How Black Friday evolved

  • Black Friday become the shopping phenomenon event it is today in the 2000s when Black Friday was officially designated the biggest shopping day of the year.
  • Until then, that title had gone to the Saturday before Christmas.
  • Today, Black Friday is becoming an increasingly lengthy event: a Black Weekend
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MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

  • The sales registered on Black Friday are frequently seen as a litmus test for the overall economic situation of the country and a way for economists to assess the confidence of the average American.
  • Those who follow the Keynesian hypothesis​ that spending drives economic activity view lower Black Friday sales figures as a harbinger of slower growth.
  • Some investors and analysts look at Black Friday numbers as a way to gaugemeasure the overall health of the entire retail industry.
  • Others suggest that it only causes very short-term gains or losses.
Black Friday has two relevant meanings
  • In history, Black Friday was a stock market disaster that happened on September 24, 1869, when, after a period of uncontrolled speculation, the price of gold crashed, and the markets crashed.
  • The contemporary meaning refers to the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, which has been a holiday itself for many employees. It is known as a day full of shopping deals and heavy discounts and is considered the beginning of the holiday shopping season.
  • 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.

The term was made-up by the overworked Philadelphia police officers.

  • In the 1950s, crowds of shoppers and travelers flooded Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving.
  • Philadelphia stores hosted major sales that day, but the city also hosted the Army-Navy football game on Saturday of the same weekend.
  • Because of the crowds, traffic cops were required to work 12-hour shifts, and they were not allowed to take the day off.
  • Over time, the annoyed and fatigued officers started to refer to this dreaded workday as "Black Friday."
  • The term became popular and spread to store salespeople who used "Black Friday” to describe the long lines and general chaos they had to deal with on that day.

There is a theory stating that, when it comes to "Black Friday", the term "black" refers to being profitable, which comes from the old bookkeeping practice of recording profits in black ink and losses in red ink.

Retail businesses should be able to sell enough on this Friday (and the ensuing weekend) to put themselves "in the black” for the rest of the year.

  • For online stores, a similar tradition to Black Friday has arisen on the Monday following Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday is seen as the unofficial start of the online holiday shopping season.
  • The idea is that consumers return to work after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, ready to start shopping.
  • Online shops often promote their sales prior to the actual day in order to compete against the Black Friday offerings at brick-and-mortar stores.
  • In terms of sales, Cyber Monday has proven to be a success among shoppers.

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RELATED IDEAS

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, games, and electronics.

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 year.

The Friday after Thanksgiving was named "Black Friday" and it became the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.

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 stores the day after Thanksgiving that, it’s believed, they coined the name ‘Black Friday’ in the hope of dissuading people from heading to the shops.

It completely failed, but the name stuck.

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