November 20, 2020
Black Friday Super Sales - How It Started and Where It Began
In the world of online and high street retail it has become a household name. Black Friday! We seem to take it for granted and it has been in our vocabulary for what seems like ages now. But how did this annual sales event get its name and what is the history of the biggest sales event of the year?
Did you know that the term "Black Friday" was first used here in the USA on Friday the 24th of September 1869? Wall Street financiers Jim Fisk and Jay Gould bought a large amount of gold in the hope of the price rising and making a huge profit. But what happened was the US gold market crashed and their actions left Wall Street in chaos and bankruptcy.
The term did not actually get used for the post-thanksgiving holiday till a lot later, in the 1950s to be a little more precise when Philadelphia Police had to work extra shifts to deal with the carnage after the Army and Naval football game and influx of shoppers and tourists. Some also thought it was to do with US stores and accounting - we know profits when well are in the black and when losses then they are in the red!
It was thought that many retail outlets and department stores spent most of the year in the "red" and because of the influx of shoppers looking for Black Friday best buys in everything from clothing and fashion, electrical goods and sports and fitness that very quickly the term “in the black” and Black Friday stuck.
So, the term stuck and now in the 21st century we not only see 10’s of millions of Americans racing to the Malls and department stores but also we have Cyber Monday! Online shopping has at least meant we do not see repeats of Walmart and the Black Friday sale in 2013 where frantic customers stormed the outlet and physically fought for televisions and all manner of other discounted goods.
With the change in technology and click and collect for example, those days are thankfully behind us and we can now choose the best Black Friday deals online in the comfort of our armchairs.
Is Black Friday just a home-grown idea? Well actually not anymore. Mexico has its own version “El Buen Fin” which means “the good end”. Whilst other countries including the United Arab Emirates the big deals can always be found on “White Friday”.
Black Friday and Lockdown
How did the pandemic affect US Black Friday sales? Well, it seems all was well all things considered! Reports at the time showed in the first week of November 2020 sales where up as much as 61% (The Guardian 17th November 2020). Online retailers “encouraged” customers with amazing online deals and starting sales earlier to avoid backlogs in delivery. Will be interesting to see how Black Friday deals for 2021 happen.
Finally, before you go rushing headlong to the stores or online remember these useful shopping facts: Set your budget and do not get carried away. Make sure you do your research and actually shop around! Decide on how you are paying as using a credit card helps protect you a little more and finally, know your rights.
Happy shopping and stay safe!