Black Friday sales are not to be missed. Here at the JUNIQE office, the weeks leading up to this day are undoubtedly the busiest of the year. You could say it’s November’s version of Advent. Throughout the month, each of our teams—from marketing to editorial—buckles down to ensure that everything runs smoother than honey for our customers.
Enough about business now, however. Let’s talk history! What is Black Friday really, and why is it called that? Time to take a step back into the 1960s.
It’s 19 November 1965 in Philadelphia, USA. The streets are awash with shoppers rushing to bag the latest bargains. Why so busy? It’s the day after Thanksgiving, so people are off work and hastily preparing for the countdown to Christmas. Towns are so congested that the Philadelphian local press and police have begun to call this day, the fourth Friday of November, Black Friday. They derived the term from the 1864 stock market panic induced by plummeting gold prices.
Jump forward two decades to the 1980s, and Black Friday is starting to acquire more positive connotations—thanks to retailers spinning the idea that ‘black’ refers to accounting sheets being in black rather than red. In other words: profit, profit, profit! Profitability is exactly what continues to drive the expansion of Black Friday deals across the US retail market. By the early 2000s, it has become the biggest shopping day of the year!
As with many market-related trends, it took several years for the tradition to catch on in Europe. In the UK, the late-November shopping surge began to take off from 2010 onwards, spurred on by retail giants such as Amazon and Asda. Other nations were soon to follow during the mid-2010s, including Germany, France, the Netherlands and Denmark.
What really favours the growth of Black Friday is the World Wide Web. The internet facilitates promotions by companies both big and small—from multinationals like Apple to start-ups like JUNIQE. So popular are online Black Friday offers, in fact, that they have recently taken on a new dimension: Cyber Monday. Even if in-store stock runs out before the weekend, companies may have much more to offer online the following week. Cyber shopping galore!
Now you know a little more about the retail phenomenon that is Black Friday, you can thank the United States and globalisation for all the Christmas gifts and self-care treats that can be snapped up every year towards the end of November.
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‘Tis the season to be shopping.
Text: Lucy Woods