Black Friday vs Cyber Monday: Let battle commence...
By now we're all familiar with the festive phenom from the other side of the pond. Black Friday's origins can be traced all the way back to 1950's. Back then, local police coined the term to describe the unruly mob of bargain-hunters who would descend upon the city of Philedephia on the Friday after Thanksgiving. High Street stores would take advantage of all the extra business by opening early and promoting huge sales whilst the local police were stuck with long, busy shifts that left them dreading the date.
The concept of Black Friday would eventually spread from Philly to New York to the rest of the states. Competition for footfall increased year on year until jaw-dropping and loss-leading reductions lead to the rise of the 'doorbuster' shopper.
Meanwhile, in Britain...
Over here, the term Black Friday had also been coined by the emergency services. Coincidentally, this was to describe our own nightmare on the High Street, though this had little do with shopping (and even less to do with Thanksgiving).
Though since the 1990's, there have been repeated attempts by retailers with origins in the United States, to introduce Black Friday to their UK markets. It wasn't until 2013, when Asda, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, announced a whopping 70% off all electrical goods that consumers really stood up and took note.
However, within minutes, things had turned sour. The now infamous scenes of shoppers staying up all night to queue, and then later fight it out, for the latest electronic gadget lead to a media frenzy.
Far from swaying public opinion against Black Friday, sensational media coverage of the macabre scenes lead to more and more domestic retailers wanting a piece of the action.
Cyber Monday strikes back
The term was first used in the run up to Christmas 2005 when e-commerce gurus began suggesting that the Monday after Thanksgiving was now one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. As it transpired, people returning to 'work' after the holiday weekend still hadn't shaken off the shopping bug.
Before long, online retailers across the world were following in the footsteps of their bricks and mortar counterparts.
Back in Blighty, online giants Amazon and Very.co.uk were aggressively promoting their sales through a mixture of online, TV and even print advertising. Before we knew it, 'Cyber Monday' had entered the British lexicon.
Don't let the name fool you...
Now your left brain is probably telling you that your next laptop, television or smartphone purchase should be left until Cyber Monday. The truth is, if you are hoping to grab a bargain in tech, home appliances or Apple products then Black Friday is in fact the day for you.
This year some Currys PC World stores will be opening their doors as early as 6am after slashing prices on more than 4,000 items and Amazon's Lightening Deals are going into overdrive starting Thursday evening.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you're looking for clothes, shoes, cosmetics or children's toys - you are best off waiting it out until Monday. Clothing retailer Missguided are running a bold 'CYBER50' campaign offering a huge 50% across their range of apparel and Harvey Nichols will be running further online-only reductions on Monday.
Cut to chase 'Clip. Where do I find the best deal?
Like most of life's big questions, there is no simple answer. It depends purely on what you're looking for both in terms of product and shopping experience.
It goes without saying that if you are looking to stay away from the rain, the cold and a mob of doorbusters - you may be best off waiting for the Cyber Monday deals. But if you are looking to escape the winter all together, or at least wrap-up warm against the elements - Black Friday is the day for you.
Fortunately, the days of picking between the two may be numbered as more and more retailers are running both a physical and an online sale in tandem. These often starting on Black Friday and finishing the following Tuesday.
Our advice: Do your research. Every major tabloid and shopaholic blogger will be running their own scoop on where to find the best deals. A little investment in time will pay off dividends, unless you enjoy waiting in the rain for the Apple staff to open their glass door.
Paperclip to the rescue?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending has increased year on year since the start of the decade. Flash sales and impulse buying has left our cupboards bulging with unwanted and/or duplicate Christmas gifts.
Our marketplace allows you to buy, sell and swap items locally for a price that suits both parties. No ads, no rush and no 3am start.
Or why not check out our desktop version here.