What Is Black Friday?

Published: 25/11/2019

What is Black Friday?

Simply put, Black Friday is the biggest shopping event of the year. It occurs on the Friday after American holiday Thanksgiving (last Thursday of November).

Originally a US event but now international, this Friday of sales sees retailers of all kinds offer large discounts on a range of products ranging from fashion to electronic items. Black Friday sales can be found in-store and online, just about everywhere, and are usually met with large crowds in shopping centres and stores across the UK.

In the last few years, Black Friday Sales have been extended by many retailers to include the entire week, including another popular shopping day - Cyber Monday, which is focused on online offers.

Where did this famous shopping day originate?

Black Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving. As many American people used to call in sick on the day after the holiday to give themselves a four-day weekend (and, as result, many employers just started giving their employees the day off as a holiday to avoid the inevitable staff exodus!), stores starting taking advantage of the trend and began starting their Christmas sales on this date. As time went by and this date became more and more popular for shoppers wanting to score a bargain, Black Friday was born. 

Where did Black Friday get its name?

According to many sources, the origins of the name Black Friday actually aren’t so positive and have little to do with the discounted prices available on the day. It’s thought that the day of sales was originally given its name by police in the States, who coined the phrase to describe the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrian and auto traffic in downtown shopping areas, as well as the accidents and violence that could sometimes occur due to the volume of shoppers around. The Philadelphia police are often accredited with coming up with the name in the early ‘60s or so.

The name also alludes to accountant-speak. Accountants use black to signify profit when recording each day's book entries. They use red to indicate loss.

As the Friday after Thanksgiving became one of the most profitable days of the year, it made sense to dub it Black Friday. 

Black Friday in the UK - How Much Do We Spend?

Last year UK shoppers spent a reported £1.23billion over the Black Friday weekend. It was also reported that in 2018 sales growth in the UK was highest in November, with experts attributing it to Black Friday stealing Christmas sales. 

What are the best Black Friday Deals?

The best offers available are usually on consumer electronics like phones, TVs, laptops, smart speakers and gadgets. Consumers can also purchase bargain flights, fashion, cosmetics, furniture and homeware and much more. 

Popular UK Black Friday shopping spots include:

  • Amazon
  • Currys PC World
  • Argos
  • Department stores such as John Lewis
  • Apple
  • GAME
  • AO
  • EE
  • Sky
  • British Airways
  • Boots

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Content correct at time of publication.
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