What is Black Friday?
Black Friday has cash registers ringing every November 29. It’s the day of the year when retailers finally start generating profit, thus going from “being in the red” to “being in the black.” Get out your pocketbook and prepare to shell out some cash, because the Friday after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year!
History of Black Friday
First, there’s Thanksgiving — a day to be grateful for all life’s blessings. The next day, Black Friday, encourages you to give way to your greed by spending as much money as possible. Welcome to the official start of the holiday season! But the story of Black Friday is full of “official” and unofficial versions of its origins, starting with the name.
Black Friday originally referred to September 24,1869 when a scheme to manipulate America’s gold markets backfired resulting in numerous bankruptcies across the country. Even more troubling is the unsubstantiated story that southern slave owners allegedly got a “good deal” if they bought slaves on the Friday after Thanksgiving — “Black Friday,” indeed!
But, the story that’s most well-known about Black Friday is that retailers marked the day when filled coffers from holiday shoppers helped businesses go from being “in the red” to “in the black.” Although popular, this story is also not quite accurate. So, what is the actual story of Black Friday? We have to go to Philadelphia for that.
Philadelphia cops complained about “Black Friday” when they were stuck working off days and overtime the day after Thanksgiving. Packed downtown streets with hordes of shoppers, tourists, and fans in town for the next day’s Army-Navy game, meant that Black Friday was a haven for shoplifters as well as a crowd-controlling nightmare for the police.
Unfortunately, the idea that Black Friday was also a retailers’ headache did not entice Philly’s shoppers. By 1961, Philadelphia retailers decided “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” turning a negative into a positive by way of reinvention. In the 1980s, “Black Friday” became synonymous as a day for big deals in national retail. Today, Black Friday invites you to shop ‘til you drop for the best bargains of the year.
Black Friday - Survey Results
Black Friday timeline
Big predictions for Thanksgiving week profits
Based on preliminary data provided by Black Friday.com, 61% of the buying public will shop on Black Friday this year.
These are the top Black Friday destinations for shoppers
Amazon and Walmart were the places to grab the best Black Friday deals.
Amazon crushes its competitors with online Black Friday sales
Amazon takes in a whopping 45.1% of all online sales, which is three times more than Walmart, Amazon’s nearest competitor.
- September 24, 1869
The first time the term, “Black Friday,” is used
When the bottom falls out of the gold markets due to manipulations by two shady Wall Street financiers, “Black Friday” is used for the first time to describe the day that launched bankruptcies affecting many of America’s economic sectors.
Black Friday FAQs
When is Black Friday 2019?
This year, Black Friday takes place for 24 hours on November 29, the day after Thanksgiving.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when retailers offer some of the best deals and lowest prices of the year.
Do you have to wait for Black Friday to get the deals?
Although merchandisers have gotten adept at tempting the public with “Black Friday” deals prior to the actual day after Thanksgiving, as a rule of thumb, the deepest discounts and best deals are on the official day itself.
Black Friday Activities
Create a new tradition
Establish an annual tradition with friends or family members. Whether it means waking each other up at 4 a.m. to hit the stores at 6 a.m. or staying home in your pajamas and eating Thanksgiving leftovers together, Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to start a new yearly practice.
Donate winter clothes to people in need
Don't want to shop on Black Friday? Gather up all the winter items you no longer use and deliver them to your local shelter or thrift store. With winter just around the corner, needy families will be grateful to receive the extra help.
Wait in line with family and friends
If you’re really not looking forward to a cold, overnight stay in a tent but you can’t watch the Super Bowl without a new 55 inch flat screen; get friends and fam to hang out with you! Bring some playing cards, dominoes or chess, crank up the music and lay out a spread of Thanksgiving leftovers for a fun, new Black Friday tradition!
Take The Black Friday Quiz
Why We Love Black Friday
It's an integral part of the American experience
Participation in the Black Friday madness is a rite of passage for all Americans. Doorbusters, camping out in front of the store in the wee hours of the morning, long lines, shouting matches — they're are all a part of the American Black Friday experience.
It helps us bond
For many Americans, Black Friday isn't so much about the shopping as the tradition of getting up before the sun rises and doing a fun activity together with friends or family members. (And later, yeah, it’s totally about the shopping!)
It gives us seriously great deals
Black Friday may be the holiday we love to hate, but the deals are undeniably awesome. Even those of us who hate to shop are willing to step outside of our comfort zone on Black Friday, if it means we get that TV for 75% off!