What is Cyber Monday

As you prepare for holiday shopping, you might consider ways to save money on your purchases. After the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, there are a few different days dedicated to getting discounts on items you may buy as gifts. One of these days is Cyber Monday.

Read on to learn more about what Cyber Monday is, how it differs from Black Friday and how to make the most of your online holiday shopping experience.

Key takeaways

  • Cyber Monday is the Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday each year, and it’s when retailers generally offer online discounts on their products.
  • While Cyber Monday is an exclusively virtual retail event, Black Friday—which takes place the Friday before Cyber Monday—tends to offer more in-person sales.
  • In 2022, Cyber Monday will take place on Nov. 28.
  • To make the most of the Cyber Monday sales, it can be helpful to stick to your holiday shopping list as much as possible and to do your research ahead of time on which products and retailers will have the best deals.

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Cyber Monday explained

Cyber Monday is a popular e-commerce event that takes place every year at the end of November. As the word “cyber” suggests, retailers and small businesses offer online discounts and sales to customers.

Cyber Monday first began on Nov. 28, 2005, when the National Retail Federation originated the term in a press release for their online division, Shop.org. It’s taken place on the Monday after Thanksgiving every year since—and it’s become an international retail trend too.

It’s grown especially popular in recent years, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic but also due to the general convenience it provides. Instead of having to potentially wait in long lines and brave large crowds, consumers can complete their holiday shopping from the comfort of their own homes.

Like the first year, 2022’s Cyber Monday will take place on Nov. 28.

Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday

The main difference between Cyber Monday and Black Friday is when they occur. Black Friday takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday is on the following Monday. Many retailers have started to extend their sales beyond the original 24-hour time frames of both shopping events, so there may be some crossover of dates, depending on where you’re shopping.

The other major difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is where you’ll find the sales. Black Friday discounts can be found primarily in brick-and-mortar stores, although some are also online, while Cyber Monday discounts are exclusively online.

Green Monday vs. Cyber Monday

Another one of the busiest online holiday shopping events of the year is Green Monday. It takes place on the second Monday of December, and in 2022, it falls on Dec. 12. 

The “green” in “Green Monday” often refers to the money shoppers spend before the holidays. Some also consider it to be an environmentally friendly or “green” event because it involves online shopping and not visiting brick-and-mortar stores.

How to navigate Cyber Monday sales

With all of the ads you might see on websites, in emails, in your mailbox or on TV, it might start to feel overwhelming trying to find the right holiday gifts on Cyber Monday. But there are a few steps you can take to help make your shopping experience less stressful.

Stick to your budget

It can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of holiday discounts, but you may end up spending more money than you originally intended. This is when a holiday budget can come in handy. 

If you’ve already compiled a list of the items you want to purchase for your friends and family or you’ve allotted an amount of money to spend on each person, sticking to that plan can help you stay on track. Searching for stores that offer the biggest discounts on items you’re planning to buy—and avoiding adding any last-minute finds—may give you a better chance at making the most of Cyber Monday.

Know when to buy

If you’re shopping for items on Cyber Monday for yourself and your loved ones, it can be wise to familiarize yourself with the best deals at this time of year. Post-Thanksgiving November tends to see the biggest price cuts on items like these: 

  • Electronics such as TVs, computers, printers and cameras
  • Large household appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines
  • Small household appliances like air fryers, coffee makers and toasters 
  • Fitness equipment such as ellipticals and treadmills
  • New vehicles

If you need to replace products in your home, it can be helpful to do your research in advance to determine what to purchase on Cyber Monday.

Track prices before buying

If there are items you know you want to purchase ahead of Cyber Monday, it’s a good idea to have a sense of what their regular prices are outside of the holiday shopping season. That way, you may be able to assess whether it’s worth waiting until Cyber Monday to make your purchases—or if you’ll save more money buying items sooner.

Consider paying with a credit card

The Federal Trade Commission recommends using a credit card when shopping online. That’s because if you get charged for something you didn’t purchase or charged twice for something you bought, it’s typically easier to dispute the charges if you pay with a credit card.

You might also want to consider using a virtual card to make shopping easier and purchase items online without using your actual credit card number.

Cyber Monday in a nutshell

Shopping during the holidays can add up, so making your gift purchases during major sales events like Cyber Monday could save you money. 

But it can be wise to look up the products you want to purchase ahead of time to make sure the deals offered are at the best price point over the course of the year. You may also want to check out deals offered on other discount days, like Black Friday, to try to get the lowest prices during the holiday season.

Want to get ready for this year’s Cyber Monday deals? Learn more about how to earn cash back on your purchases with a Capital One credit card.

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