When is Black Friday 2020?
As Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday in November, the following Friday is often observed as an unofficial holiday.
Black Friday is the name now given to that Friday. This year, it's on 27 November. Since 1952, this day has been regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping season.
What is Black Friday?
Most major retailers open very early and offer promotional sales. Although not an official holiday, some states observe this day as a holiday for government employees. Many other employers allow their staff both Thanksgiving and the Friday off, giving them a long weekend break. With so many people on holiday and with time to shop, almost all retailers in the country, big and small, offer discounts and sales.
These sales, both in store and now online, culminate with Cyber Monday's internet shopping bonanza.
The History of Black Friday
There are several stories to explain the origin of the name. One is that many stores, after months of operating at a loss or in the ‘red’, would start to earn a profit, or be in the ‘black’, after Thanksgiving. This is because shoppers would then start buying for Christmas. To encourage this shopping, stores offered discounts and sales.
However, the true story probably comes from Philadelphia in the 1950s. Police used the term, Black Friday, to describe the chaos they faced as shoppers and visitors crowded the city on the day after Thanksgiving. Shoplifting was rife as was anti-social behaviour. Police leave was cancelled, and Black Friday was a day to avoid.
However, by the late 1980s, Black Friday was being viewed more positively. Returning to the story of shops needing to be in the ‘black’, retailers started to drop their prices to encourage mass shopping. The early 2010s have seen retailers extend their opening beyond normal hours to maintain an edge, or to simply keep up with the competition.
The original one-day sale now continues over the holiday weekend and those desperate to buy a bargain can even head out for the stores straight after eating their Thanksgiving meal.
So, what is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. This year it's on Mon 30 November.
Cyber Monday has become the online equivalent to Black Friday and helps smaller retail websites to compete against the larger online giants.
It was created by marketing companies to persuade people to shop online and was first used in the United States in 2005. Although most companies ban their employees from internet shopping at work, many ignore this and shop anyway!