05.11.2021 by Kristine Spure

When you think about it, the terms “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” have become such an integrated part of our language and consumer understanding. However, we rarely stop to think about the meaning behind these dates. 

In this insight report, we take a look at both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the origins of these events, the key differences, important sales highlights, and more. 


Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday 101 

Black Friday is the biggest retail sales day in the US, often considered as the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It follows the Thanksgiving Day holiday on the last Thursday in November. Black Friday used to be mostly based around impressive retail discounts. However, the shopping rush has noticeably moved online in recent years. 

Meanwhile, Cyber Monday is a 24-hour online shopping event created to persuade people to do their shopping online and is now seen as an extension of the Black Friday sales. Cyber Monday falls on the Monday after Black Friday. 

The history behind the names of these events is very interesting. The term “Black Friday” actually dates all the way back to September 24, 1869. Two investors, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, drove up the price of gold and caused a crash. As a result, the stock market dropped 20% and foreign trade stopped. 

However, the first mentions of Black Friday in the context as we know it now occurred around the 1950s in Philadelphia. The phrase was coined by traffic police who described the terrible traffic jams and intense crowding of the downtown retail stores. 

The origin story of Cyber Monday is much more inspiring. The name was first used in 2005 by the National Retail Federation to encourage people to shop online. The term was coined based on research that revealed that the Monday after Thanksgiving was “one of the biggest online shopping days of the year” – and the 12th-biggest day historically.

What’s more – as of 2020, Cyber Monday again has surpassed Black Friday as the preferred day for deals around the holiday season. 

What other key differences are there between Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Learn more in this infographic.



Infogram Insights offers you a deeper look at relevant, newsworthy topics – visualized with Infogram.

Would you like to create a comparison chart or infographic like the one in this post?

Sign up or log in to Infogram – or get 50% off Infogram PRO in our Black Friday early bird special.