In short, Black Friday is a day to grab your bargains, but where does is all stem from and is it really worth it?
WHEN AND WHY
In 2023 Black Friday is on Friday 24th November. One thing we definitely know is that Black Friday originated in the USA, since it has spread and become more popular there are several theories as to how the day earned its name. Many other countries including Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Poland, Germany and Italy have takes on the custom, at present there are around 40 countries participating.
One theory (that every seems to agree on) is that the first Black Friday was in 1869 when two Wall St Investors railway businessman Jim Fisk and financier Jay Gould attempted to monopolize the gold market by buying up as much as they could with the intent of sending prices sky high, however their plan was thwarted by President Grant.
President Grant's brother-in-law Abel Corbin had falsley persuaded Fisk and Gould that he could get the President to keep the government out of the gold market, however when Grant saw what was happening he swiftly ordered the sale of $4 million in government gold, causing the price to collapse. The stock market dropped 20% and farmers suffered a 50% dip in wheat and corn harvest value. This day became known as Black Friday.
The phrase Black Friday has its roots in Philladelphia, with the true origin meaning Black used as a negative conotation, when Police had to work long hours to cover the crowds and traffic as thousands came to the city centre on that day. Later on as the custom has spread there are many other theories including the fact that it the day when retailers turn from red to black, that is from making a loss to profit.
Thanksgiving in the United States is always on the fourth Thursday in November and Black Friday follows this day.
DO RETAILERS REALLY MAKE A PROFIT?
Spending in the UK on Black Friday /Cyber Monday was £6 billion in 2020, £4.8 billion in 2021 and is estimated to drop again by 18% (£850 million). These figures show people are really having to reign in to help with the cost of living crisis and forthcoming tax increases.
In 2021 Amazon won the biggest share of sales for the second year running, however this is not surprising as it was responsible for bringing Black Friday to the UK in 2010. This was taken on by major retailers by 2013 and now almost every store in the UK has a Black Friday sale.
So the answer to the question is Yes, retailers really do make a lot of profit on Black Friday but are the sales worth it for the consumers...
ARE THE SALES WORTH IT?
Many companies such as Emotion Office offer extraordinary Black Friday deals, starting a couple of weeks before and continuing until Friday 2nd December.
If the deals are for a limited time this is one way of knowing they are geniune, but it is important for consumers to be careful they are not being duped.
In 2020 there was an investigation by Which into a number of Black Friday deals and they found that an astonishing 98% of deals advertisied were available for the following 6 months after the sales, and 85% of products had been the same price or cheaper in the previous 6 months to Black Friday.
So make sure you know the going rate for the product you want to buy and check it really is cheaper.
Many companies offer bulk buy discounts, which are usually a good deal, and some furniture retails offer bundle deals, such as a desk and chair together which work out very cost effectively.
Numerous companies and news outlets offer a list of the best deals available which are very informative, but remember all do your homework on price checking.
WHAT IS CYBER MONDAY?
Cyber Monday follows on from Black Friday. It was created by the National Retail Federation in 2005, to encourage online shopping. After Thanksgiving is over and Black Friday shoppers have all gone home, people will then go online to secure deals. Thus, Cyber Monday is always the Monday after Black Friday.
Again, you need to be aware of all the pitfalls, and the advantages of online shopping, A Quick Guide To Online Shopping will help you with this.