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Black Friday, Everything about it

Updated on April 21, 2017

Black Friday history

The term "Black Friday" originated in Chicago in the 1950s. The police of that city used the term to describe the large amount of people who would be out shopping in the days after Thanksgiving. The amount of people was increased further due to various sales stores would be having before the Army/Navy football game that would happen on that Saturday.

Eventually, the term was picked up by retailers who started to use it in more of the sense as it is used today. In 1961, there was an effort to change the name to "Big Friday" because of the negative connotations associated with the term, but, as I'm sure you all know, that effort failed and the original term stuck.

So in short, Black Friday started as an event in the Chicago area and has grown since then to include nearly every city in the United States to now be a national event.

Did you go shopping this Black Friday?

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Why people go shopping on Black Friday

There is no universal reason for people's interest in Black Friday shopping. But I do think the most prevalent reason among people is the savings they try to get through the various sales that are offered on that day.

Some people may go for the joy of shopping or for other reasons, but I think most people go for the savings because of the emphasis placed upon them in every advertisement for the event.

But do people actually save money on Black Friday?

Black Friday

Traditionally, the holiday season is kicked off with Black Friday, but often specials and holiday related sales start well before that. I have never gone Black Friday shopping, but many, many people do, so let's take a look at the statistics about Black Friday for this year.

According to

140.1 million: The number of people who definitely will or might shop over Thanksgiving weekend.

95.5 million:
The number of people who will or may shop on Black Friday.

25.6 million:
The number of people who will or may shop on Thanksgiving.

And according to the

"Over all, 133.7 million people shopped or planned to shop at stores or online over the four-day weekend, 5.2 percent fewer than last year."

Things are actually more expensive on Black Friday

Casey Bond

"The Wall Street Journal also found in a study performed by Decide Inc., a consumer-price research firm, that many popular holiday gifts are actually more expensive on Black Friday, like jewelry, watches, clothes and toys. In fact, the best deals are found in the week leading up to Christmas, rather than right after Thanksgiving."

The common perception around Black Friday is that there are massive deals for everything, but that perception is false and is taken advantage of by various stores to get more costumers to be in their stores on Black Friday. While these various businesses may make very little on the sales they offer on select items, they make up for it by making money on many other items.

Money Spent on Black Friday

According to the

"The NRF(National Retail Federation) said total spending was $50.9 billion, an 11 percent decline from an estimated $57.4 billion in 2013"

A curious statistic to see. Although that is a still a huge amount of money being spent over one weekend, that is a big drop, and I suspect that trend will continue in the years to come. Not so much because people will spend less money for the holidays, but more so people will find other ways to buy things. Online shopping is becoming much easier, cheaper, and more convenient then going to a store to buy things.

I predict that Cyber Monday will continue to grow and eventually people will spend more money on Cyber Monday than Black Friday.

Black Friday Sales by the Year

Total Spent
$61.4 billion
$59.1 billion
$52.5 billion
$45.0 billion
$41.2 billion
$41.0 billion
$34.6 billion
$34.4 billion
$26.8 billion
According to several different current sources 2013 spending was closer to $57 billion and sales from this year are slightly over $50 billion. So these numbers can vary depending on the sources. It's more important to show how Black Friday has grown

Benefits of in-person Black Friday shopping

There are some benefits to in-person Black Shopping even if you have to deal loads of other people and the actuality of not getting a great deal on a lot of items.

  • Holiday shopping-If you are someone that has a lot of holiday shopping to do, it can be beneficial to get all of it done at once, in one crazy day. It also allows time to find whatever you're looking for if it can't be found on Black Friday. Being a good distance away from the holidays allows a lot of time to look elsewhere for the items you still want to get.
  • Deals-There are some good "door buster" deals out there for people to get. Although, it is hard to actually get them due to the high competition for them, they are there, so that's a benefit to the event as well.
  • Competition-if you're someone who is extremely competitive, going Black Friday shopping may be something you would enjoy. This article talks about the pros and cons of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. It's worth the read. It's a short article that gets right to the point of it's topic.

How to actually save money on Black Friday

There are some methods that can be used to help save on Black Friday. The overall answer to saving money anytime, not just on Black Friday is to research where the cheapest deals are and to plan where you want to go.

Being able to plan everything out is the most effective way to avoid impulse or uninformed decisions when buying things. Black Friday creates more of an essential need for people to plan out what they want, where they want to go, and how they are going to do it.

The article below goes over ten ways to help maximize your savings on Black Friday. Two ideas that stood out to me as being both really good ideas were using cash and keeping receipts.

Using cash may actually cash help you to spend less overall money, which is good when many people spend more than they can afford when they get caught up in the shopping frenzy of the event. The article talks in more details about this and gives a citations for their claim of using cash causing people to spend less money.

Keeping receipts is a great idea as well. With prices of various items constantly fluctuating around the holidays making sure that if you need to return something you get the full amount of money you paid back. The articles talks about how items will drop as the season goes on and that price drop could affect the return value on those items when they aren't accompanied with a receipt.

Check out the article linked below for more details about the two tips I highlighted and more.


Future of Black Friday

I believe the future of Black Friday for the event itself is somewhat bleak. It will no doubt be around for many years to come, but I envision Cyber Monday and internet sales in general to continue to rise.

More and more people will start to choose the online option because of the convenience and the ability for them not to have to fight others for the items they can easily get online.

I'm sure there will still be an immense amount of people who shop during Black Friday and the weekend afterward, so there will still be billions upon billions dollars spent by people physically going to go shop, but with the consistent improvement and ever increasing popularity of the web and online shopping will be a damper on those numbers.


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