How does Black Friday get its name? The story behind why it’s the biggest selling event of the year

You wonder how Black friday to his name ? You are probably not the only one.

Each year, the famous weekend of sales that follows Thanksgiving Day and begins on November 26 of this year, sees a significant number of shoppers going to department stores and brands online to try and find the best deals.

Retailers, including Amazon, Curries, John lewis and Argos are expected to launch a range of offers again, with more discounts to follow through Cyber ​​Monday.

Yet many people don’t know the history of the phenomenon and have no idea what the name was used for until it was associated with the pre-Christmas shopping craze.

From the post-game football chaos in Philadelphia to the people who coined the name of the retail event, here is the story of Black Friday.

How did Black Friday start?

The term “Black Friday” was actually first associated with a financial crisis, not sales buying.

Two Wall Street financiers, Jim Fisk and Jay Gould, together bought a significant amount of US gold in the hopes that the overall price would skyrocket and in turn could sell it for huge profits.

On Friday, September 24, 1869, in what became “Black Friday,” the US gold market collapsed and the shares of Fisk and Gould left the Wall Street barons bankrupt.

During the Wall Street crash of 1929, when the New York Stock Exchange lost 6.3% of its value in a single day, followed by 12.8% and 11.8% in the following days, they became known as name of Black Friday, Black Monday and Black Mardi.

It wasn’t until years later that the post-Thanksgiving period was associated with the name.

The history of Black Friday

So why choose a phrase previously associated with stock market crashes to describe a busy shopping day? This is believed to be because, when stores in the United States entered their accounting details by hand, they noted profits in black and losses in red.

Many stores were “in the red” for most of the year, but then “fell in the dark” the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers purchased a significant amount of merchandise at a discount.

An inaccurate folk etymology suggests that southern plantation owners could buy slaves at a reduced price after Thanksgiving in the 1800s. However, the term is unlikely to originate from this period, as claims emerged many years later. the abolition of the slave trade in the United States.

Who invented the name Black Friday?

While the phrase Black Friday was customary among traders, it wasn’t until the 1950s that it began to be more widely used. The Philadelphia police seem to have been the first to adopt them. Large crowds of tourists and shoppers came to town the day after Thanksgiving for the Army-Navy football game, creating chaos, traffic jams, and opportunities for shoplifting.

The police could not take a day off and instead had to work long hours, using the term “Black Friday” sarcastically. As the name spread throughout Philadelphia, some merchants and boosters in the city disliked the negative connotations and tried unsuccessfully to change it to “Big Friday”.

Black Friday later became known in print, after an advertisement was published in The American Philatelist magazine in 1966. By the late 1980s, the term was commonly known across the country and retailers had it. quickly linked to their sales after Thanksgiving.

Today, Black Friday is the biggest business event of the year in the United States, when many stores reduce their prices on a range of products, in order to increase their profits and officially kick off the holiday season.

The phenomenon of sales in the United States

November sales were popular in the United States long before the term Black Friday hit the mainstream.

Macy’s department store launched its famous Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 1924, which encouraged shopping in the city the next day.

The connection became so well established that, when retailers suffered during the Great Depression, President Franklin D Roosevelt made the decision to move the Thanksgiving date a week earlier than normal in 1939, in the hope that sales would stimulate the US economy. Some have dubbed this movement “Action de Franck”.

Shopping after Thanksgiving became even more prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s, with stores drawing huge crowds.

Today, millions of Americans visit stores and search websites to look for the best deals; retailers often continue their sales throughout the weekend, concluding with online deals only on Cyber ​​Monday.

According to a report by Adobe analytics, U.S. consumers spent $ 9.03 billion online for Black Friday 2020, with Hot Wheels, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, and Animal Crossing ranking among the top three best-selling products.

When did Black Friday start in the UK?

Online retail giant Amazon introduced the concept to the UK in 2010, promoting a range of discounts and offers to consumers.

In 2013, the Asda supermarket, owned by U.S. retailer Walmart, later hosted its own Black Friday sale – a sale that resulted in chaos as shoppers physically battled over TVs and gadgets. As a result, Black Friday has grown significantly across the UK, with more and more retailers choosing to host sales events.


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