We’ve all heard of the bargain hunters paradise; ‘Black Friday’ but how much do you really know about it?
Take a look at our guide from the history behind the phenomenon to the dark side of the day; we’re sure you’ll have your eyes opened…
Origins of ‘Black Friday’
There are many theories out there explaining the origins of Black Friday and here are a few we handpicked:
- The name ‘Black Friday’ originated over 50 years ago after police officers in Philadelphia described the chaos that ensued the day after Thanksgiving when customers flooded the streets looking for Christmas deals.
- Another belief is that term ‘Black Friday’ originates from the phrase; ‘moving from the red into the black’ when accounting records were hand written and red ink indicated a loss and black a profit. Therefore, ‘Black’ Friday is a chance for retailers to make a profit and move from the ‘red’.
- The Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in 1924 was held on the Friday after Thanksgiving and is believed to be the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season.
How did the UK get on board?
It’s believed that Amazon brought ‘Black Friday’ to the UK in 2010; however Retail Manger of Duchamp, Dan Taylor thinks it was far earlier than this. He recalls seeing Oxford Street closed to traffic and pedestrians flocking to the shops pre Black Friday; “It was packaged as something quite different; as Christmas comes early”.
Asda also came on board in 2013 along with other top names such as: John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Argos following in 2014. Meaning, from 2013 it was a full-fledged part of the UK calendar.
‘Black Friday’ around the World
- France –The French are still new to the phenomenon and was introduced to the idea in 2014 by renowned French marketing agency, R-Advertising after launching their site http://blackfridayfrance.fr
- Brazil- Brazil has benefited from the craze over the past few years. According to a study in the Rio Times it revealed that total sales in 2013 increased to over 50% – not bad.
- Pakistan – Daraz.pk is the company behind pushing the Black Friday campaign over in Pakistan and hoping to make it as success as it is in the western world.
- Dubai- Dubai retail website souq.com renamed the day ‘White Friday’ in its marketing campaigns due to Friday being a sacred day of pray and family.
The dark side of ‘Black Friday’…
It may be seen as a day for bargains but there’s also a darker side; just take a look below:
- In 2008 two people were fatally shot outside of Toys R Us in California.
- On the same day in 2008, Jdimytai Damour a temporary Wal-Mart employee was sadly trampled to death after 2,000 shoppers rushed to gain entry. Five paramedics were also injured in the chaos when trying to resuscitate Me Damour.
- In 2012 two people were shot outside of a Wall Mart in Tallahassee, Florida over a parking space.
- In 2006 nine shoppers including an elderly woman were injured when a crowd rushed to grab gift certificates falling from the ceiling.
Not everyone is a fan!
Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland proposed a motion in the House of Commons which criticised large retailers who choose to adopt the custom which he believed enabled public disorder and wasting police time. It was signed by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn.
Perhaps most surprisingly, one of the most well-known supermarket chains are taking a back seat this year, after its customers said they would prefer discounts throughout November and December. Andy Clarke, Asda’s Chief Executive explains: “Over the last two years we’ve developed an organised, well-executed plan but this year customers have told us loud and clear that they don’t want to be held hostage to a day or two of sales.”
Key ‘Black Friday’ Facts
- It was originally called ‘Big Friday’ but the name never caught on.
- In 1939 president Roosevelt decided to change the official date of Thanksgiving to the second last Thursday of November to extend the Christmas shopping season. However, not everyone agreed and 22 states across American decided to ignore this change for the next two years. Finally, in 1941 congress passed a law which stated that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
- Black Friday is the same day as ‘Buy Nothing Day’ a movement against consumerism.
- £9,375 was spent online per second during 2014’s ‘Black Friday’
- 5.5m goods were ordered on Amazon last years – that’s 64 per second!
- This year it is predicted that over £1bn will be spent during the 24 hours of ‘Black Friday’.
So whether you love the mayhem of ‘Black Friday’ or would rather see it disappear, it look as if it’s here to stay; so you best get used to it! – Roll on November 27th.