Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the kings of cheap shopping and the emperors of the quick deal that began as a single day but grew into a month-spanning colossus, where technology, video games and a whole lot more gets knocked down to a price you’re willing to pay, and sales are starting right now.
After Amazon Prime Day but before Father Christmas sneaks down innumerate chimneys in late December, big companies and crafty parents attempt to pip him to the post by taking part in this enormous annual sale-off.
If you haven’t heard of it, well, you’ve probably been sequestered at the North Pole.
What are Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and has long been thought of as the commencement of the Christmas shopping period in the US.
The sale, which lasts all weekend (although some retailers have now started their deals the week before Black Friday even begins) and heads into Cyber Monday, gives early shoppers the chance to enjoy discounts on their Christmas shopping, as retailers reduce the prices on huge amounts of their stock.
There is next to no difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but some discounts are vaguely more impressive on the Friday compared to the Monday, so keep that in mind when heading into the sale.
It used to be that they were two distinct sales, where Black Friday was a pre-internet opportunity to spend some well-earned money. Cyber Monday breathed new life into the weekend sale thanks to everyone owning a computer, and now we have a bloated sales week bonanza to get all those juicy deals.
Brits spent a staggering £2.4 billion on online sales on Black Friday 2018, almost doubling the total spend from 2017, which is staggering when you think about it. The £1.27 billion spent in 2017 was itself a 12% increase on 2016.
Interestingly, just under half (48%) the deals were snagged on people’s mobile phones, with most shoppers sticking to the comfort of their own sofa rather than venturing out. Gone are the days where bargain hunters would scrap it out over a half-price TV, thankfully.
Brexit also poses an interesting wrinkle to this year’s proceedings. With The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reporting a jump of 9.4% for online shopping in early 2019, you don’t have to be a genius to see that political uncertainty might turn people off trudging to the shops to pick up a discount.
When are Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
The big sale always takes place the day after Thanksgiving in the US. In 2018, Black Friday officially fell on November 23, but 2019’s event will be on November 29, a week later. However, you will want to keep your eyes peeled on retailer websites pretty much throughout November, as deals will be dropping all month, particularly in the week leading up to the big day.
The deals continue over Saturday and Sunday before Cyber Monday comes just three days later, on December 2 this year, with some sales stretching across the entire four-day period before the slightly-milking-it ‘Bounce-Back Tuesday’ lands on December 3 for those who still have money in their accounts. This makes it perilously close to Christmas, so make sure you grab a bargain ahead of time to make the festive period a bit easier on the bank balance.
Which retailers are taking part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Some retailers choose not to take part – booo! – but a great, great many do.
Big names that took part in 2018 are Amazon, John Lewis, Sky, Ebay, Argos, Tesco, Currys PC World, Boots, Debenhams, GAME, Firebox, ASOS, Proporta, Carphone Warehouse, M&S, Very, Toys R Us, ThinkGeek and House of Fraser.
You can grab deals in-store, especially at supermarkets and department stores, assuming you’re willing to batter your way through the legion of walkers… sorry, shoppers, in order to snag yourself one. We prefer online, in the warm, ourselves.