A brief history of Black Friday

Do you know how Black Friday became the huge shopping event it is today? We’re going to explain it in this article.

Black Friday was created in America

Black Friday historyIn 1863 US President Lincoln proclaimed the official Thanksgiving holiday. Since then, the day after Thanksgiving was the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season in the United States. Back then, this shopping day didn’t have a special name because “Black Friday” was associated with a stock market crash.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Eaton, a Canadian department store, started to celebrate a Thanksgiving Day parade. Subsequently, in 1924 Macy’s started their own Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. It is said that this parade boosted the sales on the following day. For retailers, the day after Thanksgiving got more important every year. But it was not until 1966, when the name “Black Friday” was first mentioned in newspapers.

The name Black Friday

Black Friday nameThere are several theories, why Black Friday has its name. Nobody knows which theory is right.

  • The good numbers: One theory says that Black Friday was such a good day for the retailers, that their bookkeepers could write in black (positive) instead of red (negative) into their books.
  • Traffic jams and people: Another theory says that the streets were so full of people, that you only could see black (a lot of people were dressed in black in these years).
  • Money counting: The next theory says that the sales of the retailers were so good that their clerks got black fingers and hands from counting all the money.
  • Slave theory (disproved): In 2014 an internet meme suggested that on Black Friday slave traders gave discount on slaves and that more slaves were sold on this day than on every other day of the year. This theory is disproved now.

How did Black Friday come to the UK, then?

Black Friday UKBlack Friday is not a British tradition and has nothing to do with Britain history. The reason why Black Friday is a “thing” in Britain is easy: marketing. In 2013, Walmart-owned Asda brought the shopping event into the UK. Asda’s deals got a lot of media attention and was a big success. The year after, many other major retailers wanted to be part of the shopping event and gave discounts, too. Black Friday 2014 got a lot of attention from the UK shoppers. It was too much for a lot of online shops. A lot of them could not handle the massive amount of traffic and were unavailable.

In 2015 the retailers were more prepared for the shopping frenzy. In a lot of shops, the discounts were valid from Monday before Black Friday. There was a full week of shopping bonanza. Last year and the year before last year, the offers were valid even earlier. At a lot of retailers, the first pre-Black Friday deals were valid as soon as mid-November and were valid until Cyber Monday.

We don’t know what will happen on Black Friday UK 2018 yet. But we will keep you informed with our news ticker which you can find on our frontpage.

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