The History of Black Friday

October 10, 2018

The History of Black Friday

Have You Wondered About The History of Black Friday? 

Since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.

This year’s big day is quickly approaching as Thanksgiving is November 22nd which means Black Friday will land on the 23rd. Shoppers, are you ready to start making your list of your favorite online and offline shops to visit and deals to consider? Retailers, are you ready for your consumers with lots of tools for sale to defy the difficulty of the day and deals on other unique gifts

How Did Black Friday Start?

According to two interesting articles I found on history.com and blackfriday.com the initial references to Black Friday (in a retail sense) started in the city of Philadelphia. Apparently, it was coined by the police who were concerned with how congested the streets were with motorists and pedestrians after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Many suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city prior to the big Army-Navy football game that was held on that Saturday every year. Not only would Philly cops not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters would also take advantage of the bedlam in stores to make off with merchandise, adding to the law enforcement headache.

Going back even further in history there is also mention of this term in a non-retail sense. Apparently, it also describes a financial crisis of 1869. This crisis sparked a stock market catastrophe set off by gold speculators who tried and failed to corner the gold market; causing the market to collapse and stocks to plummet.

Why is it called Black Friday?

After the references in the 1950’s by the Philadelphia police force, the term started sticking with the people of Philadelphia. In fact, the city didn’t particularly care for the term and tried to switch it to “Big Friday”.

This didn’t work since the term was already being used by consumers and retailers to reference the upswing of sales thus stores moving from the “red” to the “black”. That was actually an accounting term when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. 

Fast Forward to Black Friday Now

Now we can attribute the Friday after Thanksgiving as one of the biggest shopping days of the year. But even though Friday is a big day, this idea of kicking off the holidays has now turned in to a 4 day shopping extravaganza. Now we have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday/Sunday and Cyber Monday.

According to a pre-holiday survey this year by the National Retail Federation, an estimated 135.8 million Americans definitely plan to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend (58.7 percent of those surveyed), though even more (183.8 million, or 79.6 percent) said they would or might take advantage of the online deals offered on Cyber Monday.

Are you ready for Black Friday????

Sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of the retail industry and let us know in the comments below what YOU are looking for this holiday season!

~ Zoe’ Coulcher, Co-Founder of Defiance Tools

 




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