Everything You Need to Know About Shopping for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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A full year has come and gone, and it’s almost time for the biggest shopping event of the year – Black Friday weekend. Shoppers will be preparing for the Christmas shopping season, kicking it all off with the massive sales and great deals retailers are offering for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Whether you are one of the brave ones who are willing to line up outside for hours and rush in to beat the crowds when the doors open in order to get an amazing deal, or if you’re a savvy online shopper who knows where to look for great savings, you’ll want to start thinking about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases now to prepare. It can get a bit hectic leading up to the big sale weekend with so many retailers offering different promotions, so it’s good to go into it with a plan, armed with as much information as possible.  

Here is a guide to shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

What and when is Black Friday?

The 2019 Black Friday sales will happen on November 29. Black Friday is slightly later in the month this year than in previous years. Black Friday occurs each year on the first Friday after the American Thanksgiving holiday, which is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. However, just because the official date for Black Friday has been set on the calendar, it doesn’t mean the sales will be limited to only one day. 


When Black Friday first started in the UK, nobody particularly noticed the deals like the bargain bonanza they are today. Although Black Friday has been a regular occurrence in the United States since the 1940s, it didn’t really catch on in the UK until the first one in 2010. Even then, people didn’t take much notice, since having a discount day before Christmas wasn’t heard of. In 2013, however, Asda (which is owned by American retail behemoth Walmart) made national headlines with their rock bottom Black Friday deals. The next year, other big-name retailers joined in, and over the last few years, it’s become the norm for shops to offer major deals for Black Friday. 

When will Black Friday deals start online?

Because of the increasing popularity and consumer rush to buy discounted goods, retailers offering one-day-only Black Friday sales have started stretching them out into week-long sales, or even month-long sales to try and meet the demands. The Black Friday shopping phenomenon has actually resulted in a noticeable shift in holiday spending. Shoppers used to do all their Christmas shopping in early to mid-December, but because of the rise in popularity of Black Friday, and more and more retailers offering crazy door crasher deals in November, consumer spending habits changed. People are shopping earlier for Christmas, forcing retailers to buy enough product stock for three major spikes in demand: Black Friday, the pre-Christmas shopping, and the January clearance. 


Black Friday deals have also moved online more in the last few years as online shopping becomes the norm. The digital era has spawned a whole generation of Internet-savvy shoppers who know how to do their research and find the best bargains, so to satisfy this consumer group’s demands, retailers have begun offering the same door-crasher deals to their online customers as well. Some retailers even offer specific online-only deals that are different from the ones offered in-store, possibly in an attempt to curb the mad rush of people when the doors open, as well as the fighting that sometimes occurs between customers. 


These online deals can start popping up pretty early on in the month since some stores like to get ahead of their competition and try to have their sales first. Retailers have started their Black Friday sales earlier and earlier, so the beginning of November is now typically when the sales begin rather than at the end of the month, closer to the actual date. 


If you’re trawling the internet for some super savings, you most likely will want to start browsing sooner rather than later. Planning ahead of time allows you to watch prices so you can make sure the deal on an item you see is actually a special discount, as some Black Friday discounts don’t even compare to a regular sales period. If you don’t track the prices over time, you wouldn’t know whether or not the deal being offered was anything exceptional. It’s also a good idea to keep checking back to the retailer if you find an item you want, because they may offer better savings as the month goes on and the countdown to Christmas starts to get closer. 

What should you buy online during Black Friday?

Typically, Black Friday deals are for bigger ticket items that can go on sale for a significant amount less than what you would pay for any other sales, except maybe Boxing Day. Many big, brand name products go on sale, and if you’re trying to plan ahead of time, you can usually tell what will go on sale based on if there are any new versions coming out soon. For example, the PlayStation 4 system will most likely be discounted, since the PS5 is going to be released soon; the Apple Watch probably will be on sale because the Series 5 was launched and stores need to clear their stock of the Series 4; and finally, the Nintendo Switch Lite has launched, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect some big Switch deals as well.


Other big-ticket items that usually go on sale are TVs, laptops, cameras, wireless headphones, vacuum cleaners, as well as furniture and décor.

As there will be thousands of good deals available long before the 29th November, we’ve dedicated a specific Black Friday Deals 2019 page where we’ll be collating the best Black Friday deals. We’ll be keeping this page updated so you can enjoy big savings ahead of the festive season.


What should you not buy during Black Friday?

People can be tempted to spend on anything that’s on sale during the madness of Black Friday deals, but there are a few items you should steer clear from. Clothing is usually just as discounted on Black Friday as any other time, except these specific deals may be item-specific, causing you to spend a lot of time at the clothing rack and in the fitting room – time you could be spending on other bigger items. The absolute cheapest electronics can also be a bust, as they are often off-brand names or very basic versions of well-known models that may not have the right components for your needs.

What and when is Cyber Monday?

The 2019 Cyber Monday will be on December 2. For those who are unaware, Cyber Monday is the first Monday after the American Thanksgiving Holiday, meaning it falls on the same weekend as Black Friday. It’s a nice bookend to the long weekend, with many retailers kicking off the Christmas shopping season by offering even more sales. This year, because Thanksgiving is late in the month of November, Cyber Monday will truly be within the Christmas shopping period, as it will most likely extend for a week or even two after the official date.


Cyber Monday was started in the United States as a way of encouraging more people to shop online. It was first launched in 2005 (when online shopping was a relatively new practice) after research showed the Monday after Thanksgiving was one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The name was coined for a marketing campaign to convince people to shop online that day, which is why it’s called ‘Cyber Monday.’ 


Back in 2005, Black Friday deals weren’t online, so there was a clear distinction between those sales and the sales offered for Cyber Monday. Now, since almost all retailers have online deals for Black Friday as well, the two shopping days seem quite similar. There are some differences, though, which are important to note. Cyber Monday is still perceived by shoppers to be the online shopping day over Black Friday, which is still perceived to be an in-store shopping day. Retailers will often follow this perception and have deals accordingly. 


Furthermore, Cyber Monday is seen as a way for smaller stores to get involved and get a chance to promote their products. Black Friday is a playground for retail giants, so it’s much more difficult for small businesses to compete with them, both in terms of marketing and the discounts they can offer. Although many retailers will have Black Friday deals that run right through until Cyber Monday, shoppers tend to purchase from them earlier in the sale and pay attention to smaller retailers for their Cyber Monday online deals.

What should you buy during Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday deals used to be mainly electronics, but as more retailers are getting on board, the sales have extended to other products as well. Some popular sale items for Black Friday, like TVs, can sometimes be found on Cyber Monday for less, but you risk missing a great sale if you wait and are unsuccessful.


One of the bigger focuses for Cyber Monday is clothing since many clothing retailers offer great deals when you shop from their online stores, as well as free shipping. Beauty products are usually on sale too, with familiar brands offering site-wide discounts. You can also find pretty good travel deals and big discounts from major airlines, hotel chains, and booking websites, which may be able to make your holiday travel plans a bit cheaper.

What should you not buy during Cyber Monday?

There are some items that will be tempting to buy during Cyber Monday but can have better deals during other times of the year if you can wait. That includes fitness equipment, which you will most likely see on sale from Amazon and other fitness brands. If you wait until January, they will be even cheaper, so avoid buying before that. Toys will also get cheaper closer to Christmas, but be warned if it’s the year’s ‘it’ toy, because you don’t want to wait too long and be disappointed and empty-handed if it sells out earlier. Finally, furniture will be on sale as well, but big names like Wayfair have seasonal sales that are equal to, or sometimes better, than the Cyber Monday deals.

Which online retailers are historically the best for deals during Black Friday & Cyber Monday? 

Many big-name retailers and big-box stores compete to offer customers the lowest prices for Black Friday, so considering this, it’s essential to shop around and compare between them to find the best deal. The usual players include Amazon, Currys PC World, Argos, John Lewis, and eBay, as well as Apple.


When it comes to Cyber Monday, the big-name retailers that participate in Black Friday usually also extend their sales to Cyber Monday as well. However, other shops like clothing stores, including Next, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Levi’s, and Nike usually offer great discounts as well.