Want to avoid Black Friday crowds? Want to shop in your pajamas?  Cyber Monday could be for you.

Cyber Monday isn’t just Black Friday’s online little brother anymore. It’s growing, year over year, with an increasing number of shoppers preferring to score deals that are every bit as good as Black Friday without having to rise before dawn and stand in long lines.

Last year, Cyber Monday shoppers made a record $6.59 billion dollars in purchases.

More than half of shoppers surveyed for Deloitte’s Holiday Retail Survey—53%—are counting on Cyber Monday to score the best deals, while 44% are Black Friday loyalists. Those numbers increase among younger shoppers, with 62% of Millennials preferring Cyber Monday to 53% for Black Friday.

Black Friday still beat out Cyber Monday in 2017—with 77 million people shopping in-store and 66 million shopping online, according to the National Retail Federation. But Cyber Monday saw more than 81 million consumers fill their Internet shopping carts, meaning more people are going online than ever before.

Source: National Retail Federation

“I do not celebrate Black Friday. You have to get up insanely early, put on pants and, I imagine, a bra,” says Marissa Bryant, a mother of two from Long Island, NY. “No thanks.”

As with Black Friday, some important rules apply—learn to budget, don’t overspend, use credit wisely, make a list, and don’t forget to buy yourself something.

Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday

Trae Bodge, a shopping expert from New Jersey, says while both retail holidays have something a bit different to offer consumers, the trend for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday is digital offerings.

And for retailers, that means getting ever more creative about luring customers through the door.

“With Black Friday, some of the deals will be exclusive to in-store, specifically because retailers who have a brick-and-mortar presence are trying to remain relevant, trying to keep brick-and-mortar relevant,” Bodge says.

Walmart is upping their game this year by throwing an in-store Black Friday party on Thanksgiving evening, opening its doors at 4 p.m. for free coffee and snacks, two hours before Black Friday deals kick off at 6 p.m.

Target is offering $250 gift card with the in-store purchase of an iPhone XS or XS Max. And Best Buy is taking hundreds of dollars off TVs when they are bought in-store.

“I think we’ll see more of this where there will be fun activities in store on Black Friday and throughout the holiday shopping season, again, to incentivize consumers to shop in store,” Bodge says.

Look for sitewide discounts on Cyber Monday

The two biggest days in holiday shopping also differ not just in how the deals are offered, but which deals are offered.

Black Friday tends to see sales on very specific items, Bodge says, such as a particular sweater or one specific computer model. Cyber Monday brings more sitewide discounts and free shipping deals.

Both days have tried and true categories that will see the deepest discounts: TVs are the most well known, Bodge says, but also watch for great deals on beauty items, apparel and small electronics, such as video game consoles, tablets, smart home devices, smartwatche, and last generation phones.

Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday: A Checklist

Here are Bodge’s top tips for getting the best deals from both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

    1. Do your prep work ahead of time. Scour Black Friday ads, figure out what needs to be purchased in-store for the best price. Make a list and set a spending limit and then stick to it.
    2. Utilize smart shopping apps and websites. Bodge is a fan of Flipp, which collects all your local retail circulars. “You can circle items, you can highlight items, you can build a list and then they’ll alert you when things on your list go on sale. It’s like having this personal assistant,” she says.
    3. Keep a close eye on Cyber Monday discounts in the days after Black Friday. Places with a brick-and-mortar store, especially smaller retailers, will often deepen Cyber Monday discounts to make up for less than optimal in-store sales. The bad news for them could be very good news for your budget.
    4. Don’t be scared of Black Friday crowds. “I think that Black Friday has a bad rap. We’ve seen the videos of people storming Walmart and crushing each other on the way in and that’s not appealing to a lot of people,” Bodge says. “That’s not happening as much anymore. The influx of in-store shoppers have kind of loosened because of the online availability of these sales and so Black Friday isn’t so bad anymore.”
    5. Put a gift (or two!) for yourself on your shopping list. “What I often see is that people go overboard buying for themselves while they are supposed to be buying for other people,” Bodge says, adding you should just go ahead and put yourself on the list for one or two things. “That can help keep you on a budget as well,” she says.

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