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Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Which one is better? Here’s what the data says

1 week ago by Jared Russo in Features

November 23, 2018, was Black Friday last year. November 26, 2018, was Cyber Monday. Many stories have been written about the slow decline of Black Friday and there are lots of interesting data on foot traffic, shopping habits, and what items people want most. But which was the better day to go shopping? The answer will surprise, shock, and maybe even horrify you, if you spent time last night fighting over deals. 

The answer is Cyber Monday, but it's close. Only recently are we seeing this become the preferred holiday.

This is a count of every single item on sale at Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN), Best Buy ($NYSE:BBY), and Walmart ($NYSE:WMT), divided between last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We previously wrote about how foot traffic at different stores is not what it once was, and the physical limits of having to stock a store just cannot compete with online shipping and warehouses across the globe. Black Friday is all about moving inventory (lots of stuff) and good deals (deep discounts), but if foot traffic decreases, does that just roll into moving online deals?

The only checkmark in favor of Black Friday is that at many stores still, the average discount by percentage is better. This is the average discount by percentage at Target ($NYSE:TGT) over those two pseudo-holidays. Black Friday is better than Cyber Monday by a hair, in this regard. Marginally, slightly higher. The bar on the left is Cyber Monday, and note how close the percentage points are on the Y-axis. The difference is only .5%! It's just not worth the hassle, Black Friday.

You can read about how Cyber Monday was last year's biggest sales day of the year in 2018 here. With our data of the best-selling and discounted items by vendor, Amazon, Best Buy, and Target combined, you can see that the sales were really close across the board all of the inventory.

You might as well stay home, research over the weekend, and order something Monday morning than rush out to a store after eating turkey to join a mob and miss out on what you want. When the dust settles on this year, we'll double-check to see if this is an ongoing trend now. Maybe Black Friday isn't all it's cracked up to be, stampedes and riots and running out of stock might be out of style.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jared Russo

Jared is an editor for Thinknum, and has been writing for more than a decade. He previously worked at AOL, Vice, Google, Dotdash, and Sirius XM.

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