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Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: What is the Difference?

November 28, 2019 Leituras de 3 min
Is there much of a difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday? More than you think!
Unlimint team
Your payment experts
Unlimint team
Your payment experts

Black Friday is a sales holiday that has managed to cross international borders with some success over the past few years; with 60% of the population in countries like Canada, Brazil and the UK saying they’d be trying to capitalize on the holiday deals.

An interesting takeaway fact as well – the single best kind of offer to provide your customers with are either discounts when using a particular payment method, or the tried and trusted %-off deals!

Just after Black Friday is the considerably younger sales event known as Cyber Monday, which has quite literally exploded in popularity, in spite of only being around for 15 years now.

So what’s the deal with these two holidays? Surely they’re the same kind of thing? Well, yes and no.

Black Friday

To start us off, where does the name ‘Black Friday’ actually come from? It has a couple of origins, actually. The sales event that we now know as ‘Black Friday’ got its start as a retail holiday due to it being the first Friday before Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanks to some petitioning by retailers in the US, Thanksgiving was officially set in stone as being celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, which was put into law in 1941.

What this meant was that retailers and customers would have an additional week to get their shopping done.

One other fact is that it wasn’t originally referred to as ‘the busiest shopping holiday of the year’ until it broke Christmas sales every year after 2001.

Since then, it’s managed to spread across to over 15 different countries, which now have their own sales online and off. Which is pretty impressive considering none of them actually celebrate Thanksgiving.

As for why it’s called ‘Black Friday’ – this is a carry-over from its first use, which was on the New York Stock Exchange; referring to the gold market and attempts by James Fisk and Jay Gould to carve out a corner in the market back in 1869.

Even though the ‘official’ start to Black Friday for brick and mortar and eCommerce businesses is November 29th, there are plenty of retailers out there that start a week or more before then; Amazon is an example for eCommerce platforms that do this.

Cyber Monday

So with a long legacy behind Black Friday, it’s surprising to think that Cyber Monday could emerge alongside it.

It’s especially surprising considering the latter only began back in 2005. The sales event was originally started to provide customers of eCommerce sites to participate in their sales.

So how successful were these attempts? Well from 2013-18, annual sales on Cyber Monday through eCommerce stores had performed relatively well for the first 4 years, bringing in $2.3-3.4bn annually.

2017 & 2018, on the other hand, saw an incredible spike in sales – breaking the $7.9bn mark last year and overtaking Black Friday in the process.

One of the big differences is that Cyber Monday’s sales take place wholly online, in stark comparison to Black Friday; which is a mix of Card, Cash and eWallet payments.

So What’s the Big Difference?

There’s no doubt on anyone’s mind that these are some of the biggest sales events in the western hemisphere. But the big difference comes down to just how far back we trace them, and spending behaviour during them.

Black Friday has continued to prove incredibly popular on an international basis but appears to be undergoing its own kind of transformation.

Convenience and payment flexibility feed into the same equation, which is that brick and mortar sales are losing out more against online eCommerce businesses.

While there’s an increase in the number of people buying either mostly or wholly online, the number is still segmented alongside customers that still hit the stores. As a result, there’s far more division over the different payment methods used.

Cyber Monday, meanwhile, has really shown that there’s an untapped and insatiable appetite out there for online deals, with companies like Amazon proving capable of bringing in $7.16bn during ‘Prime Day’ this year.

And, in direct contrast with Black Friday, Cyber Monday is entirely online, meaning that eCommerce and online payment methods take centre stage.

But what being online also means is that eCommerce businesses are far more likely to generate a profit on retail compared to the ‘old fashioned way.’


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