Tuesday, March 28, 2023

What Is Black Friday And When Did It Begin?

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Picukiusa is the Chief Business Development Officer at Picukiusa, a Magento design and development company headquartered in Redwood City, California. He is a Member of the Magento Association and an Adobe Sales Accredited Magento Commerce professional. Jan is responsible for developing and leading the sales and digital marketing strategies of the company. He is passionate about ecommerce and Magento in particular — throughout the years his articles have been featured on Retail Dive, Hacker Noon, Chief Marketer, Mobile Marketer, TMCnet, and many others.

Black Friday is coming soon. This annual event marks the official start of the Christmas shopping season. When a host of retailers will reduce prices on gift items, including electronics, homeware, and clothes. Some retailers offer early Black Friday discounts before the official event date.

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the day immediately following Thanksgiving. This year, it falls on November 25, this year. In 2021, Black Friday will be on November 26. Black Friday is the Day After Thanksgiving (Friday). This was once the official start of the holiday shopping season. Most stores offer Doorbuster Sales to lure customers to their shops. To grab the best deals of the year, people line up hours before stores open. We have seen a rise in sales online over the last few years.
This sales have been starting way before Friday in the last few years, starting from 2013. Some stores started their sales on Thanksgiving Day. Others began on Monday and Wednesday. It is not surprising that Black Friday sales start on Mondays during Black Friday week. Friday has not been the most profitable day revenue-wise.

Origins of Black Friday

According to some reports, the phrase “Black Friday” was first used in Pennsylvania in the 1960s. This was due to large crowds that day.

David Zyla, author of How to Win at Shopping, the Philadelphia Police Department used this phrase to describe “traffic jams and intense crowding in downtown retail stores,” according to the HuffPost report from 2020.

Zyla stated that one of the earliest uses of the term in print was in an ad in the 1966 issue of, a magazine for stamp collectors.

An archived excerpt of the ad was found in a thread on The Linguist List. When it stated that Friday was the name given by the Philadelphia Police to the Friday after Thanksgiving Day.

It is not a term they use to endear themselves with. “Black Friday” officially opens the Christmas shopping season in the central city. It usually causes massive traffic jams and crowds on the sidewalks, as downtown stores are crowded from opening to close,” the archived excerpt said.

Unsurprisingly, many retailers were not happy with the negative connotation of the term. The phrase “Black Friday” dates back to September 24, 1869, in America, when gold prices dropped and caused panic in the securities markets.

According to Public Relations News (an industry newsletter), public relations professionals tried to make it positive as early as 1961.

It read: “Hardly stimulating good business, the merchants discussed the issue with Abe S. Rosen (a seasoned municipal PR executive)

According to the newsletter, “He suggested adopting a positive approach that would convert Black Friday & Saturday into Big Friday & Big Saturday.”

Although the name “Big Friday” wasn’t a popular term, shoppers started to associate the day with increased discounts, according to the HuffPost.

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Since the inception of “Black Friday”, the idea of linking retail sales to the Friday after Thanksgiving has existed for a longer time than the term “Black Friday”.

A 2013 HuffPost article states that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved the date for Thanksgiving to the penultimate day of November 1939 after being pressured by the Retail Dry Goods Association.

Retailers expressed concern that the shorter holiday shopping season might negatively impact sales. Thanksgiving fell on November 30, 1939.

Many retailers and customers did not notice the change, instead calling it Franksgiving. Congress passed 1941 a law stating that Thanksgiving would be observed every fourth Thursday of each month.

Tips for Black Friday Shopping

– Check store maps. Since the stores are so big, lines are huge and quantities of most desired items are limited, you may want to go prepared so you can get what you are looking for.

– Call your local store to find out when they will start giving tickets, and where (which gate) should they stand in line. Usually, people stand well in advance of store opening hours. Since doorbuster items are in limited quantities, they distribute tickets to those who are ahead in line. For example, if a store has 20 TVs for $249, stores employees will give tickets to first 20 people. When if you get the ticket, you can go to the counter, pay and get the item.

– Decide what you want in advance. You may NOT be able to cover all the stores and may not be able to get ALL the early bird Specials. So decide in advance what is the most important item that you absolutely need.

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