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Will Cyber Monday outdo Black Friday in 2016?

It is the season to be jolly; and in the United States, that translates into holiday shopping! While the shopping season has already started, the two important shopping festivals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – have put on their gloves and are in the ring to fight for the most popular shopping day title. Media is rife with predictions and marketing agencies with their surveys.

While the terms still are a talking point, they haven’t been unleashing a shopping frenzy yet. In fact, many retailers have now spread out their promotions over the entire months of November and December, making it a mini gift-buying season with new deals released periodically, rather than concentrating them on a single shopping day or weekend.

What is Black Friday?

The day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Since 1932, on the fourth Thursday of November, most major retailers in the US open very early – as early as overnight hours – and offer promotional sales. This year, Black Friday is on November 25.

Touted as the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, the term Black Friday was coined in 1961. It represented the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being “in the red” to being “in the black”.

And what is Cyber Monday?

The Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, Cyber Monday is a shopping festival created by marketing companies to boost online shopping. In 2005, senior vice-president of the National Retail Federation Ellen Davis coined the term and Cyber Monday made its debut on November 28, 2005.

This year Cyber Monday will be observed on November 28.

Black Friday Vs Cyber Monday

Traditionally, Cyber Monday deals are online-only and offered by smaller retailers. Amazon Black Friday Specials is organised by big retailers, and generally give better deals on technology.

Black Friday sets itself apart from Cyber Monday with a stronger focus on flash sales, doorbusters, and individual product deals. While Cyber Monday is more product-centric, Black Friday has a focus on storewide sales.

According to a newswire report, this year Cyber Monday will become the top shopping holiday of the year by dethroning Black Friday in popularity. Quoting an online survey conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs on behalf of Offers.com, the report indicates that a whopping 89% of respondents are searching for deals or coupons online while holiday-shopping. Consumers are increasingly opting for convenience of online shopping, rather than jostling the crowds for deals.

Holiday numbers

Earlier, Adobe Digital Insights had shared optimistic 2016 holiday predictions. According to the prediction, Black Friday sales are expected to exceed $3 billion, an 11.5% increase over last year. Cyber Monday’s sales will exceed $3 billion, an increase of 9.4% over last year. About 5% of customers will drive 35% of the revenue.

However, there is a twist. A recent news article says that Veterans Day – the first peak of several peak spending days during the holiday season – failed to kick off holiday spending. It reports that the sales were $380 million lower at $1.16 billion. The report, quoting Adobe Digital Insights, indicated that the sales registered a measly one per cent growth year-on-year, when the predicted growth was 16%.

But at end of the day, these are still predictions. Both the events will attract consumer attention during the ultra-competitive holiday shopping.

Upshot of the shopping holiday

When it comes to the faceoff between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is no clear winner. Both can offer huge savings to the informed shopper, and both can now be navigated online. According to experts, there is a simple way to look at it. If a consumer is keen on tech or doesn’t have time on Friday, then he can shop on Monday. At end of the day, the two shopping holidays still offer the most spectacular discounts and deals.

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Amazon ships over a million Indian products to US for Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Indian sellers on Amazon have shipped over a million products to Amazon’s warehouses in the US as the retail giant gears up for its Black Friday and Cyber Monday festive sales during the upcoming holiday season.

The initiative is part of Amazon’s Global Selling programme that allows sellers to ship products across the world through the company’s logistics network. For consumers in the US, it would mean they can get their hands on authentic Indian made products, without having to wait for long periods.

“Our Global Selling program launched in May last year has witnessed Best Cyber Monday Deals 2016 phenomenal success in a short span of time and we have already empowered over 18,000 sellers through this program to have unprecedented reach across international markets,” said Gopal Pillai, Director of Seller Services at Amazon India.

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Amazon claims it has over 25 million Indian products listed on its global marketplace with the programme seeing a 70 per cent increase in the number of sellers from last year. Moreover, the company will also enhance its expedited shipping for products moving from India to the US, enabling customers to have the products delivered within 3-5 days.

12 Black Friday tips and tricks to get you best deals at best price

It’s time for Black Friday 2016 already, and even as you are starting to panic in anticipation of the long queues and the endless noise that is part of the shopping crowd, we tell you how you can ease your woes and make the best of your energy, time, and of course, your money!

12 Tips That Will Ease Your Black Friday Shopping Plans

Try out these expert shopping tips that will help you shop smarter on Black Friday, and let you make the most of your time and effort.

1. Make That Wishlist – Even as you browse through various online catalogues to find out what deals are about to come up, keep selecting your favourite items and add them in the wish list. The best part is that you can always access them on your phone, even as you wait in the queue or run about from store to store.

2. Grab The Apps – Almost all your favourite brands and stores have an app that you can carry with you in your smartphone. So, instead of waiting to be surprised at the store and losing out on precious time, scan the apps and stay updated about what items are going to be available as part of the best deals. It will really help you plan out your shopping time accordingly.

3. Check Specific Black Friday Sites Or Apps – Instead of trying to find out about deals from various brands and stores, go to specific Black Friday sites and apps that can offer you curated information about the most happening deals across stores and sites. You can also take a look at our list of the 45 hottest Black Friday deals for 2016. Some such sites that can offer you all the information on Black Friday deals are RetailMeNot.com and TGIBlackFriday.com.

4. Compare And Hunt – Even before you go all gaga over that particular Black Friday ad that you saw about something you were meaning to pick up, make sure to do a little homework and compare the prices. Use a price comparing site, such as PriceGrabber, to help you compare the prices of the products you are planning to buy. If nothing else, it will show you whether or not you are really getting a good deal on something as part of a Black Friday sale, or if you can skip it and pick up later instead.

5. Go Online – Believe it or not, some of the best deals are even better when you shop for them online. In fact, you will see that the online deals are open even before the deals in store are on, so it is a good way to check for your specific shopping list online first, and then head out to the store. Look out for lightning deals and online ads that will showcase upcoming deals for Black Friday. Not just that, some online sites also allow you to book a particular Black Friday item online and avail the discounts, and later collect it from your nearest local store. In case you do not find it online, you can head out to the store on the main day.

6. Plan Your Electronic Shopping – Some of the best deals on electronic items are always available on Black Friday. So, if you are a gadget freak and love your gaming consoles, tablets, smart phones, smart watches and all of these wonderful goodies, make sure to get your electronic wish list ready and prepare to grab them during the massive sale weekend. The Black Friday deals that you get on electronics are undoubtedly the best you can expect to get through the year, so focus, plan and shop accordingly.

7. Be An Early Bird – If getting more out of the best deal is what you are looking for, make sure to queue up at the store before dawn, or even better, around midnight before the sale is officially even open. Some of the big brands are known to add extra gifts for their early customers by offering additional discounts or free gifts. It could be anything from a gift card to coupons that give you additional discounts on your overall purchase.

8. Split Up To Shop (With Your Group) – It is almost impossible to grab everything alone on your list on a Black Friday. Instead of missing out on great deals and not being able to find what you are looking for, a good way to do this is to plan an outing with friends. Make a list of which person goes to which store and who has to pick up which item Black Friday 2016 Ad. The more people you have in your group, the easier it will be for you to spread out and reach for more.

9. Get A Gift Receipt – Considering the fact that much of the items you buy will also be shared as gifts, it is important that you remember to ask for a gift receipt. A gift receipt will mention the item you bought, as well as the date of purchase, but will not mention the price, as it is a ‘gift’ item. The receipt will make it easier to return the product in case it has to be returned or exchanged for any reason.

10. Start From Thursday, Not Friday – If you are looking to maximise your Black Friday deals, the best day to start hunting is Thursday, and not actually Friday. Even though the biggest and most exclusive deals may be available on the main day itself, most stores have started to open their doors to the special deals a day in advance, which is, Thursday. Also, Black Friday will have the maximum number of shoppers at any given store, so if there are some items that you know will not be on huge discounts but that you still need to buy, you could well pick them up on Thursday. Also, most online stores will start their Black Friday sale from Thursday itself. So make sure to check those out as well.

11. Make Best Use Of Gift Cards – A lot of the brands offer huge benefits in terms of gift cards, when you shop for a particular amount or product. While doing your overall spending, calculate the amount on the gift card and try to use it at the same time, as it can help to bring down the price even further. Not just that, if certain brands or stores do not allow using the gift card on the same day or on the same purchase, you can always exchange it for another gift card at a gift card exchange site, such as Raise.

12. Stay Energised – While this is not really a shopping tip, it is definitely going to help you shop better. Remember that shopping on Black Friday means going without real food for hours, as you stand in queues or run from one store to the other. In such a scenario, make sure you have an early start and stock up on something filling to eat before you head out for your shopping. Remember to carry enough water or fluids to last you for some time, as well as stock up on some fruits, nuts or granola bars to munch on when you feel hungry. After all, it won’t really make sense to stand in a queue for hours, only to faint with hunger or exhaustion just when you are about to reach out for that item.