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History of Black Friday

Nov 21 2021

History of Black Friday

Credits:  Artem Beliaikin

What Does History Have to Do with Black Friday?

I’m sure you know the drill. After a day of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, and football, you head out for the late-night or early-morning opening of your favorite stores. Amazing deals are pasted on their windows and some shoppers camped out overnight just to snag the best deals. It’s Black Friday -- the best time of the year for shopping! But have you ever wondered why it's called Black Friday? How did this tradition begin? And what benefits does it have for businesses? Read on for answers.

Black Friday is over a hundred years old

The stores were in charge of parades that they sponsored in the late 1800s. The end of the parade was when the stores opened their doors and the holiday shopping season commenced. It is hard to say when this tradition began, but by the beginning of the 20th century, it became common for retailers to start their holiday-season sales as soon as Thanksgiving ended.

Black Friday really took off during the 40’s

Thanksgiving was always celebrated on the last Thursday of November until it became evident that doing so would interfere with Christmas shopping. When a five-Thursday November came around in 1939, business leaders petitioned President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving back a week. Eventually, Americans adjusted to celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November, ensuring retailers could always start their holiday sales before December.

The origin of the term “Black Friday”

What you may have heard is that the “black” in Black Friday originated from the day being the one where retailers would finally start making a profit. This story, however, was concocted by retailers to make it sound more appealing. The truth about the name actually comes from Philadelphia, where there is a football game called Army-Navy. Every year on Saturday following Thanksgiving, this game brings in hordes of people to watch the games being played. In the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, this caused a massive issue with the police as they had to deal with all mischievousness and mayhem happening. They referred to this day as Black Friday because it was so bad. But retail outlets in Philadelphia, who typically saw a large increase in sales during this period, started referring to the day as Black Friday as well. In the 1980s, this name went nationwide and shed its less-than-appealing origin story for one that talked about making a profit.

A glorious day for retailers 

The "going into the black" story may be made up, but Black Friday is still quite beneficial for retailers. Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with many retailers experiencing double-digit growth in foot traffic and sales. As it sets the tone for the holiday season, this special shopping holiday accounts for 20% of yearly sales in the industry of retail.

Taking advantage of it

Shopping is a great way to spend time with your family this holiday season. With so many deals available, you can get more than enough presents while staying within budget! Maybe you’re thinking about getting a new laptop or tablet for your loved ones? No matter what your plans are this season, we hope that you have time to enjoy it with your family. You may shop for those great bargains or, who knows, you may choose to celebrate the holidays without shopping at all.

Either way, enjoy!