Cyber Monday 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Year's Deals
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Cyber Monday 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Year's Deals

Prefer to wait out the Black Friday madness and shop from the comfort of home on Cyber Monday? You're not alone. Adobe Digital Insights predicts that retailers will see a staggering $9.4 billion in revenue from Cyber Monday deals this year, up 5.3% from last year to 20% of the season's total. If you're among the growing throngs of online bargain-seekers, here's what you should know before heading online.

'Cyber Week' Might Be More Accurate

Recent years have seen retailers offering steep discounts all weekend before Cyber Monday, and extending them for days afterward. Expect this to continue, especially as retailers try to make up for a shopping season shortened by a late Thanksgiving. Last year, Amazon was a prime example — pun intended — as the online giant sprinkled deals over the course of the week. Target, for instance, will begin its deals on Sunday, and offer different daily specials through Dec. 9. One standout deal is a “buy two, get one free” video game offer on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The bottom line? Don't wait until Monday night if you're itching to spend. A lot of deals will go live as soon as the dust settles from Black Friday. In fact, there's so much overlap between Black Friday and Cyber Monday that savvy shoppers will want to track must-have deals all weekend long.

Some Top Deals Are in Clothing, Travel, and Small Appliances

No, you won't be able to try it on in store, but Cyber Monday is the undisputed king when it comes to discounts on apparel. Expect deals of up to half off sitewide at many retailers, and deals at big-box stores such as $10 sweaters. As in years past, Old Navy will be offering 50% off everything, a deal that begins Sunday. Target will offer special savings on apparel on Thursday, Dec. 5, and 30% off C9 athletic wear the following day.

Don't let travel deals get lost in the rush to put presents under the tree. Hotel rooms, tours, and flights go on sale on Cyber Monday as well as the day after, sometimes known as "Travel Deal Tuesday." Examples this year include up to 60% off tours booked through TourRadar, 20% off Intrepid Travel trips, and up to 70% off all-inclusive beach vacations in destinations including Mexico, Aruba, and the Bahamas from CheapCaribbeanAmtrak will also offer up to 35% off select routes through Cyber Monday.

Kitchenaid MixerPhoto credit: Macy's
Finally, shoppers often overlook giftable small appliances in the Black Friday doorbuster rush for cheap electronics, so expect plenty of Cyber Monday discounts in this category. Still hot this year are air fryers, multi-cookers such as the Instant Pot, high-end vacuums, and always-popular, splurge-worthy classics such as KitchenAid mixers. This year, Walmart will offer a Ninja air fryer for $70, down from $100, and a Shark Ion Robot Vacuum for $230, down from $450.

Toys and Electronics Won't Be Quite as Hot

While we certainly expect some good Cyber Monday toy deals, particularly at warring Amazon and Walmart, toy shoppers shouldn't be quite as concerned that they're missing bottom-dollar deals if they hold off. That's because retailers often slash toy prices as Christmas draws closer because they need to fatten their year-end bottom lines. One of this year’s standout discounts from Walmart will be a KidKraft play kitchen with play food for $90, down from $150; Target is also touting deals on Lego, Barbie, Disney and Hot Wheels toys.

When it comes to electronics, retailers tend to save their deepest discounts for Thanksgiving and Black Friday doorbusters. One Cyber Monday bright spot could be laptops and speakers, as there have been a number of good deals on Cyber Mondays past. Our favorite confirmed deals for this year include a 4K smart TV from Vizio for $280 at Walmart, down from $478; $80 off current-model iPads at Target; and $350 off an Asus R7 gaming laptop at Best Buy. Amazon will continue to heavily discount its own devices, promoting deals like a $50 Echo Show 5, down from $90, and the ever-popular Echo Dot for $22, down from $50.

Blanket Discounts Are the Rule

If you're a fan of a particular retailer, you're in luck. While Black Friday deals are mostly item-specific — think that super-cheap TV, air fryer, or those Beats headphones — on Cyber Monday, expect sitewide discounts as steep as 50% off, particularly from apparel retailers. Some other deals that we saw: 50% off at Gap, 50% off at Reebok, 50% off at Land's End, 40% off at Levi's, and 40% off at Philosophy.

Tips for Amazon, Target, and Best Buy Shoppers

Amazon EchoPhoto credit: Kohl's
Most dedicated Amazon shoppers are familiar with the year-round benefits of paying for Amazon Prime, but one Prime benefit that's often overlooked is early access to special deals. As they did last year, Prime members will get a half-hour jump on select Lightning Deals, which means non-Prime members don’t get a shot at nabbing many popular products at a deep discount.

Sadly, Target shoppers won’t have the advantage of last year’s enviable 15% sitewide discount. But they should keep in mind that RedCard holders can snag an additional 5% on top of everything that is on sale. Remember that Target is offering free two-day shipping during the holidays with no minimum purchase, so that can still make for some pretty sweet deals.

Best Buy will again start its Cyber Monday sales on Sunday and make some discounts available all week long. Most deals will be available in store, too, and some of the best include $70 off the Keurig K-Select coffee maker, $300 off the iRobot Roomba i7, and $300 off a 75-inch 4K smart TV from Samsung. (Just remember: Thanksgiving and Black Friday usually yield better deals on electronics.)

Don't Wait to Buy, and Don't Pay for Shipping

TargetPhoto credit: Target grocery store aisle by nckhtmn (CC BY-ND)
See something you want at a tempting discount? Don't wait too long. While easier comparison shopping is a perk of waiting for Cyber Monday, be sure to put the item in your online cart before looking elsewhere for a lower price. In 2018, would-be shoppers saw out-of-stock messages during 2.4% of product page visits, according to Adobe.

Shoppers who've been on the fence about Cyber Monday deals because of shipping costs can hop down, with major retailers offering free shipping or at least a relatively low spending threshold for qualifying. Target is offering free two-day shipping without any minimum order requirement, as is Best Buy. If you don't have Amazon Prime, a $25 order will get you free standard shipping there, while the magic number is $35 at Walmart for free two-day shipping on most items.

Remember to Look for Hidden Discounts

When discounts are promoted as heavily as on Cyber Monday, it's tempting to assume you're paying rock-bottom. But a browser extension such as Honey can help make sure you're getting the best possible deal by applying coupon codes automatically that might be otherwise missed. It may also be worth using online chats to ask a customer-service rep if there are additional discounts — you have nothing to lose but money.

Scammers Are Still on the Prowl

Shoppers should be especially cautious of online scams around Cyber Monday. Scammers snap up domains that include major retailers' names in the URL and try to convince less-observant shoppers to fork over credit card data. Others will phish for data by sending email confirmations about fake gift orders or touting deep discounts on hard-to-find products. Read up on ways to spot online shopping scams before snagging those too-good-to-be-true "deals."

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