Black Friday: A Simple Explanation
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., and it’s like a mega shopping day. Many folks have the day off, so they hit the stores for super special deals and huge discounts. It marks the start of the holiday shopping season.
People watch how much gets sold on Black Friday because it tells us a lot about how the country’s doing financially. Economists pay attention to it too. They think that if people aren’t spending a lot on Black Friday, it might mean the country’s economic growth is slowing down.
Finding Great Deals During Black Friday
Every year, when Black Friday rolls around, stores both online and in your neighborhood have special sales. Some shops even open their doors super early in the morning to attract shoppers. To stay ahead of the competition, a few stores are now starting to offer discounts even before November ends.
People who really love bargains sometimes camp out overnight on Thanksgiving just to be first in line at their favorite store. Some are so dedicated that they skip Thanksgiving dinner altogether and camp out in parking lots for days, all to grab fantastic deals. These special offers usually last until Sunday, and both physical stores and online shops notice a big increase in sales during this time.
History Behind the Name: Black Friday
The true history of Black Friday, although not as bright as retailers might portray, has a different origin. Back in the 1950s, police in Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that erupted on the day after Thanksgiving. Suburban shoppers and tourists flooded the city before the big Army-Navy football game held every year on that Saturday. Philadelphia police officers couldn’t take a day off; they had to work extra-long shifts managing the crowds and traffic. Additionally, shoplifters took advantage of the confusion in stores, causing headaches for law enforcement.
By 1961, the term “Black Friday” had become popular in Philadelphia. City merchants and boosters attempted, without success, to change it to “Big Friday” to remove its negative connotations. The term didn’t spread nationally until much later, and by 1985, it wasn’t widely used across the country. In the late 1980s, retailers found a way to transform Black Friday into a positive event for both them and customers. They introduced the “red to black” concept, signifying the day when stores turned a profit after Thanksgiving.
This narrative caught on, overshadowing the term’s darker origins in Philadelphia. Over time, the one-day sales frenzy extended into a four-day event and gave rise to other retail holidays like Small Business Saturday/Sunday and Cyber Monday. Stores began opening earlier on Friday, allowing dedicated shoppers to start their hunt right after their Thanksgiving meal.
Analyzing Black Friday for Retail Health
Some experts and money watchers use Black Friday data to measure how well the retail industry is doing overall. But there are others who don’t think Black Friday can really predict how the stock market will perform in the fourth quarter. They believe it only leads to short-term gains or losses.
However, in general, the stock market can be influenced when people have extra days off for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Usually, there’s more buying and selling, and stocks tend to do better the day before a holiday or a long weekend. This is called the holiday effect or the weekend effect, and many traders try to make money from these patterns.
The Changing Face of Black Friday Shopping
Traditionally, stores used to lure shoppers in with exciting in-store deals, ranging from electronics to toys, as early as 5 a.m., marking the start of the Christmas shopping season. However, in recent years, the shopping craze has shifted to the online realm. In 2018, online sales hit a staggering $6.2 billion, a 23.6% increase from the previous year. More and more people are opting for online bargain hunting before the holidays, giving eCommerce retailers a golden opportunity to attract new buyers and boost their sales.
Key insights for Black Friday eCommerce:
- Black Friday shoppers now prefer online shopping over physical stores, with a significant rise in purchases made via mobile devices. On Black Friday, Americans are six times more likely to shop online than on any other Friday.
- eCommerce retailers have reported a remarkable 240% increase in revenue on Black Friday and an even higher surge of 380% on Cyber Monday.
- Online traffic experiences a substantial spike of 220% on Black Friday and 155% on Cyber Monday, compared to regular sales days.
- Extended sales events throughout the day or even longer durations prove to be more effective than short-lived flash sales.
- A whopping 70% of desktop shoppers on Black Friday prefer retailers offering free shipping, influencing their spending decisions.
- The five-day shopping extravaganza presents a perfect opportunity for online retailers to clear their stock. For eCommerce businesses, tapping into this expanding Black Friday market is a significant chance to explore innovative sales strategies and capture a broader audience.
FAQs about Black Friday
Q1: What is Black Friday, and why is it significant in the United States?
A1: Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., known for mega shopping with special deals and discounts. It marks the start of the holiday shopping season and is significant for both shoppers and economists to gauge economic activity.
Q2: How did the term “Black Friday” originate and what was its initial meaning?
A2: The term “Black Friday” originated in the 1950s in Philadelphia, describing chaos after Thanksgiving. Initially negative, it transformed when retailers linked it to turning a profit after Thanksgiving, overshadowing its darker origins.
Q3: How has Black Friday shopping evolved over the years, especially in terms of online shopping?
A3: Traditionally in-store, Black Friday shopping has shifted online. In 2018, online sales hit $6.2 billion, with Americans preferring online shopping, leading to significant revenue increases for eCommerce businesses.
Q4: What kind of deals can shoppers expect during Black Friday?
A4: During Black Friday, both online and physical stores offer special sales, often starting early in the morning. Deals range from electronics to toys, and some stores offer discounts even before November ends.
Q5: How does Black Friday impact the stock market, and what is the holiday effect?
A5: Black Friday can influence the stock market due to increased buying and selling before holidays, known as the holiday effect. However, some experts believe it leads to short-term gains or losses and doesn’t accurately predict long-term market performance.