The holiday shopping bonanza known as Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. It’s always the day after Thanksgiving. While it’s not an official holiday, many people have the day off (except for those who work in retail). Black Friday 2023 falls on Friday, November 24.
But have you ever wondered how it got that ominous-sounding name?
Where Did The Term Black Friday Come From?
Some believe the term was coined in the 1960s when Philadephia public transportation drivers and police officers used it to describe the nightmarish traffic that would snarl city streets the day after Thanksgiving as people began their holiday shopping. But by the 1980s, the term came to mean something different entirely—about businesses turning a profit.
In the old days, accountants entered negative balances (losses) into ledgers using a red pen. Any positive balances (gains) were written in black. Once all the receipts were tallied, and the business started seeing revenue for the year, they’re said to be “in the black.”
Black Friday is clearly an important day for most brick-and-mortar businesses. A big retail push before the end of the year is the boon retailers need.
Because the holidays are a time when people spend more money than at any other time of the year, a so-so year profit-wise could easily be turned around on Black Friday. Consumers are lured into stores with coupons, steep discounts (real or imagined), and time and quantity limits on must-have products—all to encourage people to shop ’til they drop.
Some stores even open their doors at midnight on Thanksgiving night. But as we know, these marketing tactics come at a price: Black Friday has become more synonymous with flaring tempers and fistfights than holiday cheer.
Hello, Cyber Monday!
Not to be left out in the cold, online retailers also hoped to benefit from their own shopping “holiday” around Thanksgiving weekend, and Cyber Monday was born. Now you can hit the stores in person on Friday, then finish your shopping from cyberspace the following Monday. And benefit, they did: according to data from Adobe, shoppers spent a whopping $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday in 2020—a huge increase over 2019’s $9.4 billion.
Many experts thought that economic uncertainty in 2020 would cause consumers to spending less, but there wasn’t much of a change. In 2021, Cyber Monday spending topped off at 10.7, just a little more than one percent less than the year before.
Adobe predicted that 2022 Cyber Monday spending would break records. See the spending results from 2022, including predictions for 2023.
A Young Spending Holiday
Believe it or not, Cyber Monday is relatively young—it was established in 2005 and gave consumers an opportunity to get similar holiday shopping deals from the comfort of their computers.
Actually, from the comfort of their work computers—Monday was chosen rather than Saturday because more people preferred to use the high-speed internet available at work compared to their slower internet at home. So no need to worry about your boss finding out that you’re shopping online on Monday! Chances are she’s buying presents, too.
Join The Discussion!
What are your thoughts about Black Friday 2023 and Cyber Monday?
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