If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck online this holiday, it'll require some unconventional thinking.
While Cyber Monday is often touted as the best day to browse the Web for discounts, new research from Adobe found that in reality, Thanksgiving is the best day for online deals, offering consumers an average discount of 24 percent.
It's followed by Black Friday as the second best day for deals, and then the Monday before Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday ranked fourth, offering an average discount of 20 percent.
"Retailers got really scrunched last year," said Tamara Gaffney, Adobe Digital Index's principal analyst.
That's because there were six fewer days before Thanksgiving and Christmas, causing retailers to proactively slash their prices to grab ahold of shoppers' wallets earlier in the season. Although companies will gain an extra shopping day this year because of the calendar shift, a similarly early push is already taking shape, with retailers including Amazon and Wal-Mart kicking off Black Friday specials over Halloween weekend.
Although many consumers criticize the Christmas creep—in particular, retailers' plans to open even earlier on Thanksgiving Day—the strategy appears to be working. According to a study by Accenture, 45 percent of consumers said they will shop that day this year, up from 38 percent in 2013.
While mobile is a key driver behind this trend, according to IBM, it's not only restricted to online. A forecast released by ShopperTrak last month predicted that for the first time since 2005, Black Friday will no longer be the biggest day for store visits and sales. Instead, as Thanksgiving continues to steal share from Friday, it will be overtaken by the Saturday before Christmas, known as Super Saturday, on those two metrics.
"Retailers are anxious to get to the wallet before the money is gone," ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said.
For her part, Gaffney said she's a proponent of Cyber Monday shifting to the Monday before Thanksgiving, or possibly earlier. For one, this would help retailers avoid logistical nightmares caused by last-minute shoppers; for another, it would help them compete with international companies that are increasingly targeting U.S. shoppers, such as Alibaba's promotions for China's Single's Day holiday on Nov. 11.
"That's actually possibly going to move these promotional activities even earlier," Gaffney said.
All of this is not to say that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer relevant. According to Adobe, Cyber Monday's online sales are expected to hit a record high of $2.6 billion this year, while Black Friday's online sales could rise to $2.48 billion. Both days drastically surpass that of Thanksgiving, which is expected to ring in a record $1.35 billion online.
From a consumer perspective, there are also certain purchases that are better suited for Cyber Monday. According to DealNews, clothing, shoes and beauty items are all cheaper that day than on Thanksgiving or Black Friday.