We asked the experts to find out if Black Friday or Cyber Monday is the better day to shop — here’s what they said

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Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

  • Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means two of the biggest shopping days of the year are just around the corner.
  • But is Black Friday or Cyber Monday better? When it comes to Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday, there’s a lot to consider.
  • Many people think of Black Friday as an in-store shopping holiday, and Cyber Monday as the day to shop online. In reality, online retailers will be offering discounts on both days.
  • A good rule of thumb is that Black Friday is a better time to buy newer, big-ticket items. It’s also the best day to shop in stores.
  • Cyber Monday is a better day to shop for tech deals and smaller gifts. You’ll also see slightly better discounts online.
  • You can also check out all our deal coverage for Black Friday 2019 on Insider Picks, as well as our Coupons page.

For decades, Black Friday was the zenith of bargain shopping. But in the past few years, Cyber Monday has come to replace it as the biggest shopping event in the US.

Is Black Friday or Cyber Monday better for discount buyers? The short answer is that Cyber Monday has better deals overall – but it’s close.

“When comparing the two days last year, we noticed more savings on Cyber Monday, as consumers shifted their purchasing channels online,” said Ted Donath, vice president of communications for the coupon- and discount-shopping browser extension Honey. Honey’s research showed that last year’s Cyber Monday average savings (per user, per purchase) peaked at 21%, while Black Friday savings peaked at 18.5%.

DealNews also reported last year that it posted more “Editor’s Choice” deals on Cyber Monday than it did on Black Friday.

Read more: Check out all our holiday gift guides

That said, overall savings aren’t the only thing to consider. Different products receive better discounts on each day, and the deals that each retailer offers will vary. Once stores have released their Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads, look through them to figure out when (and where) each product you’re looking for will see the lowest price.

Until then, here are a few rules of thumb:

Shop Black Friday for expensive products; shop Cyber Monday for gadgets.

For items you’re likely to buy once a year or less, you’ll probably find better discounts on Black Friday. Anything you’d buy as a gift will likely see better discounts on Cyber Monday.

“Black Friday equals big-ticket items,” said Steve Koenig, Vice President of Research at the Consumer Technology Association. “With big deals on TVs, laptops, game consoles, and more during Black Friday week, many [people’s] purchases end up being for themselves or their own households.”

“TVs and appliances, you tend to get really great deals on Black Friday,” said Vivek Pandya, Digital Insights Manager at Adobe. “Cyber Monday, you see more of a focus on … other types of electronics that are newer niche, experimental technologies.”

On Black Friday last year, the most discounted items were televisions (down by an average of 18%) and computers (17.8%), according to Adobe Analytics. The best discounts on toys, by contrast, came on the Sunday just before Cyber Monday.

The most popular deals of Black Friday 2018 included Nintendo Switch bundles, TVs, iPhones, iPads, Instant Pots, and Roomba robot vacuums, according to sales data from BlackFriday.com. Cyber Monday top sellers also included the Switch, TVs, and laptops, but also included Echo devices, drones, and techy toys.

And Cyber Monday shoppers are a bit more excited about smart home in particular: 17% of respondents to a BlackFriday.com survey said they plan to look for smart home deals this upcoming Cyber Monday, compared to 16% who will look for such deals on Black Friday.

Shop Black Friday for major stores; shop Cyber Monday for secondhand buys.

“For Black Friday, look to the biggest retailers, the ones who can afford to have smaller margins,” said Janet Alveraz, executive editor of the personal-finance publication Wise Bread. “Places like Walmart and Best Buy tend to offer the best deals on Black Friday.” The exception here is Amazon, which tends to have better deals on Cyber Monday – as long as you’re a Prime member.

But if you’re willing to buy products from resellers, Cyber Monday is a great time to shop on eBay. “You’ll find a lot of people reselling items they just purchased on Black Friday,” Alveraz said.

Shop Black Friday for this year’s products; shop Cyber Monday for older generations.

“Latest-generation products tend to be cheaper on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday,” Alveraz said. “Cyber Monday is a terrific time for smart home [devices], TVs, and consoles that are older.”

Shop Black Friday if you plan to visit a store.

Despite Black Friday’s reputation as a brick-and-mortar shopping day, 68% of BlackFriday.com respondents said they’d spend the day shopping online.

Online retailers, including Amazon and eBay, aren’t limited to Cyber Monday; they’ll be offering discounts on Black Friday too (as well as the preceding days). The reverse is not true, however; you can’t walk into a Target on Cyber Monday and expect to find Cyber Monday-specific discounts.

For more information about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, check out our guides to Everything You Need to Know About Cyber Monday, Everything You Need To Know About Black Friday, and What to Buy on Black Friday.