Black Friday is a term infamous to retailers and shoppers alike across the country – and for good reason. It’s a day that offers fabulous bargains and many say it heralds the start of the Christmas shopping bonanza.
Black Friday is conventionally the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is on November 24th this year.
Black Friday - What's the real history behind it all?
There is a little bit of confusion and debate about the true origins of the day's term,
The term 'Black' Friday was said to be coined back in the 1960s, where the records of retailer's takings were still noted by hand. Red indicated loss in a year, whereas black meant profit. With the Friday after Thanksgiving indicating the start of the shopping season, the rise in shoppers meant retailers would move into the ‘black' – hence Black Friday.
However, there are also other theories.
Another is that Black Friday was called such due to the high level of employee absences from work the day after Thanksgiving, with a researcher from Carolina claiming to have coined the phrase.
Philadelphia police also claim to have coined the phrase, calling it ‘Black Friday' themselves. It was due to the day being just after Thanksgiving and before a popular annual football game and made it the busiest shopping and traffic day in the year for the city. This dates back to 1961 and has the most evidence to support it!
The Friday after Thanksgiving always signalled Christmas in America, as it meant Thanksgiving was done and the next holiday approaching was Christmas. There were often parades of Santa Claus on ‘Black Friday' as he ‘is just around the corner'. These were historically sponsored by big department stores – as they were the richest retailers, and it was a good starting point for their Christmas advertising push.
This was how Black Friday got inevitably attached to shopping and retailers, and it just snowballed throughout the years!
It's even spread now to across the whole weekend, with bargains continuing with the Monday after Thanksgiving, called Cyber Monday, as the date with the highest rate of online shopping in the year. Brown Thursday is even creeping in, with many stores opening late Thursday night to remain open for the full day on Black Friday – but this hasn't been very successful so far in America as it's still Thanksgiving and a holiday!
Last year, the UK spent £1.1 billion on Black Friday and £3.3 billion across the whole weekend, and America spent $52.8 billion (£40.3 billion).
Whatever the history is, Black Friday is only getting bigger and retailers show no signs of stopping. It's a great day to bag some great bargains on rugs for Christmas or even to treat yourself!