Here we are with my famous “versus” articles. This time, because Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner, our main event is Cyber Monday vs Black Friday.
Well, we assume most (if not all) of you know what is Black Friday, but considering anything “cyber” is only 30 years old, Cyber Monday is somewhat of a new thing a lot of people don’t know about. So, to analyze its strengths and weaknesses, we need to take a look at both’s origins to understand what Black Friday is all about and what is the history of Cyber Monday
Black Friday History
You all definitely know when is Black Friday. It’s the Friday right after Thanksgiving.
And you probably have an idea of what black Friday is all about: money, right? Yes, it’s a “shopping holiday”, that is, a date that was “created” in order to stimulate commerce. The thinking behind it was: let’s create a date where we pull the prices down for one day only, to stimulate the official start of Christmas shopping.
Why is it called Black Friday?
No one knows really when that way of thinking started but it was in the 1960’s when the term “Black Friday” was coined. Historians say that the Pittsburgh police started describing the date as Black Friday due to the amount of traffic, accidents and fights the shopping frenzy provoked. However, worried about the negative connotation of it, retailers started spinning the story behind the term. They said it was an accounting analogy because when businesses are not turning any profit the accountant would write in red ink, while positive amounts would be written in black ink. Since the Friday after Thanksgiving was a very profitable day – that most of the times turned up bigger profits in one day than in the whole month or trimester – it became “Black Friday”.
Regardless of the Pittsburgh story, the profit origin became more known because, in the end, it’s more relevant. Throughout the nation, profit happens more than accidents and traffic on Black Friday.
Nowadays, the biggest controversy in relation to Black Friday is regarding scams. Some customers claim that stores gouge their price only to lower to its regular price on Black Friday, but call it a big discount. Some have even taken them to court over it.
What is Cyber Monday?
You can say Cyber Monday was born out of more commerce greed but one could argue that it’s a convenience date created because of the demand of Black Friday. And even more rightly so, one could argue that with the severe crisis big box stores are going through - with legends like Toys ‘R’ Us Closing - Cyber Monday became the only way to truly make the holiday profitable. When is Cyber Monday? The first Monday following Thanksgiving weekend.
The term is believed to be coined by Shop.org in 2005 and to explain what is Cyber Monday, we could say that it’s the e-commerce equivalent of brick-and-mortar store’s Black Friday. In fact, some people tried calling it Black Monday, but it never caught on. The actual thinking behind it is something like: hey, didn’t get what you needed on Black Friday? Or you didn’t even go to a store because you didn’t want to face the crowd? The holiday is over but you can still buy stuff without leaving your home, as our Cyber Monday is pulling prices down and offering several good deals for online shoppers.
How much money is spent on Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is still picking up steam, with each year recording bigger profits than the last one. In 2016, Cyber Monday turned a whopping $3.45 billion dollars in sales! The success is so big, brick-and-mortar stores with online operation started getting in the fun and offering “website only” discounts on the products and also on shipping costs. Some of the companies that take advantage the most of Cyber Monday are Amazon, Walmart, Target, Bestbuy, and JCPenney.
But not only commerce takes part in Cyber Monday. Services too! For instance, ourselves at RealEstateAgent.com always join the fun and give out amazing membership discounts for real estate agents interested in joining The OFFICIAL Real Estate Agent Directory®. Hey, it’s a great gift to give if you have someone in your life that is a real estate agent!
But enough of that, right? You want blood! You want to know who wins the Cyber Monday vs Black Friday debacle.
The problem is there’s no real winner. If there’s a winner it’s us, the consumers, who get to enjoy amazing discounts. But you know what? You can come out as a loser – or at least feel like you didn’t make the most out of the Cyber Monday vs Black Friday fight - if you don’t pay attention to something: planning.
Making the best out of Cyber Monday and Black Friday
Here’s the thing: Black Friday is a physical competition within a store, while Cyber Monday is done in the comfort of your home. So you need to plan it accordingly. While Cyber Monday shopping can be done in pajamas, Black Friday is all about agility and protection. You can’t do it with uncomfortable shoes, you better be prepared to move quickly and lift stuff, otherwise, you won’t be able to secure good deals. For both, it’s important to have 90% of your “wants” listed. Get them before anything. Leave room to, on the fly, get 10% of good deals you didn’t think you needed but showed up to your face and you think you shouldn’t ignore.
Price-wise, you should not waste your time with small things on Black Friday. It’s all about getting big things for a little price. TVs, refrigerators, computers… Not the moment to candles, batteries etc. even though the price is excellent and you always need them. Let those essential home items for Cyber Monday! Sure, you can still get TVs and such, but it’s much easier to do it with Cyber Monday. We feel Black Friday is sort of a “hardware” shopping, with products your home has long needed while Cyber Monday is where you buy things that are going to be used as gifts on later occasions – like traditional housewarming gifts you can store for whenever you find yourself not knowing what to bring to a housewarming party or Christmas gifts like books and other stuff that will definitely get regifted down the road.
Nevertheless, if we are to edge one over the other, we’d give it to Cyber Monday because of one aspect: supply. Black Friday shopping is limited to the supply within the store. Even when it’s a big one with a lot of storage room, it’s no match to the online operation of Cyber Monday, which can plug your request to several different warehouses throughout the nation and deliver to your door within a week. Plus, we’re all about the family, and if Black Friday is in such a demand that makes people leave their Thanksgiving dinner early to go stand in line waiting for the store to open… we say “nay” to Black Friday and “yay” to Cyber Monday.
Black Friday in Real Estate
Now, if you’re wondering when is Black Friday in Real Estate… it’s not when you think it was. Sure, if a home buyer – in the middle of all that shopping excitement – wants to see a house during Thanksgiving weekend, chances are he’s a serious one. But the truth is that Thanksgiving weekend is nothing special for real estate sales. You usually get to enjoy the holiday. The super hot date is actually the Sunday – sometimes the whole weekend - sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Yes, real estate has its own best and worst times to buy a home.
So, in the end, it’s up to you to decide who’s the winner here. Is Black Friday the one for you? Or are you more of a Cyber Monday person? Whichever you choose, it’s upon us, so do your planning and happy shopping!