on Cyber Monday. Understandably, customers tend to get upset if they’ve paid a higher price for it only days before – though it does sometimes still happen.
Some sites may offer a price promise guarantee to offer you the lower price if it’s reduced further after Black Friday, so that’s something worth keeping an eye out for.
If there’s something you really want to buy, the best thing to do is check if it’s reduced on Black Friday first. We’d generally expect stores to put their biggest headline offers out there on Black Friday.
If what you’re after hasn’t been reduced, you can of course wait to see if it’s on sale on Cyber Monday. Companies that do sales for both events will reduce more prices then.
But stock can also run low if a sale item is popular, however. So there is a risk you could lose it if you wait for Cyber Monday.
That’s hard for us to say – but we do know what’s going to happen at Three.
We’re just having one huge Black Friday event, that’s going to continue past Cyber Monday. All our iPhone deals, dazzling Samsung offers, and more will be available from first thing in the morning. And the sale price will stay the same throughout the event – while stocks last.
You can see all our offers on our Black Friday deals page. We have amazing Black Friday deals on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13, as well as offers on the Samsung S22 and Z Flip4, Google Pixel 6. We also have great savings on 24 month SIM Only deals. Take your pick of the bunch.
And if you want to make sure you get your hands on all the best offers this Black Friday, make sure you read our 8 best Black Friday shopping tips.