For millions of people Black Friday is synonymous with early Christmas shopping and there is a good reason for that. No longer than a week after Thanksgiving and the shopping craze is drawing everyone in. Black Friday is known as the first Friday after Thanksgiving, and it’s one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the United States. Typically it falls anywhere between November 23 and 29. It is not recognized as an official US holiday but many employees have the day off with the exception of those working in retail (for obvious reasons).
The term “Black Friday” first came into use in the 1960s to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. “Black” was a way to mark stores moving from “red” to “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Later, since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the first Friday after Thanksgiving came to be known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.
In the 1960’s, in a non-retail sense, it was also used to describe a financial crisis of 1869: a stock market catastrophe caused by gold spectators who tried and failed to wield the gold market, causing it to collapse and stocks to plummet.
A trend becoming a tradition
As more and more retailers came to realize they could attract large crowds by discounting prices, this marked the conversion of Black Friday into a day to shop for the upcoming Christmas holidays. Some retailers would put their items up for sale on the morning of Thanksgiving, or send online specials to consumers weeks before the actual event. The most in-demand items are electronics and popular toys, as these are the ones that are usually the most drastically discounted. No other time of the year sees prices across everything from home furnishings to apparel – slashed on such a scale.
While it was originally a US-based event, in the past few years this new tradition has travelled oversees to Europe and continued to expand well into Latin as well as Eastern European and Asian countries. Most retailers have started to open up at 5 am or even earlier on Black Friday to accommodate the hordes of people queuing anxiously outside the windows. Most large ad scans, coupons and offers are put online beforehand to give consumers time to find out about sales and plan their purchases. Some companies, however, hold off that information until the last possible moment to release their Black Friday ads to create a buzz.
As consumer buying habits are changing and more consumers are choosing to shop online, retailers are changing their marketing tactics as well. They roll out “door-buster” deals, such as large flat-screen televisions or laptops for as little as a hundred dollars to draw shoppers to their stores.
The benefit of online shopping is that customers can track stock levels and avoid large crowds that often turn violent. It is a good idea to check for pre-Black Friday or special Thanksgiving sales, so you may not even have to wait until the big day to shop at discounted prices. We hope you enjoy Black Friday 2016 and do not forget to take a look on our Star Kit and our special offers!