The History of Black Friday

The History of Black Friday

Whitney - November 22, 2017

On Friday the 24th of November, stores both on the high street and online across the UK are expected to face their biggest shopping day of the year. On this day, they will be offering customers big discounts and deals on their goods and services– and in some cases before and after it – to begin the festive buying period.

 

Despite all the build-up, this is actually a relatively recent event in the UK, and as many of you may already know, it does in fact have its origins in America – so how has it now made its way onto our shores and into our calendars? Here, Courierpoint have done some digging to find the answer to this question and a few others regarding the history of

Black Friday

.


 

What is

Black Friday

?

To start with the basics, ‘

Black Friday

’ as we know it today is an annual retail event in America where shops drop their prices and offer discounts on the Friday after the Thanksgiving celebrations.

There’s some debate as to why this specific date became such a national tradition in the States, with

Black Friday

sales dating back as far as the 1960s. It could be because so many people have holidays around this time – following the National Thanksgiving break – and retailers realised they could draw in the holidaymakers for some pre-Christmas shopping.


 

Where did the name come from?

There’s also a lot of debate as to where the term ‘

Black Friday

’ itself officially came from. One idea is that it stems from retail profits from the early sales going from the ‘red’ into the positive ‘black’; while another more negative association is that it’s named after the manic crowds of shoppers.


 

When did it reach the UK?

There have been

Black Friday

sales in the UK on a smaller scale as far back as 2003 but it only really made a significant impact in 2014 when more major stores had promotions.

Some would argue though that many of these major stores weren’t quite prepared for it. If we take a look back 12 months or so, you might recall seeing or hearing about stories like this article in the Telegraph. There were some shocking scenes including crowd surges at supermarkets and a number of other shops needing to call the police in to help manage the situation.

However, there were also many successful

Black Friday

campaigns in 2016, which is one of the contributing factors to why they’re expected to be much bigger this year.


 

Why is it so important for retail?

The popular belief amongst both American and UK retailers alike is that

Black Friday

marks the official start of the festive buying period. It kicks off the biggest sales period of the year – as people buy gifts for Christmas and then again in the Boxing Day (in the UK) and New Year sales.

The obvious reasoning then regarding why this is so important, is because it’s a massive opportunity to get consumers in to their stores and get them buying. Also, if a store was to offer discounts on

Black Friday

which customers respond well to, there’s the possibility they could then return for the following sales.


 

What will the future be like?

If this year is as successful and as significant as many financial forecasters are predicting it to be, it’s quite likely that the UK will see these sales becoming as traditional as they are in America. What’s more, due to the rise in online shopping, more and more online sales and discounts could be something we start to come across at this time of the year.

There’s also the strong possibility that

Black Friday

will makes its way to other shores. It’s already observed by a number of nations around America such as Canada and Mexico but is now spreading to Europe as businesses in places such as France, Spain and Denmark and more recognise this date. Ultimately though, it will be a matter of wait and see and how successful 2017 really is before we can start to properly make guesses about next year.

One thing that’s for sure though is that

Black Friday

does present itself as a great opportunity for businesses to make big sales. So, if you are a business owner who’s yet to decide on whether or not they’re going to be offering discounts, be sure to have a look through our series of

Black Friday

blogs that detail some useful tips and tricks for SMEs.

 

 

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