What to Buy on Cyber Monday

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This article by Lindsay Sakraida comes from partner site DealNews.

By now, most savvy shoppers realize that there’s no truth to the misconception that you should shop in-store on Black Friday and wait until Cyber Monday for online deals; deals during the entire season are readily available online. But if online offers are available throughout the entire week, what exactly makes Cyber Monday stand out? Are there certain items that see better deals if you wait? We rummaged through our archives from last year to find out.

Cyber Monday offers a different caliber of deals

For starters, we’ll dispel any myths that Cyber Monday is a) better than Black Friday, or b) a made-up shopping event. Overall, roughly the same quantity of deals were posted to our site on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday in 2011, but the granular breakdown varied among the days.

The percentage of Editors’ Choice deals was much higher on Thanksgiving, reaching 48 percent. Black Friday saw fewer Editors’ Choice deals (39 percent), while Cyber Monday was even lower still with 31 percent of deals ranking Editors’ Choices. While this percentage might paint a negative picture for Cyber Monday, keep in mind that 31 percent is still a much higher ratio of Editors’ Choice deals than any other Monday in November. Compared to the first and second weeks, for example, it’s actually three times as many top deals.

Thus, Cyber Monday is not some mythical unicorn of a shopping event; it’s a very real day for above-average bargains. However, Cyber Monday is not quite as strong as Black Friday either, and, ultimately, Thanksgiving reigns supreme with nearly 50 percent of all deals we researched being worthy of the Editors’ Choice label.

A day for soft goods to shine

Despite the dip in Editors’ Choice deals, there are some categories that are better to shop for on Cyber Monday than during the week before. Apparel and accessory deals overall saw a 27 percent increase in volume from Black Friday week to Cyber Monday, with about a 20 percent jump in Editors’ Choice offers as well. Home and garden deals saw an almost identical jump on Cyber Monday.

Meanwhile, the volume of camera, laptop, tablet, and smartphone deals dropped after Black Friday, while TVs curiously saw a minor uptick. In regards to the latter, it’s interesting to note that Cyber Monday TV deals veered more toward the $1,000-and-over price point, suggesting a slight upswing in high-end sets.

Cyber Monday skips in-store pickup

Not surprisingly, there are nearly twice as many in-store pickup deals available on Black Friday as there are on Cyber Monday. This supports the whole brick-and-mortar doorbuster culture that envelopes Black Friday even now; since retailers want shoppers to physically enter their stores and make unplanned purchases while there, there will always be in-store deals on Black Friday. Come Cyber Monday, however, it would seem as if the retailers don’t employ that tactic, and just give people what they want: deals they can buy from home.

What have we learned?

Contrary to reports that it’s a fictional sales event, Cyber Monday is indeed an exceptional day for deals. However, a wise consumer looking for electronics shouldn’t wait until Monday to start shopping, as Thanksgiving and Black Friday handily beat Cyber Monday in that electronics deals department. Apparel and accessories, as well as home and garden items, on the other hand, will see far stronger deals on Nov. 26 this year.

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