The History of Black Friday

What is Black Friday?

As we all know, the modern concept of Black Friday comes on the first Friday after Thanksgiving and the start of the Holiday Shopping period. Why the term ‘Black Friday’ you ask? Well, in financial terms, ‘Being in the Red’ means being in debt, and ‘Being in the Black’ refers to someone who is financially stable and not in debt, therefore able to spend their money.

With that in mind, Black Friday now has turned into a massive pre-Christmas shopping period that stretches over a few weeks and even a month with shoppers hoping to get great deals that don’t happen any other time of year.

The History of Black Friday

At its origin, the term ‘Black Friday’ didn’t actually refer to the period of massive sales and shopping at the end of November. In the beginning, the term was coined to refer to the American Gold Market Financial Crisis in September 1869 when 2 financiers bought out all the gold in the country and resold them at extortionate prices.

As mentioned above the term ‘In the Blacks’ definition of Black Friday only gained momentum in the 1980s though, as for the origins and history of the term there are many theories and recordings.

One of our favourites is the story that the police in the American city of Philadelphia started referring to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday because many workers falsely claimed they were ill in order to have the day off and get a 4-day weekend. In the same city, a decade later the concept of Black Friday changed and referred to the police’s 12-hour shift during awful traffic caused by shoppers.

How Black Friday is practised around the world

Although Black Friday started off as an American tradition with its strong ties to Thanksgiving, a holiday that is exclusive to North America, the holiday sale tradition has now spread worldwide with different countries participating in different ways.

In the UK, Black Friday was originally on the Friday before Christmas and was unofficially created by the Police and the NHS to refer to the influx of people who were drunk and disorderly on the run-up to Christmas and therefore more often than not ended up injured or arrested.

In the Middle East, although not labelled as Black Friday (and originally called White Friday), the ‘Yellow Friday’ sales take place annually and are around the same time as Black Friday.

In contrast to the festive nature of Black Friday, this tradition is slightly more cynical in Brazil. Since the start of the tradition in 2010, the event has been given the nickname ‘Black Fraud’ because the Brazilian people have accused the shops of ‘half the double’ where prices are initially doubled and then halved, therefore people only end up paying the original retail price and are misled.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday has almost become synonymous with Black Friday at this point even though it’s a much more recent event.

Cyber Monday, which takes place the first Monday after Thanksgiving, is a part of the unofficial Holiday Shopping season, however as per its name, solely based on online sales. This was created specifically for those who do not want to go out into the crowd during the sale season and can access the sales from the comfort of their home.

It was officially termed ‘Cyber Monday’ and was coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005 to encourage online shopping. In more recent times though, only shopping rather than physical store visits have become increasingly popular and has often overtaken traditional shopping. More often than not you will see one large ‘Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale Week’ which will spread across the 4-days rather than being separate events.

Keep your eyes peeled on the Stone Zone website and social media channels to get some amazing deals and discounts! Don’t miss out!