Thanksgiving Day vs Black Friday vs Cyber Monday – When to Buy in 2019

It’s time to get excited for Black Friday 2019! The deals are expected to be going strong from mid-November through Cyber Week, so a lot of people are going to face the question of when to buy – whether it is Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Hopefully this guide will provide some assistance.

We know that early Black Friday sales can be tempting. One of our friends did a bunch of research last year on headphones for black friday, and even he ended up buying a pair too early as he needed a pair and was tempted by a pre-Black Friday deal that was topped about two weeks later. But assuming you can avoid the early rush of pre-Black Friday sales in early November, the question every year over the holiday weekend is what point to pull the trigger and buy!

Our preferred way to make a decision is to do your research from the leaked ads and already released deals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. If you know that there is going to be the best announced sale on Wednesday evening, Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday morning on a product that you want, then I would pull the trigger with confidence when the time comes. I would not wait to see if a better deal develops. This is particularly true if you have concerns that the product is going to sell out.

We once waited on a chromebook on Thanksgiving Day thinking that surely we would be able to find a better sale on Black Friday. There also was not a time limit on the Best Buy deal that we had been following. The result was that they had sold out of the item at the store by the time we made a decision. It was simply a too good to be true price. On the other hand, we ended up buying a device that we love and still got a great price on it – so maybe it worked out at the end.

One of the biggest problem questions in this area is what to do when a manufacturer decides to release a one day sale across all of its products on Amazon on Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day. This has led to a lot of dilemmas for us in the past, because not all of the Black Friday ads may have been announced by stores at that time. Our take: If you know that there has not been an already leaked discount coming later, and it is something that you are going to buy this year anyway (you have already made the decision to buy) and it is just a question of price, go ahead and buy. You can consider not buying if it is a sale by a single store on a single product – this is more likely to be repeated later, particularly when the retailer is not Amazon. This eliminates the need for you to spend all weekend worrying about it and doubting your decision. You get it at a solid price, and you can not doubt yourself later because you might have got it cheaper had you been able to see the future.

The way to think about it is a bit like the stock market. You are never going to buy the lowest price, and if you are buying over the Thanksgiving weekend, you are probably not buying at the highest price. Any good entry point will do, it is what you do after you buy it that will decide whether you got a good value on it.

With those qualifications, here are our thoughts on what you should buy before Thanksgiving, on Thanksgiving Day, on Black Friday morning, and online during Cyber Monday:

Pre-Thanksgiving:

Early Black Friday Travel Deals – Airlines and cruise companies often offer one day “flash sales” in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. We have seen some crazy flight deals between the United States and Europe (for example) if you learn about these 24 hour sales early in the time period before they sell out. If you see a show stopper deal from a particular airline, cruise line or hotel chain that is getting a ton of buzz early in the week, go ahead and pull the trigger. Even though prices may be better overall on Cyber Monday or Travel Tuesday, they aren’t going to necessarily repeat it.

Thanksgiving Eve / Thanksgiving Day Online

Laptops – If you are not looking for a specific computer, the biggest laptop deal discounts are usually during flash sales on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day. They definitely used to be a must purchase during the Black Friday doorbusters but this has given way as the flash sales have been moved forward and items may no longer be available online when you wake up on Friday morning.

Cameras – The deals for cameras in the prosumer and pro camera market including Canon and Nikon cameras are usually available online before Black Friday. The manufacturers also typically run their sales on their website throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. If you see a one day sale offered on Amazon for either Nikon or Canon cameras that span most of their models, you can buy with relative confidence. You may also see big limited time deals on these cameras on Adorama or B&H. If you have your eye on a particular camera and it is not a flash sale, you can often wait and buy it at any point during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving Day Evening (In-Store or Online):

Phones – Walmart and Best Buy usually have the best sales on phones including the Apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy phones (like the Note). Since they are opening up on Thanksgiving Day in the evening, you can usually grab their best deals then in-store. They aren’t necessarily going to sell out or end the deal though, since this is usually a high ticket purchase.

What to Buy on Black Friday morning:

4K and 8K TVs – The best deals on the latest and greatest smart televisions are still usually offered during the Black Friday doorbusters.

Electronics, Home & Kitchen Appliances – The deals on expensive items like refrigerators, washers/dryers and dishwashers are often best as part of the Black Friday doorbusters. On small appliances, you will usually see them selling fastest on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday morning (depending on when the doorbuster sale starts at the particular retailer). For example, the Instant Pot is best bought on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday morning – since it can sell out later in the day.

Clothing (In-Store) – The Friday morning doorbusters are still the best time to get clothing on a big discount (particularly where Black Friday coupons are stacked in the morning).

Toys – If you are looking for the hottest toy as a Christmas gift for your child, then buy it early on either Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday before they sell out. You will occasionally see better sales later in the holiday from specific manufacturers, but you can not count on them happening.

What to Buy on Cyber Monday:

Other Laptops – Although the biggest savings are usually on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday morning for laptops, you can find a far greater selection available for sale online on the Monday after Thanksgiving. If you do not see it on a deep sale earlier in the Thanksgiving holiday, you can safely pull the trigger here knowing that you haven’t bought too early.

Clothing (Online) – With some online clothing retailers offering between 50 and 75 percent off across the board on their products (or maybe with some exclusions), this can be the time to stock up there.

Other Travel – Travel companies love to ramp up the online deals over the weekend and throughout Cyber Week. Studies of airline flights have shown that the biggest discounts across the board are usually on the Tuesday immediately after Cyber Monday, but there will still be plenty of worthy online sales on Cyber Monday 2019.

Random Goods – With Target offering a specific percentage off everything online on Cyber Monday in the past few years, this can be a great time to buy something that doesn’t ordinarily go on sale.

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