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Black Friday 2023: Date, Best Early Deals and More

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Black Friday is coming up fast, and with tons of deals expected across every major retailer, we’re here to help you make the most of the biggest shopping event of the year. From tips on how to prepare for Black Friday to when and where to shop, plus a roundup of all of the most notable deals, this page will serve as your guide for all of your fall shopping. 

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

Best early Black Friday deals

When is Black Friday?

In 2023, the official Black Friday date is Nov. 24. The major sale event always takes place the day after Thanksgiving is observed in the US, which is on the fourth Thursday of November each year. That being said, Black Friday sales have expanded greatly in recent years, moving from a post-holiday weekend event to a month-long bonanza. 

Read more: Black Friday and Cyber Monday Cheat Sheet

Which stores have Black Friday sales? 

Basically all major retailers — both online and brick-and-mortar stores — have tons of deals and discounts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday each year. That includes the likes of Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart, as well as more specialized retailers such as B&H Photo, GameStop and Dell. 

When do Black Friday sales start? 

Though Black Friday always falls late in the month, Black Friday sales tend to begin much earlier. These days, much of the month of November is dedicated to early Black Friday deals with many of the big retailers launching showing off their Black Friday ads and launching their sales weeks before Black Friday itself. 

As well as sharing online sales, we’ll be rounding up all of the Black Friday store hours and Thanksgiving store closures to help you decide when to shop in person versus online. 

Are the best Black Friday deals available online? 

Generally speaking, yes. The days of lining up outside of your nearest big-box retailer in the early hours of Black Friday are essentially over. The number of deals launching exclusively in stores has been dwindling in recent years, and this was certainly accelerated during COVID-19 when crowds were discouraged, with much of the shopping at this time of year moving online. Some retailers — such as Walmart — are even launching their Black Friday deals earlier for online shoppers before in-person shoppers get a look in. 

Read more: Which Black Friday Sales Are Better? Online vs. In-Store Deals

When is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday takes place on the Monday after Black Friday, so that’s Nov. 27 in 2023. But with Black Friday sales running throughout November, both in-store and online, there’s less delineation of the two sales than in years gone by. 

How long do I have to return Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases? 

This varies by store, but most will offer extended returns windows for items purchases in pre-holiday sales. This should give you some peace of mind when it comes to picking out holiday gifts for loved ones. We’ll be rounding up all of the notable holiday return windows here. 

Why is it called Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

The term “black” has historically been used to denote distressing or calamitous events. The earliest known use of Black Friday for the Friday after Thanksgiving was to refer to the practice of workers calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving in the early 1950s. Around that same time, US police adopted the term to describe the traffic conditions during the first major holiday shopping date. 

After attempts to move to the term “Big Friday” failed, merchants attempted to ameliorate the term Black Friday in subsequent years, suggesting that its origin was not due to the poor traffic conditions the shopping day created, but because the profit it generated put stores “back in the black” in financial terms.

Then, in 2005, the National Retail Federation coined the term “Cyber Monday” because it had noticed a spike in online traffic the Monday following Thanksgiving. At the time, they believed it was because people were making online purchases while they were at work following the holiday so their kids couldn’t see any gift purchases and because work computers usually have faster internet connection. 

There was some chatter about calling the date Black Monday or Blue Monday — because hyperlinks are blue — but eventually, everyone settled on the more futuristic-sounding Cyber Monday. In 2014, Cyber Monday became the biggest online shopping day in the country.

The CNET Deals team will keep you up to date on all of the best deals all year long, so be sure to follow the team on X and sign up for the CNET Cheapskate Deals newsletter.

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