The biggest shopping day of the year in the world’s largest economy has landed.
Every year, full from their hearty Thanksgiving feasts, millions of US shoppers gravitate to stores across the country on the Friday after the famed US holiday, in hopes of bagging a bargain or nailing their Christmas shopping.
But, in addition to being well-known for being one of the most important retail and spending events in the United States, the biggest retail day of the year also has a significant impact on various markets and economies.
Traders and investor confidence are both affected by whether or not expectations are met or exceeded, results which are later reflected in the stock prices of the retailers demonstrating strong post-Black Friday sales.
However, while we wait to learn if Black Friday profits will indeed help to boost the global economy, here are some little Black Friday facts to entertain you for the day.
In no particular order…
Stock Market Crashes!
In the 1800s, the term “Black Friday” referred to the stock market crash. The term, as we know it now, was first used on the 24th September 1869, when Jay Gould and James Fisk attempted to corner the gold market on the NY Stock Exchange. The government flooded the market with gold, resulting in prices plummeting and many investors losing huge fortunes.
Holiday shoppers indirectly determined the date of Thanksgiving.
On the last Thursday in November, the US President declared a “day of giving thanks” during the mid-19th to the early 20th century.
In 1939, the last Thursday happened to be the last day in November.
And as fears grew that the holiday season would be shortened, retailers petitioned to then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to declare the holiday a week earlier – which he did.
For three years, Thanksgiving was known as “Franksgiving”. But finally, in 1941, a joint resolution from Congress resolved the thanksgiving-limbo.
Thankfully, Thanksgiving would from then on be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November – giving eager shoppers an extra week to go wild before Christmas.
Big Friday – Say What?
A 1975 report from the New York Times states that the term was popularised by Philadelphia. It seems police quickly grew frustrated by the congestions caused by shoppers on this day and began referring to it as “Black Friday”.
No surprise, vendors and retails protested at being associated with the chaos and traffic that surrounded the holiday,
And as you can probably guess, the term didn’t last very long.
Although the term existed, “Black Friday” didn’t become a national term until the 1990s.
Remember the year of 2001?
Black Friday wasn’t officially the busiest shopping day of the year, until 2001 – it was in fact, the Saturday before Christmas that led every year until 2001.
Black Friday Goes Global!
It might have started in little old Philly, but the popular shopping holiday has now made its way into 15 countries worldwide – and counting!
“Going into the black”
Rumour has it that the retailers tried to put a positive spin on the ‘black’ in Black Friday, hinting it’s the time when retailers are the most profitable.
While there is no evidence to suggest this, holiday sales do make up the bulk of consumer spending for the entire year.
‘Tis the holiday to be jolly!
And finally, did you know that 12% of Black Friday shoppers are drunk while they shop?
According to a survey, carried out on behalf of coupon site RetailMeNot, 12% of all Black Friday shoppers confessed that they hit the stores under the influence of alcohol.
Well, there you have it! Whether you’re a Black Friday fan or a Cyber Monday fan – when millions of shoppers sit at home ready to purchase the world as they see the word ‘SALE’ – there are plenty of ways to enjoy. Just be careful not to max out your credit card while you recover from the Thanksgiving highs!