BLACK FRIDAY HISTORY: Myths, Facts, & True Meaning

black friday history
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It goes like this: For years, tryptophan-happy consumers would throng local shops and malls the day after Thanksgiving, putting retailers “in the black” for the year. As a result, the Friday after Thanksgiving became known as “Black Friday” and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. However, the phrase was not always used in this manner. Black Friday used to have a much darker connotation before the retail business put a nice little spin on it. Here’s why the term “Black Friday” exists in the first place. Well, read further to know full details about black Friday history.

What Is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, which has traditionally been a holiday for many employees. It is traditionally a day filled with exceptional shopping offers and deep discounts, and it marks the start of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday was a stock market crash that occurred on September 24, 1869, according to history. The price of gold plunged on that day, following a period of frenzied speculation, and the markets tumbled.

A stock market catastrophe in 1869 is also known as Black Friday.


In order to entice shoppers, stores frequently offer special incentives and open their doors early on Black Friday. To stay competitive, some stores have gone so far as to continue operating during the Thanksgiving holiday, while others start providing really avid bargain-hunters have been known to camp out overnight on Thanksgiving to secure a place in line at a favourite store; the most fanatical have been known to skip Thanksgiving dinner altogether and camp out in parking lots for days or even weeks to get great deals. The promotions usually continue through Sunday, and traditional brick-and-mortar stores see a spike in sales. discounts early in November.

Black Friday history

When a day is preceded by “black,” that’s usually an indication that it was a pretty bad day (hello, Black Monday). Black Friday had a similar connotation.

The very earliest use of the phrase Black Friday dates to 1869 and had nothing to do with Christmas shopping. It was the day of plummeting gold prices a market crash, the effects of which were by the U.S. economy for years.

Black Friday as we know it is claimed to have originated in Philadelphia in the 1950s or 1960s when it was coined by traffic cops who loathed the day.

“The word was coined by the Philadelphia Police Department to characterize the downtown retail store traffic jams and heavy crowding,” said David Zyla, an Emmy-winning stylist and author of “How to Win at Shopping.” He pointed out that one of the first usages of the term in print was in a 1966 issue of The American Philatelist, a stamp collectors’ magazine.

A thread on The Linguist List, an online forum run by the Indiana University Department of Linguistics, has an archived excerpt of this ad:

The Friday following Thanksgiving Day has been dubbed “Black Friday” by the Philadelphia Police Department. To them, it is not a term of endearment. “Black Friday” officially kicks off the holiday shopping season in the city, and it’s for causing enormous traffic jams and overcrowding on the walkways as downtown stores are from opening to closing.

Black Friday and Retail Spending

Retailers may prepare their Black Friday sales for up to a year in advance. They use the day to offer super-low pricing on overstock inventory, as well as doorbusters and discounts on seasonal items like holiday decorations and traditional holiday gifts.

Retailers also offer deep discounts on big-ticket items and top-selling brands like TVs, smart gadgets, and other equipment to entice customers into purchasing higher-margin items once inside. The contents of Black Friday commercials are typically so eagerly that retailers go to considerable efforts to keep them from leaking out in advance.

In the absence of proper protection, consumers often shop on Black Friday for the most trending items, which can lead to stampedes and violence. Customers engaged in scuffles, fistfights, and stampedes in stores across the United States on Black Friday in 1983. For example, to acquire Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, the year’s must-have toy, which was also to be in low supply. On Black Friday in 2008, a worker at a large business was trample to death as hundreds of buyers pushed their way inside the store as the doors opened.

Black Friday history fact

The idea of companies holding post-Thanksgiving Day bargains even before the holiday was ““Friday the 13th. For decades, merchants have marketed large deals the day after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season with a bang and draw swarms of shoppers, depending on the fact that many firms and enterprises gave staff that Friday off.

So, what’s the story behind the name? Some claim the day is “Black Friday” in honour of the term “black. Which refers to profitability and comes from the old accounting technique of recording profits in black ink and losses in red ink. The assumption is that retailers will sell enough on Friday (and the following weekend) to cover their costs. For the rest of the year, we’ll be “in the black.”

However, the term was by tired Philadelphia police officers long before it began to appear in advertising and commercials. The day after Thanksgiving in the 1950s, the City of Brotherly Love was with shoppers and visitors. On this particular day, not only did Philadelphia merchants advertise big bargains and the debut of holiday decorations, but the city also hosted the Army-Navy football game on Saturday of the same weekend.

As a result, traffic cops were to work 12-hour shifts to deal with the swarms of motorists and pedestrians. And they were not to take the day off. The irritated cops began to refer to this terrible workday as “Black Friday” over time.

Who coined the name Black Friday?

In the 1950s, Philadelphia police officers were the first to link Black Friday to the post-Thanksgiving period. The day after Thanksgiving, large crowds of tourists and shoppers descended. On the city for the Army-Navy football game, causing chaos, traffic jams, and opportunities for shoplifting.

The city’s police officers were unable to take the day off and instead had to work long shifts to control the carnage. Giving rise to the term “Black Friday.”

As the name gained traction in Philadelphia, some merchants and boosters objected to the negative connotations. And attempted unsuccessfully to change it to “Big Friday.”

After advertising in The American Philatelist journal in 1966, Black Friday became well-known in print. By the late 1980s, the name had spread across the country, and shops had begun to associate it with their post-Thanksgiving discounts.

Today, Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States. With many stores slashing prices on a variety of items in order to boost profits and officially kick off the holiday season.

When did Black Friday start in the UK?

Online retail giant Amazon introduced the concept to the UK in 2010. Promoting a range of discounts and deals to consumers. 

In 2013, supermarket Asda, owned by American retailer Walmart. Later held its own Black Friday sale – one which resulted in chaos as customers physically fought for televisions and gadgets. Following this, Black Friday has grown significantly throughout the UK, with more and more retailers choosing to hold sale events.

Despite the fact that some retailers, such as Ikea and Marks and Spencer. Have chosen not to actively participate in the shopping mania. Many others have taken advantage of the increased sales and have successfully increased their earnings by doing so.

Between 1 pm and 2 pm on Black Friday 2019, Barclaycard hit a new high of 1,184 transactions per second. Up around 9% from the previous year.

Many Black Friday customers have gone online in recent years. Thanks to the rise of smartphones and services like click and collect, while foot traffic has decreased.

Last year, Black Friday coincided with the end of the second national lockdown. Preventing high-street retailers from participating in the sales bonanza. As a result, many shoppers scoured websites and online merchants for the best bargains.

In 2019, however, physical customers increased across UK high streets, retail parks, and shopping malls on Black Friday. According to Springboard, shopping trips grew by 3.3% in 2019 compared to 2018.

Myths and Facts About ‘Black Friday’

The very notion of Black Friday will either make you excited with anticipation. Or make you shudder with memories of bad traffic, crowded shopping, and previous years gone wrong. Take a look at a few misconceptions and truths about Black Friday that can change your mind about what it’s all about. Regardless of your feelings about the approaching shopping bonanza.

#1. Myth: Black Friday is named after the 1929 stock market crash.

The 1929 stock market crash, dubbed “Black Tuesday,” occurred on a Tuesday. Though there was a stock market panic in 1869 is Black Friday. It is unconnected to the Black Friday we know today. Which occurs the day following Thanksgiving.

#2. Fact: 151 million people shopped Black Friday deals in 2015

According to, 151 million shoppers took advantage of Black Friday’s notorious sale deals, though many did so online. Many are staying in on Black Friday to shop on their computers instead, staying away from the rush. 2 a.m. camp-outs, and crazy shoppers.

#3. Myth: Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. 

While it is true that Black Friday brings a massive amount of revenue to retailers. The busiest shopping day of the year is the Saturday before Christmas, also known as Super Saturday.

#4. Fact: Shopping on Black Friday can be dangerous.

Shoppers are anxious to be the first in line for those doorbuster prices, and it appears that if someone cuts in line or the store unlock the doors, all bets are off. Between 2006 and 2014, they recorded 7 deaths and 98 injuries.

#5. Myth: Black Friday deals are better than any other deal throughout the year.

Wrong. In fact, you might have said to yourself, “You call that a deal?” after looking at some of the deals in this year’s circular. The intelligent shopper, on the other hand, realizes that fantastic prices can be all year. Not just on Black Friday. “With discounts starting earlier thanks to Black Friday creep, there are more and more “filler” bargains,” according to The truly amazing bargains are to give shoppers a shopping high and entice them to buy more at a hefty markup. Why not wait until after the rush has passed and hunt for better prices as Christmas approaches?

#6. Fact: There have been no “Cyber Monday” 

This year, stay secure by shopping from the comfort of your own home. While there’s no guarantee you won’t trip over a child’s toy or get attack by a stray cat. It’s still a lot safer than trying to rush through the double doors of your favourite store with hundreds, if not thousands, of other frantic customers.


Many stores sponsored Thanksgiving parades in the late 1800s. The retailers opened their doors after the parades, and the holiday shopping season began. While it’s impossible to pinpoint the precise year this custom originated, it was usual practice for shops to begin holiday sales as soon as Thanksgiving was over by the turn of the century.


When did Black Friday become a tradition?

Police officers in Philadelphia were first to link Black Friday to the post-Thanksgiving period in the 1950s. Large crowds of tourists and shoppers came to the city the day after Thanksgiving for the Army-Navy football game, creating chaos, traffic jams and shoplifting opportunities.

Why is Black Friday Important?

Black Friday is important because this is the shopping day when many retailers have traditionally made enough sales to put them in the black for the year. … The stock market can be affected by having extra days off for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Who caused Black Friday?

The Black Friday gold panic of September 24, 1869, was caused by a conspiracy between two investors, Jay Gould and his partner James Fisk, and Abel Corbin, a small-time speculator who had married Virginia (Jennie) Grant, the younger sister of President Grant.

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