What is Black Friday?

Published: November 3, 2023

Black Friday is an unofficial holiday that falls on the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, with retailers offering deep discounts and promotions to attract customers.

History of Black Friday

Christmas Shopping at the Arndale
Christmas Shopping at the Arndale by David Dixon is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

The term “Black Friday” has been used in a few different contexts throughout history. In 1869, it was used to describe the financial crisis that occurred when two Wall Street financiers attempted to corner the gold market. The crash led to widespread bankruptcy and economic hardship.

In the early 1960s, Philadelphia police officers began using the term “Black Friday” to describe the chaos and traffic congestion that occurred on the day after Thanksgiving, when large numbers of suburban shoppers came into the city to begin their holiday shopping.

By the late 1980s, the term “Black Friday” had become widely associated with the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Retailers began to embrace the term and market their Black Friday sales more aggressively.

Reasons for Black Friday Sales

banner hanging on new york street during christmas
Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels.com

There are a few reasons why businesses offer sales on Black Friday. First, it is a great way to attract customers and boost sales. Retailers know that many people are looking for deals on the day after Thanksgiving, so they offer deep discounts to entice them to shop.

Second, Black Friday sales can help businesses to clear out inventory. Retailers often have a lot of leftover merchandise from the previous season, and Black Friday is a good opportunity to sell it at a discounted price.

Finally, Black Friday sales can help businesses to turn a profit. Many retailers operate at a loss for most of the year, but they can turn a profit during the holiday season. Black Friday sales are a big part of this, as they generate a significant amount of revenue.

Benefits of Black Friday for Businesses

There are a number of benefits for businesses that participate in Black Friday sales. First, it can help them to increase sales and revenue. Second, it can help them to clear out inventory and make room for new merchandise. Third, it can help them to attract new customers and build brand loyalty. Finally, it can help them to turn a profit and grow their business.

Has Black Friday Changed Since the 2020 COVID Pandemic?

Yes, Black Friday shopping has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to a number of changes in consumer behavior, including an increased preference for online shopping. As a result, many retailers have shifted their Black Friday focus to online sales.

Here are some specific changes that have occurred in Black Friday shopping since the pandemic:

  • More people are shopping online. According to Adobe Analytics, online sales on Black Friday in 2021 increased by 17.9% compared to 2020.
  • Retailers are offering more online-exclusive deals. In order to compete with online retailers, many brick-and-mortar stores are offering exclusive deals to customers who shop online.
  • Curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) are more popular. These options allow customers to avoid the crowds and shop at their convenience.
  • The shopping season is starting earlier. Many retailers are now starting their Black Friday sales earlier in the year, in order to capture more sales.

Overall, Black Friday shopping has become more digital and convenient since the pandemic. While some people still enjoy shopping in stores on Black Friday, many more people are choosing to shop online.

Black Friday is a major shopping event in the United States. It is a day when retailers offer deep discounts and promotions to attract customers. Businesses benefit from Black Friday sales because they can increase sales, clear out inventory, attract new customers, and turn a profit.