Procrastination is rarely celebrated, but some may say that Green Monday is the ultimate online sales event for holiday shoppers who wait until the last minute to purchase gifts.
What Is Green Monday?
Similar to Cyber Monday, Green Monday is an online shopping holiday that takes place on the second Monday in December -- this year falling on Dec. 14 -- in which online retailers offer discounts on popular gifts and promise delivery by Christmas.
Green Monday was coined by eBay in 2007 when the online marketplace giant noticed a repeated boost in sales during this day year after year. Since then, other major retailers including Target, Walmart and Amazon have jumped in to participate, running their own specials in hopes of extending the online shopping season and taking their own bite of late season internet sales.
"Since this is the last Monday with 10 days before Christmas, procrastinating shoppers are more willing to spend a bit more and have a sense of urgency," says Michelle Madhok, online shopping expert and founder of deal site SheFinds.com.
[See: 25 Practical Gift Ideas.]
Green Monday vs. Black Friday
As online shopping grows in popularity, so does this e-commerce event, breaking its own sales records each year. In fact, Green Monday sales grew 31% from 2018 to 2019, with predictions that this year's sales will rake in even more revenue especially since a greater number of people will buy gifts online to avoid crowds. Overall, though, Green Monday still falls behind both Black Friday and Cyber Monday in terms of total sales and store offerings.
The 2020 Holiday Shopping Trends report from Adobe Analytics found that this year's Black Friday sales event hit a new record with consumers spending a total of $9 billion across in-store and online purchases, an increase of over 21% compared to 2019. This also marked the second-largest online spending day in U.S. history, coming in behind Cyber Monday 2019, according to the same study. Comparatively, total spending on Green Monday in 2016 came in at $1.62 billion, according to Statista.com. However, experts predict that retailers will promote a bigger number of deals on Green Monday to increase last-minute sales.
"This year, due to the pandemic, stores are pushing customers to do more shopping online, so there will be a lot of deals," Madhok says.
What Types of Deals Can You Expect on Green Monday?
Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday historically trump Green Monday in terms of volume of deals offered, Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst for DealNews.com, a discount shopping site, says it is still worth checking out, especially if you have a few gifts left to buy. According to data from DealNews, there were a total of 42 deals offered during Green Monday last year, and there will likely be more as the online shopping demand grows, Ramhold adds. She notes that the best deals offered during Green Monday in 2019 were those that allowed you to use a coupon on top of sale merchandise.
"The Home Depot offered up to 60% off and a rare coupon code for an extra 10% off; Shoes.com offered up to 60% off with an extra 35% off, which was the best combined sale we'd seen from them due to the number of included items and the level of discounts; Reebok took 40% off site-wide, which was its strongest site-wide discount of the year; and Lands' End offered 50% off, which tied with their Cyber Monday sale as the best ever," Ramhold says.
Overall savings varied quite a bit from retailer to retailer, with discounts ranging from 20% to as high as 50% off.
"Last year we saw 50% off at LandsEnd.com, 50% off at Eddie Bauer and 40% off at American Eagle Outfitters, and I expect the same savings this year," says Kyle James, founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com, a shopping blog. "As for electronics, last year you could score a 42-inch HDTV for $159 at Best Buy as well as a pretty solid 14-inch HP laptop for under $300."
[Read: Work-From-Home Gift Guide.]
What to Buy on Green Monday
Since this shopping event was created by eBay, expect big savings from the online site, but don't dismiss savings from other big-box retailers, says Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com, a deal site. In the past, stores like Best Buy, Amazon and Target have also participated in this online shopping event, and experts say you can find savings across product categories with the most notable deals in home goods, clothing, shoes and electronics. However, Bodge cautions that it's best to hold off on big-screen TVs for better sales in the new year, since they will be discounted more heavily in January, right before the Super Bowl.
Bottom line: There are plenty of sales to be had -- just make sure you're following these expert-backed shopping tips to score even bigger savings on Green Monday.
Follow deals. If you aren't receiving newsletters from your favorite stores, now is the time to sign up. "Subscribers will receive a decent heads up on a sale and will sometimes even be granted early access," Ramhold says. Brands and retailers also often post their sales and coupons on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so check your favorite store's social media feed for details on current promotions.
Stack savings. Considering Dec. 14 is also Free Shipping Day, Bodge says there will be double the deals offered on Green Monday with plenty of free delivery offers and guaranteed arrival by Christmas. Just make sure you're looking for coupons and cash-back offers to save more. "For instance, Rakuten will be offering 10% cash back on Green Monday for over 500 stores, including Ulta, Macy's and Overstock.com," Bodge says.
It's also a good idea to check your credit cards to see if there are any bonus rewards for stores you plan to shop at over Green Monday, Madhok says.
Add a coupon. Many retailers promoting Green Monday sales will require you to add a coupon at checkout. Don't miss any chance of saving by using a browser extension like Cently, which automatically applies coupons as you shop, says Tiara Rea-Palmer, head of retail partnerships at CouponFollow.com, who also mentioned she's seeing Green Monday deals like 15% off all sale items at Coach with free shipping and 50% off everything at Reebok.
Compare and monitor prices. Before buying anything, run a quick online price comparison to see which retailer has the item for the best deal, but make sure to factor in any potential shipping fees to understand the final price. Madhok also suggests tracking prices even after you purchase, as you may be able to get money back if it goes on sale further. "Sign up for Slice, an app that will monitor the price of your purchases and alert you if you can claim a price adjustment should the price drop," she says.
Choose delivery options carefully. With the sharp rise in online shopping, shipping carriers are facing a big bottleneck in the 10 days leading up to Christmas after Green Monday, and there's potential for delivery delays. Madhok suggests reviewing the expected delivery date before buying, but be prepared that items can be canceled or delayed regardless. For this reason, opting for store pickup or curbside delivery is your best bet at getting last-minute orders in time for the holiday, even if that means driving to a different town where the item is in stock.
Consider digital gifts. When the pressure is on to send gifts in time for the holiday, make sure you're reading the fine print for the expected delivery. Some items are already backordered through January. A great alternative that's easy to buy and send in a pinch is a digital gift.
"Digital gifts like GiftYa, which gives the user spending money for their favorite store, can be personalized on your phone or computer and delivered via text in seconds," Bodge says.
[Read: Best Discount Shopping Apps.]
Shop safely. Cyber crime is high during these last few weeks of holiday shopping since people are distracted, so keep your guard up and shop safely. If a deal looks too good to be true, chances are it is.
"If you're concerned about the legitimacy of a retailer or seller, check out their track record with the Better Business Bureau or do a quick Google search to find reviews," James says.
Meanwhile, Madhock says to confirm that any orders through eBay and Amazon are coming from within the U.S. "There are lots of counterfeits being sold from abroad," she says.