Unraveling the Origins – Why is Black Friday Called Black Friday?

Have you ever wondered why the day after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday”? This popular shopping phenomenon has become synonymous with unbeatable deals and discounts, kickstarting the holiday shopping season. However, the origins of its name and the intriguing stories behind it might surprise you. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of Black Friday and uncover the reasons behind its enigmatic name. From its humble beginnings in Philadelphia to its transformation into a nationwide shopping extravaganza, join us as we unravel the mysteries of why Black Friday is called Black Friday. Let’s explore the captivating tale that lies behind this much-anticipated shopping event.


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Curious about the origins of “Black Friday”? This intriguing shopping extravaganza, celebrated on the day after Thanksgiving, has grown to become a significant event in the retail calendar. But how did it earn its enigmatic name? The history of Black Friday traces back to Philadelphia in the 1960s, and its journey from a term associated with economic turmoil to a symbol of consumerism is a fascinating tale. In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the captivating stories and legends that surround the name “Black Friday.” From its humble beginnings to its nationwide popularity, let’s uncover the secrets behind why this day is called Black Friday. Get ready to be amazed by the intriguing tale that unfolds!

Origin and History

History Word Origin: What Is History and Where Term Is From | Time

1. The Early Days in Philadelphia
The origins of “Black Friday” can be traced back to Philadelphia in the 1960s. The term first emerged as a way to describe the chaotic traffic and overcrowded sidewalks that occurred on the day after Thanksgiving. Tourists would flood the city for the annual Army-Navy football game, leading to a frenzy of activity and bustling streets.

2. From “Big Friday” to “Black Friday”
City merchants in Philadelphia attempted to rebrand the day as “Big Friday” to put a positive spin on the shopping madness. However, the name “Black Friday” stuck, and it eventually spread across the United States by the late 1980s. The term gained traction as merchants used it to signify a positive boost in retail sales.

3. The Red-to-Black Profit Story
The shift from “red to black” became an essential part of Black Friday’s history. It refers to the transformation of stores’ financial status from operating at a loss (in the red) to turning a profit (in the black). This concept started to take hold in the late 1980s when retailers saw a significant surge in sales on this day.

4. The Black Friday Sales Tradition
Over time, Black Friday evolved into a day of doorbuster deals and massive sales, signaling the start of the holiday shopping season. Stores began opening their doors at midnight or even earlier on Friday morning, leading to a tradition of eager shoppers camping outside to grab the best deals.

5. The Commercial Success and Beyond
Today, Black Friday is synonymous with incredible discounts, attracting millions of shoppers both in-store and online. Despite its darker origins in Philadelphia, the day has transformed into an annual shopping extravaganza celebrated nationwide.

The history of Black Friday is a testament to the power of marketing and consumer culture. From its humble beginnings in Philadelphia to becoming America’s busiest shopping day, this annual event continues to captivate both retailers and shoppers alike.

Black Friday’s Association with Retail Sales

Bleak Friday

1. The Significance of Black Friday for Retailers
Black Friday has become an immensely important day for retailers across the United States. It marks the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season and sets the tone for businesses aiming to end the year on a high note. This day has evolved into a sales bonanza, with retailers offering massive discounts and attractive deals to entice shoppers.

2. The Red-to-Black Profit Transformation
One of the main reasons Black Friday holds such significance is the red-to-black profit narrative. For retailers, being “in the red” refers to operating at a loss, while being “in the black” signifies making a profit. With the surge in sales on Black Friday, many businesses can turn their financial situation from negative to positive, leading to a positive end to their fiscal year.

3. Doorbuster Deals and Shopping Frenzy
Black Friday’s association with retail sales is characterized by doorbuster deals and massive discounts. Shoppers eagerly await this day to grab the best bargains on a wide range of products. The combination of limited-time offers and exciting sales creates a shopping frenzy both in physical stores and online.

4. The Evolution of Online Shopping
In recent years, the rise of online shopping has further intensified Black Friday’s association with retail sales. E-commerce platforms and online retailers now offer enticing deals that rival those found in brick-and-mortar stores. This shift has also led to the emergence of Cyber Monday, where online retailers extend their promotions beyond Black Friday.

5. A Day of Record-Breaking Sales
Black Friday has witnessed record-breaking sales figures year after year, cementing its status as the most significant shopping day of the year. The influx of shoppers and the staggering amount of money spent on this day have made it a critical event for retailers to boost their revenue and clear their inventories before the end of the year.

Black Friday’s association with retail sales has transformed it from a local event in Philadelphia to a nationwide phenomenon. With its impact on the economy and consumers’ spending habits, this annual shopping extravaganza continues to be a pivotal day for retailers and shoppers alike.

Perceptions and Impact

PPT - Impact of Perception PowerPoint Presentation - ID:177127

1. Perception of Black Friday as a Shopping Extravaganza
Over the years, Black Friday has garnered a reputation as a shopping extravaganza, with consumers eagerly anticipating the incredible deals and discounts offered by retailers. It is viewed as an opportunity to save money on holiday shopping and score the best bargains on a wide range of products. However, this perception has also given rise to concerns about excessive consumerism and the potential negative impact on the environment.

2. Impact on Consumer Behavior
Black Friday’s allure has a profound impact on consumer behavior. The sense of urgency created by limited-time offers and doorbuster deals drives shoppers to make impulsive buying decisions. Retailers strategically use psychological tactics, such as scarcity and fear of missing out, to entice consumers to spend more.

3. The Social Aspect and Shopping Traditions
Beyond the economic impact, Black Friday has become a social event for many people. It has become a tradition for families and friends to come together and embark on a shopping spree, creating a sense of camaraderie among shoppers. In recent years, this tradition has extended to online shopping, with virtual Black Friday gatherings and social media sharing of deals and experiences.

4. Controversies and Ethical Concerns
Despite its popularity, Black Friday has not been without controversies. The frenzied nature of the event has led to incidents of overcrowding, stampedes, and aggressive behavior in some stores. Additionally, concerns about the exploitation of retail workers, who often have to work long hours during this busy period, have sparked debates on the ethics of Black Friday sales.

5. The Evolution of Consumer Trends
In recent times, consumer trends have shifted, and some individuals are starting to question the excesses of Black Friday. The rise of sustainable and conscious consumerism has prompted a growing number of people to opt for more mindful and ethical shopping choices, advocating for alternatives like “Buy Nothing Day” or supporting small businesses on “Small Business Saturday.”

Black Friday’s perceptions and impact on consumer behavior have undoubtedly shaped the way people approach holiday shopping. While it remains a highly anticipated event, discussions about its consequences and the need for more sustainable shopping practices continue to evolve.

Black Friday Around the World

Black Friday Around the World: Countries With Major Shopping Holidays

1. Globalization of Black Friday
What originated as a US tradition has now transcended borders and become a global phenomenon. The concept of Black Friday, with its promise of massive discounts and exclusive deals, has been embraced by retailers worldwide. In many countries, it marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, drawing in both local consumers and tourists seeking bargains.

2. Adaptation to Local Cultures
While Black Friday’s core idea remains the same, its execution often adapts to fit local customs and cultures. In some countries, the event has been embraced with the same fervor as in the US, with stores offering significant discounts and opening their doors at midnight. In contrast, others have chosen a more modest approach, hosting weekend-long sales or focusing on online shopping.

3. Differences in Perception
Despite its global reach, Black Friday’s perception varies across different regions. Some view it as an exciting shopping event, while others criticize it for promoting consumerism and excessive spending. In countries where Thanksgiving is not celebrated, the association with the holiday is less pronounced, and Black Friday is seen primarily as a retail event.

4. Emergence of Cyber Monday
In recent years, the rise of e-commerce has given birth to Cyber Monday, an online shopping event that follows Black Friday. Many countries have adopted this tradition, offering consumers the chance to enjoy significant discounts on digital platforms. Cyber Monday has become especially popular in regions with a strong internet presence.

5. Black Friday Deals in Different Countries
In some countries, Black Friday deals extend beyond retail to include travel discounts, technology sales, and various other product categories. The focus on particular items may vary based on the region’s consumer preferences and industries.

6. Challenges and Opportunities
While Black Friday’s global expansion has created economic opportunities for businesses, it also presents challenges. Issues such as logistics, supply chain management, and ensuring smooth online transactions have become critical considerations for retailers participating in the event.

As Black Friday continues to traverse borders, its impact on consumer behavior and the retail industry worldwide remains a subject of interest and observation.

Consumer Behavior and Tips

A Quick Guide to Consumer Behavior [+ Examples]

1. The Psychology of Black Friday
Black Friday triggers various psychological mechanisms in consumers, compelling them to take advantage of seemingly irresistible deals. The fear of missing out (FOMO) drives many to participate, while the excitement of scoring significant discounts can lead to impulsive buying decisions. Retailers strategically create a sense of urgency, pushing consumers to act quickly before deals expire.

2. Planning and Budgeting
To avoid overspending and falling into the trap of impulse buying, it’s essential for consumers to plan ahead and set a budget. Creating a list of desired items and comparing prices across different stores can help shoppers make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary purchases.

3. Online Shopping vs. In-Store Shopping
With the rise of e-commerce, consumers have the option to shop online or visit physical stores during Black Friday. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Online shopping offers convenience and the ability to easily compare prices, while in-store shopping provides a hands-on experience and the opportunity to snag in-store exclusives.

4. Cyber Security and Scams
As online shopping gains popularity, consumers must remain vigilant against cyber threats and scams. Only purchase from reputable websites with secure payment gateways, and be cautious of phishing attempts and fraudulent deals that may appear too good to be true.

5. The Aftermath of Black Friday
The excitement of Black Friday often extends beyond the day itself. Retailers may continue offering deals throughout the weekend, leading up to Cyber Monday. Savvy shoppers can take advantage of these extended sales to further their savings.

6. Mindful Consumption
While Black Friday can be an opportunity to save on desired items, it’s also crucial to practice mindful consumption. Consider the necessity of each purchase and its long-term value. Responsible shopping contributes to a more sustainable and conscious consumer culture.

As consumers navigate the enticing world of Black Friday, being aware of psychological influences, setting a budget, and making informed choices can lead to a more satisfying and enjoyable shopping experience.


In conclusion, Black Friday has evolved from its historical origins in Philadelphia to become a global phenomenon and one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The term “Black Friday” is now synonymous with massive discounts and enticing deals that attract millions of eager shoppers. Over the years, retailers have used various strategies to capitalize on consumer behavior and create a sense of urgency and excitement around the event. While Black Friday offers a chance to save on desired items, it is essential for consumers to approach the day with mindful planning and budgeting to avoid overspending. Whether shopping online or in-store, staying vigilant against cyber threats and scams is crucial to ensuring a safe and satisfying shopping experience. By understanding the psychology behind Black Friday and making informed choices, consumers can make the most of the day while being responsible and conscious shoppers.

Unraveling the Black Friday Mystery

In conclusion, the origins of the term “Black Friday” can be traced back to Philadelphia in the 1960s, where it was initially associated with traffic congestion and mayhem caused by an influx of tourists and shoppers. Over time, the phrase gained traction and evolved into a positive symbol of the kickstart to the holiday shopping season. The association with “black” being a profitable day for retailers came about in the late 1980s, further cementing Black Friday’s significance in the retail industry.

While the history of Black Friday may have roots in economic turbulence, today, it is embraced as a day of exciting deals and discounts, drawing millions of eager shoppers both in-store and online. As Black Friday has spread across the globe, it has become an integral part of consumer culture in various countries.

However, amidst the frenzy of bargain hunting, it’s essential for consumers to approach Black Friday with caution and mindful spending. Responsible shopping practices, such as budgeting and researching deals in advance, can help prevent overspending and financial stress. Moreover, with the rise of online shopping, consumers should be vigilant about cybersecurity and protect their personal information while enjoying the convenience of e-commerce.

In summary, the story behind why Black Friday is called “Black Friday” may have its roots in history, but the modern-day significance lies in the excitement of finding great deals and kicking off the holiday shopping season. As this tradition continues to thrive, it is crucial for both retailers and consumers to strike a balance between celebrating the spirit of shopping and making informed choices to ensure a positive experience for all.

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