WHAT IS BLACK FRIDAY || Why "BLACK" Friday?11 Nov 2016
ORIGIN OF BLACK FRIDAY
For centuries, the adjective "black" has been applied to days upon which calamities occurred. Many events have been described as "Black Friday", although the most significant such event in American History was the Panic of 1869, which occurred when financiers Jay Gould and James Fisk took advantage of their connections with the Grant Administration in an attempt to corner the gold market. When President Grant learned of this manipulation, he ordered the treasury to release a large supply of gold, which halted the run and caused prices to drop by eighteen percent. Fortunes were made and lost in a single day, and the president's own brother-in-law, Abel Corbin, was ruined.
The earliest known use of "Black Friday" to refer to the day after Thanksgiving occurs in the journal, Factory Management and Maintenance, for November 1951, and again in 1952. Here it referred to the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving, in order to have a four-day weekend. However, this use does not appear to have caught on. Around the same time, the terms "Black Friday" and "Black Saturday" came to be used by the police in Philadelphia and Rochester to describe the crowds and traffic congestion accompanying the start of the Christmas shopping season. In 1961, the city and merchants of Philadelphia attempted to improve conditions, and a public relations expert recommended rebranding the days, "Big Friday" and "Big Saturday"; but these terms were quickly forgotten.
Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Since 1932, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S., and most major retailers open very early (and more recently during overnight hours) and offer promotional sales. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the following Friday off, which, along with the following regular weekend, makes it a four-day weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time. Similar stories resurface year upon year at this time, portraying hysteria and shortage of stock, creating a state of positive feedback.
Let's take a look on statistics of how Black Friday occurs in major countries around the world.
The states which have official public holidays for state government employees on "The Day After Thanksgiving" include Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The news media have long described the day after Thanksgiving as the busiest shopping day of the year. In earlier years, this was not actually the case. In the period from 1993 through 2001, for example, Black Friday ranked from fifth to tenth on the list of busiest shopping days, with the last Saturday before Christmas usually taking first place. In 2003, however, Black Friday actually was the busiest shopping day of the year, and it has retained that position every year since, with the exception of 2004, when it ranked second (after Saturday, December 18).
The large population centers on Lake Ontario and the Lower Mainland in Canada have always attracted cross-border shopping into the US states, and as Black Friday became more popular in the US, Canadians often flocked to the US because of their lower prices and a stronger Canadian dollar. After 2001, many were traveling for the deals across the border. Starting in 2008 and 2009, due to the parity of the Canadian dollar compared with the American dollar, several major Canadian retailers ran Black Friday deals of their own to discourage shoppers from leaving Canada. The year 2012 saw the biggest Black Friday to date in Canada, as Canadian retailers embraced it in an attempt to keep shoppers from travelling across the border. Before the advent of Black Friday in Canada, the most comparable holiday was Boxing Day in terms of retailer impact and consumerism. Black Fridays in the US seem to provide deeper or more extreme price cuts than Canadian retailers, even for the same international retailer.
"Black Friday" would generally be understood in a different context. In the United Kingdom, its use originated in the Police and NHS to refer to the Friday before Christmas. It is the day where those services activated contingency to deal with the anticipated extra pressures put on the emergency services inherent in the larger than normal volumes of people going out drinking on the final Friday before Christmas. Contingencies can include setting up mobile field hospitals near City Centre nightspots. The term has then been adopted outside those services to refer to the evening and night of the Friday immediately before Christmas, and would now be considered a mainstream term and not simply as jargon of the emergency services.
Since the start of the 21st century there have been attempts by retailers with origins in the United States such as Amazon to introduce a retail "Black Friday" as it would be understood by Americans, into the United Kingdom.
In Mexico, Black Friday was the inspiration for the government and retailing industry to create an annual weekend of discounts and extended credit terms, El Buen Fin, meaning "the good weekend" in Spanish. El Buen Fin has been in existence since 2011 and takes place on November in the weekend prior to the Monday in which the Mexican Revolution holiday is pushed from its original date of November 20, as a result of the measure taken by the government of pushing certain holidays to the Monday of their week in order to avoid the workers and students to make a ”larger” weekend (for example, not attending in a Friday after a Thursday holiday, thus making a 4-day weekend). On this weekend, major retailers extend their store hours and offer special promotions, including extended credit terms and price promotions.
The concept was imported in Romania by eMAG and Flanco in 2011 and became bigger each year. The two reported the biggest Black Friday sales in 2014. eMAG sold products worth some 37 million euros while Flanco's sales totaled 22 million euros. Hundreds of retailers announced their participation in the 2015 campaign.
In 2015, 11 million Romanians say they have heard about Black Friday which is 73% of the 15 million people target segment. 6.7 million plan on buying something on biggest shopping event of the year in Romania.
The popularity of Black Friday is also increasing in India. The reason for this is the growing number of e-commerce websites. The big e-commerce retailers in India are trying to emulate the concept of shopping festivals from the United States like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon have been offering discounted products on the major festivals in India. December witnesses the Great Online Shopping Festival (also called GOSF) for three days where people shop from all the major e-commerce players and large FMCG brands. From 2015, google has now stopped the GOSF. The aim was to bring leading e-commerce players on a single platform and boost online shopping in India. Survey during GOSF 2014 suggests that 90% of consumers were satisfied with the exclusive discounts offered in GOSF. According to Google Trends, the interest for Black Friday is rising every year. Comparing the search volume of the term Black Friday in November 2012 and November 2013, the increase is almost 50 percent (22,200 is the search volume in November 2012 and 33,100 is the search volume in November 2013, according to the Google Adwords).
French businessmen are slowly inserting the Black Friday consumer craze of the US. Discounts of up to 85% were given by retailing giants such as Apple and Amazon in 2014. French electronics retailers such as FNAC and Auchan advertised deals online while Darty also took part in this once a year monster Sale. Retailers favored the very American term "Black Friday" to "Vendredi noir" in their advertisements.
In recent years, Black Friday has been promoted in Australia by online retailers. In 2011, Online Shopping USA hosted an event on Twitter. Twitter users had to use the hashtag #osublackfriday and it allowed them to follow along and tweet favourite deals and discounts from stores. In 2013, Apple extended its Black Friday deals to Australia. Purchasing online gave customers free shipping and free iTunes gift cards with every purchase. The deals were promoted on their website, it read "Official Apple Store—One day Apple shopping event Friday, November 29".
Black Friday is known as Viernes Negro in Costa Rica. In Panama, Black Friday was first celebrated in 2012, as a move from the Government to attract local tourism to the country's capital city. During its first year it was believed to have attracted an inflow of about 35,000 regional tourists according to the government's immigration census.
In Germany, South Africa, Austria and Switzerland, Black Friday Sale is a joint sales initiative by hundreds of online vendors among them Zalando, Disney Store, Galeria Kaufhof and Sony. Over its first 24-hour run on November 28, 2013, more than 1.2 million people visited the site, making it the single largest online shopping event in German speaking countries.
2014 marked the introduction in Colombia, Bolivia, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa, Nigeria, Lebanon and France.
In NIgeria, this year's Black Friday's date is percieved to be 14th-25th of November 2016.