Black Friday and retail spending - Deepstash

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Black Friday Definition

Black Friday and retail spending

  • Retailers may spend an entire year planning their Black Friday sales. They use this event as their chance to offer special prices on overstock inventory and discounts on seasonal items, such as typical holiday gifts.
  • Retailers also offer significant discounts on top-selling brands of TVs, smart devices, and other electronics, tempting customers in the hope that, once inside, they will purchase higher-margin goods.
  • Consumers often shop on Black Friday for the hottest trending items, which can lead to stampedes and violence in the absence of adequate security.

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Why Black Friday Is So Popular
Why Black Friday Is So Popular

Black Friday is the conventional starting day for the holiday shopping season.

Historically, it’s also been the best day to find great deals on the year’s hottest toys, gam...

The 20th Century: The Parade of Sponsors
  • In the middle of the 20th century, Thanksgiving parades drew crowds in most major cities and in some of the smaller towns too. Many were sponsored by local or national retailers. Back in the day, that meant mostly department stores.
  • By attaching their names to the most visible events on the preholiday calendar, department stores reminded their customers that they were open for business in the coming holiday shopping season.
  • Over time, Thanksgiving parades came to mark the unofficial start of that season.
The Modern Holiday Shopping Calendar
  • Thanksgiving fell on the last Thursday of November since 1863 until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November (starting with 1941), influenced by the request of a powerful coalition of retailers.
  • When Thanksgiving fell on November 30, it left only 24 holiday shopping days and this worried retailers who reasoned that busy holiday shoppers would simply shop less in a shorter season.
  • They promoted the idea that a longer holiday shopping season would be good for the American economy.
The wholesome story of Black Friday
The wholesome story of Black Friday

The wholesome story of Black Friday is that happy shoppers would flood local shops and malls the day after Thanksgiving, and the extra spending would put retailers "in the black" for the ...

The real origin of Black Friday
  • Before retail repackaged Black Friday, it had a more sinister meaning. The earliest use of the phrase Black Friday dates to 1869. It was the day gold prices plummeted and caused a market crash. The economic effects lasted for years.
  • Traffic police coined the phrase Black Friday around the 1950s in Philadelphia. It was used to describe the traffic jams and intense crowding of the downtown retail stores that occurred on the Friday after Thanksgiving day.
  • Local police were not the only ones who dreaded the day. The ratio of salespeople to customers added to the problem as sales associates frequently called in sick on this day to extend their Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Adding a positive spin to Black Friday

Retailers wanted to put a positive spin on the gloomy term "Black Friday."

One well-known PR executive recommended adopting a positive approach that would convert Black Friday to Big Friday. The name didn't stick, but a positive spin on the day eventually paid off.

The Intense Crowding After Thanksgiving
The Intense Crowding After Thanksgiving

In 1960's, the Philadelphia Police Department became so frustrated with the overflowing streets, traffic jams and regular fights caused by the crowds of people that visited the...

Reimagining The Black Friday Frenzy

Retailers weren’t that happy with the name "Black Friday" at first: it was associated with the Great Depression of the 1930s, signaled by Black Thursday, so they tried to reinvent the image of the Black Friday frenzy.

The ‘black’, it was argued, referred to the ledgers used by retailers. For the majority of the year, shops would be ‘in the red’ (losing money) but Black Friday indicated the moment when most retailers would start making a profit, or going ‘in the black’.