Current Magazine

A History of Black Friday

Posted on the 21 November 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Falling the day after Thanksgiving, ‘Black Friday’ has become synonymous with the start of the Christmas shopping season: on-the-day deals and rock-bottom retail prices. The term was originally coined by Philadelphia police in the 1960s to describe the increase in traffic and bad behavior habitually seen the day after Thanksgiving. Over the next 15 years, the notion of Black Friday was adopted nationwide – also being used to refer to the time of year when retailers saw their books move out of the red and into the ‘black’ – from loss in to healthy profit.

Though Black Friday is often cited as ‘the busiest shopping day of the year, since 1993’, this really only really became the case 10 years later, in 2003 – until then, the busiest shopping day of the year was the Saturday before Christmas. Even now, critics still dispute this claim: the National Retail Federation maintains that while Black Friday may indeed be the busiest day in terms of visitor rates for malls and stores, it still does not generate the greatest number of sales.

Despite the fact that Black Friday is not officially a holiday, many businesses give their employees the day off as part of the Thanksgiving weekend.  Retailers, of course, often have to increase the number of sales assistants they employ during this period, to cater to increased customer demands.

While Black Friday has very much become a part of the run-up to Christmas, and is strongly associated with the Thanksgiving period, it is a concept that has only really grown in popularity over the past decade. Until recently, shops kept their regular opening times; only in the 2000s were these extended backwards first to 6 a.m., then 5 a.m., and 4 a.m. In 2011, a handful of stores decided to open at the stroke of midnight. These so-called ‘doorbuster’ promotions are aimed at customers looking for the best deals and most sought-after items, for those who are prepared to shop through the night. Likewise, closing times were gradually extended to keep up with demand, as frantic shopping trips blighted by long queues and bad traffic began to take more and more time.

Online shopping – with its avoidance of packed stores, long car journeys, and disappointment over empty shelves – has, therefore, become a popular choice for Black Friday consumers. The widespread adoption of mobile devices has meant that potential shoppers can now buy what they want, wherever they are: on the road, visiting friends and family, or indeed from the comfort of their own homes. The availability of goods is easily checked online via a tablet or smartphone, and if one store has run out of stock, another is only a click – rather than a nerve-wracking car trip – away.

Indeed, the growing popularity of online shopping led to the introduction of ‘Cyber Monday’ in 2005 – a day dedicated to technology promotions and online deals for shoppers who were either too busy to physically shop over Thanksgiving, could not find what they wanted, or may have only just received their pay check.

Like store opening hours and methods of shopping, the popularity of certain products has also shifted significantly over time: from furniture and jewellery, to VCRs and TVs, and more recently Black Friday tablet deals. Consumer preferences are constantly changing with fashion and technological innovations. Retailers try to stay attuned to this, and will often be seen attempting to underbid each other on the most popular products – especially electronics like laptops, tablets and televisions.

If recent trends are any indication, Black Friday 2012 is set to grow further still. Now it’s up to you to decide how best to take advantage of all that’s on offer!



Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Black History Month

    Black History Month

    I am sad to find that there are terrible assumptions still made about black people - about black fathers who actively parent their children and are... Read more

    The 27 February 2013 by   Doggone
  • Black History Month: Far from Token

    Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of speaking at a Hackney Liberal Democrat debate entitled ‘Black History Month: Is It Just a Token Gesture?‘  It was a... Read more

    The 31 October 2012 by   Lesterjholloway
  • Actor-centered History

    Actor-centered History

    It is easy enough to ask the question, "How can we best explain the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of German fascism, or the Industrial Revolution in... Read more

    The 24 April 2013 by   Dlittle30
  • Meet the First Man in Army History Who Returned to Combat After an Amputation

    Meet First Army History Returned Combat After Amputation

    Determined…Living Leg-endNY Post: Army Ranger Joe Kapacziewski had volunteered to “take care” of the Taliban snipers who had ambushed his platoon in the pitch... Read more

    The 06 May 2013 by   Eowyn
  • Event of Interest: Protest in Detroit Over Black History Book Dumping

    Event Interest: Protest Detroit Over Black History Book Dumping

    Detroit skyline (Photo credit: Bernt Rostad) It’s never a good thing when books are burned, but what about when books are dumped out of a school district’s... Read more

    The 18 July 2013 by   Rondabowen
  • Neither Black nor White

    Neither Black White

    What hath Rome to do with Lagos? In the portion of the newspaper where religion is freely discussed—the Sunday edition, of course—Jeff Kunerth published a... Read more

    The 30 April 2013 by   Steveawiggins
  • Celebrating Black History Month - Better Late Than Never

    Celebrating Black History Month Better Late Than Never

    On a serious note, too few people seem to realize that amendments continue to be ratified even after a sufficient number of states have done so for an... Read more

    The 18 February 2013 by   Doggone

Add a comment

Paperblog Hot Topics