What is the Deal with Black Friday?

What is the Deal with Black Friday?

By Floyd Miller

 

 

 

InformationCourtesy of Wiki.com Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States,traditionally the beginning of the Christmasshopping season. On this day, many retailers open very early, often at 4 a.m.,or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the shopping season,similar to Boxing Daysales in many Commonwealth countries. Black Friday isnot actually a holiday, but many employers give their employees the day off,increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiestshopping day of the year since 2005,[although news reports, which atthat time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of theyear for a much longer period of time. The day’s name originated in Philadelphia,where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrianand vehicle trafficwhich would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term began by 1966and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later analternative explanation began to be offered: that “Black Friday”indicates the period during which retailers are turning a profit, or “inthe black.” {{more}}Because Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday in November in theUnited States, the day after occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November.The news media have long described the day after Thanksgiving as the busiestshopping day of the year. In earlier years, this was not actually the case. Inthe period from 1993 through 2001, for example, Black Friday ranked from fifthto tenth on the list of busiest shopping days, with the Saturday beforeChristmas usually taking first place. In 2003, however, Black Friday actuallywas the busiest shopping day of the year, and it has retained that positionevery year since except 2004, when it ranked second. Black Friday is popular as a shopping day for a combination of severalreasons. As the first day after the last major holiday before Christmas itinaugurates the Christmas season. Additionally, many employers give theiremployees the day off as part of Thanksgiving leave, increasing the potentialnumber of shoppers. In order to take advantage of this, virtually all retailersin the country, big and small, offer various sales. Recent years have seenretailers extend beyond normal hours in order to maintain an edge, or simplykeep up with, competition. Such hours may include opening as early as 4:00 a.m.or remaining open overnight on Thanksgiving Day and beginning sales prices atmidnight. In 2010, Toys ‘R’ Us began their Black Friday sales at10:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and further upped the ante by offering freeboxes of Crayolacrayons and coloring books for as long as supplies lasted. Other retailers,like Sears,Aéropostale, and Kmart, began Black Fridaysales early Thanksgiving morning, and ran them through as late as 11:00 p.m.Friday evening. Forever 21 went in the opposite direction,opening at normal hours on Friday, and running late sales until 2:00 a.m.Saturday morning. Historically, it was common for Black Friday sales to extendthroughout the following weekend. However, this practice has largelydisappeared in recent years, perhaps because of an effort by retailers tocreate a greater sense of urgency.Many retailers close to Canada frequently attract cross-border traffic, soin 2009 several major Canadian retailers had their own version of the day byrunning promotions to discourage shoppers from leaving for the U.S. Canada’s Boxing Dayhas often been compared to Black Friday in terms of retailer impact andconsumerism.More recently, Black Friday has been exported to nations outside of North Americasuch as Australia and the United Kingdom by major online retailers like Amazonor Apple.