Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a marketing professional, or just a consumer, there’s a lot you can learn from the history of black Friday. You’ll see how the holiday came to be, why it’s become so popular, and what we can do to make it better.
Various origin stories have been circulated about the origins of Black Friday. However, the truth is a little more obscure. The term was not commonly used nationally until the late 1980s. Some people argue that the term originated in the antebellum American South, where slavery was still in place. Other accounts have the term coined after a 1929 stock market crash.
However, the true origins of Black Friday have little to do with trade or commerce. In fact, they have to do with consumer culture. In other words, retailers compete to lure shoppers to their stores, where they offer discounts on big-ticket items, such as televisions and computers.
“Black Friday” is now a four-day shopping event, extending from Friday through Monday. It is the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States. It is also followed by Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.
Initially, the term “Black Friday” had a negative connotation. The term was initially used to describe a shopping spree that followed the Thanksgiving holiday. However, this idea was later reinterpreted as a positive one. In other words, retailers made the holiday a good experience for shoppers by offering huge discounts on top-selling electronics.
Changing names of Black Friday might not be in the cards. After all, it is not like retailers would stop advertising and promoting their sales on Thanksgiving Day. This year, they are hoping to get a leg up on competitors by starting earlier and continuing their promotions throughout the month of November.
While the University of Florida cites the existence of Black Friday as evidence of its illustrative quality, no one really believes that this particular event was a foregone conclusion. In fact, student groups are proposing a renaming of the holiday. The name of the event actually has a much longer history than the name itself.
The origin of the term can be traced back to the early 1950s. In that year, the Army-Navy football game was scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving. This meant that a slew of suburban shoppers would head into the city for the big game. This meant that the city’s police force would have to deal with long hours and crowd-related annoyances.
Whether it’s the holiday season or not, people will rush to markets in order to find the best bargains on a variety of merchandise. This is especially true on Black Friday when stores start promoting their door-buster deals on Thanksgiving night. However, this popular shopping holiday has a dark side as well. In fact, some people have been killed during Black Friday’s frenzy.
The most obvious and logical reason for this is the sheer number of shoppers who will be in the marketplace on the day. In fact, the National Retail Federation reports that 165 million people will be out and about in stores over the four-day weekend. That means that the likelihood of getting into a traffic accident is increased significantly. This is why many retailers are taking steps to minimize the number of incidents and injuries during Black Friday.
In 2008, a Walmart employee was killed during a stampede that left 11 other shoppers injured. In 2011, there were three bomb threats on Walmart stores.
During the past few years, the history of Black Friday and Cyber Monday has been a story of retail’s leap into the digital age. As retailers move online, more brick-and-mortar stores close. The number of online-only stores has increased, and more online shoppers are turning to the Internet to complete their holiday shopping.
According to a survey conducted by RetailMeNot, half of the consumers plan to spend less this holiday season. However, the NRF predicts holiday sales will rise between six percent and eight percent. They expect that a strong Canadian dollar will boost frugal north-of-border consumers to American retailers.
The National Retail Federation first coined the term “Cyber Monday” in 2005, to describe the heaviest online spending day of the year. The NRF believed that the spike in sales was due to people shopping from their work computers.
According to a study by Adobe Analytics, half of the purchases made over Thanksgiving weekend came from mobile devices. This was a major jump from the previous year.