A Brief History of Black Friday

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Shopping

If you eagerly await Black Friday every year, you might be curious to know a little about the history of Black Friday. Black Friday is something that we all look forward to every year, but not many of us know the true history of this gigantic retail shopping event or why it’s such a big deal in a more historical context. We’re going to answer some of the most common questions about Black Friday and explain why it is significant in the world of retail shopping and bargain hunting as well as the US economy.

Where Did It Start?

The best way to truly understand Black Friday is to go back to the beginning. In this case, the geography of the event is important since the original term really didn’t have anything to do with retail shopping at all. The phrase ‘Black Friday’ was first muttered in Philadelphia in the 1960s and it was used to describe a day in which the streets were extremely congested and the city was clogged with travelers.

Black Friday’ has also been used to describe the stock market crash that occurred in 1869. This crisis was the result of some irresponsible investment practices by a few individuals and ended up collapsing the entire market, taking stocks with it. This was an unfortunate event but markets rebounded eventually.

Why Call It ‘Black Friday’?

So, now we understand where the term came from, but why call it Black Friday? Unlike the explanation behind where it all started, this actually has a very logical and understandable reason to it. In the past, when accounting was done by hand on paper, red ink was used to idnicate a loss and black ink was used to indicate that there was profit. So, when talking about retail, a ‘Black Friday’ meant that the profits were moving into the black, or into the positive. The term ‘Black Friday’ as it relates to the retail setting was officially assigned to the Friday after Thanksgiving way back in the 1960s.

Now, each year this day is known as the start to the very busy holiday shopping season during which retailers are able to move into the ‘Black’ because of all the shopping activitiy and revenue that is being generated by the holidays.

Why Is Black Friday Significant?

When large retail chains started to recognize the fact that many people choosed this time of year to shop for their holiday gifts and other products, they began to hype up the event themselves. The reason that these stores are becoming increasingly successful on Black Friday events is that they often offer sales that you don’t see at any other time of the year in an effort to entice shoppers into their store. Some of these sales are highly desirable and draw very large crowds into the store, which obviously turns out to be massively profitable for the large retailers. Shoppers greatly value Black Friday as a day that they can get deals that they can’t get any other time and they see it as an opportunity to stack up on products for themselves or buy Christmas gifts, which will be doled out about a month later.

Recent Black Fridays

While Black Friday was originally intended to remain as an exclusive, one-day event, retailers have been cashing in on it pretty significantly and thus have made the decision to try and expand the event to span more days. There’s not telling whether the population has been resistant to this, but it seems to become more popular each and every year. There are some retailers that open up their Black Friday sales late on Thanksgiving evening and many extend them to as late as Sunday evening. Typically, there are lines of eager shoppers waiting outside the doors to get in and take advantage of the best deals that the retailer has to offer. These lines often become competitive and even violent at times.

Another development that has occurred in recent years is the move to online sales. Many retailers offer many of the same deals online, enabling the consumer to take advantage without ever having to leave the comfort of their home. This provides a convenient and safe way to shop Black Friday sales that also allows you to enjoy the company of your family on Thanksgiving. Many retailers have also taken advantage of the spike in online sales and established ‘Cyber Monday’, which is an extension of their Black Friday sales to online sales. There are some Cyber Monday deals that are restricted to online sales only, enticing millions of Americans to log on and purchase items each year.

Recap

Black Friday is the most important retail shopping event in the United States each year and it accounts for billions of retail dollars spent in a short span of time. It is unlikely to go away any time soon, as consumers love the deals that they are able to get and retailers are fond of the spike in revenue that typically comes with the 4th quarter. Black Friday is sure to remain a huge part of our growing US economy for the years to come both in-store and online.

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