By: Dannie Phan | August 19th, 2020

This year could be the best year yet to check out Cyber Monday deals. Health authorities are still discouraging in-person gathering thanks to COVID-19, and retailers are extra-motivated to move their merchandise, so you could find some deep discounts during this year’s online shopping extravaganza.

What is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday, which falls on November 30 this year, is what people are calling a “shopping holiday.” It takes place on the first Monday following Thanksgiving Day in the US. It’s only three days after the famed Black Friday sales each year, and two days after Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday has become the biggest online shopping day of the year and has even surpassed Black Friday for total sales. Put together, and given their significance as the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season, the events make up a retail weekend like none other.

Much has changed since the term “Cyber Monday” was coined back in 2005. Marketers back then noticed a natural spike in online shopping when people returned to work following Thanksgiving weekend gatherings, and created hype about buying on that day. Back then e-commerce was still a burgeoning reality, and many people didn’t have high speed internet to make online shopping as simple and fast as it is now.

By 2014, Cyber Monday accounted for $2 billion in online sales in the US, and has topped that number year over year ever since. 2018’s Cyber Monday was labeled the biggest shopping day in history, with an estimated $7.9 billion in sales on a single day. Essentially, Cyber Monday was the internet’s response to Black Friday deals, and some retailers have sales the entire week following Thanksgiving, calling them Cyber Week sales.

Is Cyber Monday Better than Black Friday?

Which deal will work for you depends a lot on what you’re looking for. Giant, door-crasher sales and deep discounts generally belong to Black Friday and can provide bigger savings than Cyber Monday on big-ticket items like TVs and appliances. This year many of those holiday sales could be concentrated online as stores toe the line on social distancing requirements and limit the number of people allowed in brick and mortar stores. Many businesses have established curbside pickup services, which muddy the waters between in-store and online sales.

Cyber Monday always had the appeal of skipping crowded queues and panic-shopping that Black Friday has become known for, but it tends to be the home of steals on smaller tech gear – the type of goodies that might be on your holiday shopping lists.

How to Score Big on Cyber Monday

The key to winning at these big shopping holidays is always one and the same: plan ahead. There are too many Cyber Monday deals to sift through all in a panicked moment when your purchase is waiting in your virtual cart. 

Come prepared. First: know what you want. There is far too much risk of grabbing up sale items in the moment because the deals look so good, when you didn’t want or need the thing in the first place. Or you can become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of sales and give up without doing your Christmas shopping!

Focus your energy where you need it. Retailers are not keeping their sales secret – check ahead to find out who will be slashing prices on the items you really want. Your kid has been asking for a Nintendo Switch? Great, find all the deals you can on that gaming system and know which deal you’ll try to snag. Been needing a new laptop? Find out which parameters will fit your needs before sale day, and only buy the computer you’ll be happy with down the road. Cheap items still cost you money, so focus on what you actually want or need and go for it.

Lastly, keep in mind that the newest generation gaming systems and brand new tech gadgets will be in hot demand long before Cyber Monday – don’t wait to snap those up until after Thanksgiving. The same goes for the season’s hottest toys. In 2020, Amazon Prime Day has been pushed back to a possible October date, so you may get a good opportunity for sales on there. Cyber Monday sales excel at previous generation gadgets, clothing, and smart home devices.

Which Sites Offer the Best Cyber Monday Deals?

Traditionally, online stores that offer tech goodies have taken the day on Cyber Monday. Amazon is a popular choice, and so are Walmart and Best Buy. These are big players who know what they’re doing, and they’re in competition for your holiday dollars, so choose wisely.

Don’t forget to visit your favorite cash back site to ramp up your savings. Swagbucks can offer cash back deals for up to 15% savings from participating retailers.

In the end, your own research will determine where you shop, and when (there will be more sales throughout the holiday season, including on Green Monday in December). Don’t feel like you have to do it alone – there are plenty of guides out there that will steer you to the best deals of the day. Find them as the big day approaches to plan your attack. Make lists, check them twice, and go about filling your cart with all your discounted goodies.

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