If you’ve been living under a rock during the last few weeks like Patrick Star, it’s Black Friday season. On Friday 29 November, everyone and their grandmas will be using their best tips and tricks, looking for the best Black Friday deals and prices. From tech to education to hardware, nothing is off limits when it comes to Black Friday.
In 2018, Black Friday sales reached close to R2.9 billion, with the figure expected to increase for the 2019 Black Friday season. With that said, how exactly did Black Friday start out and become the behemoth that it is today?
Black Friday: The Beginning
On 3 October 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that the Thanksgiving holiday will take place on the last Thursday of November.
Moving forward to 1869, James Fisk and Jay Gould, two Wall Street financiers, created a boom-and-bust (growth and decline) cycle in the price of gold. They bought up a large amount of US gold with the intent of selling it for a large profit.
However, this had the opposite effect as the US gold market crashed, leaving Wall Street’s barons bankrupt. Their actions laid the seeds of the Black Friday sale. In 1905, Eaton’s – a Canadian department store – began a tradition of the Thanksgiving parade by “parading Santa Clause through the streets of Toronto”.
The parade inspired Macy’s – an American department store – to host their own Thanksgiving parade in 1924. This was to celebrate their success during the year but the parade alone proved beneficial to the brand as well as its competitors.
As a result of the parade, there was an increase in sales, leaving retailers to enjoy a successful period right. However, sales dropped drastically during the Great Depression, causing substantial losses to multiple retailers worldwide.
In 1939, Thanksgiving fell on the 5th Thursday of the month and in turn, this finally broke the camel’s back. The threat of bankruptcy was now real, pushing retailers to implore President Franklin D. Roosevelt to shift the Thanksgiving holiday to the 4th Thursday of November on a permanent basis. Congress finally passed a law in 1941, stating that Thanksgiving will be on every 4th Thursday of November.
The Start of the Modern Day Black Friday Tradition
It’s human nature to strike while the iron’s hot. During the 1950s, people looking to get an early start on their holiday shopping started “calling in sick” the day after Thanksgiving. This caused an unnecessary headache for some businesses, who eventually decided to make the Friday after Thanksgiving another holiday.
The term “Black Friday” was first introduced in 1966. Coined by Philadelphian police officers, Black Friday described the chaos created by large amounts of shoppers doing holiday shopping as well as tourists arriving for the Army-Navy football game. Large amounts of traffic, an increase of shoppers combined with working long shifts influenced the creation of the Black Friday term.
The city’s boosters and merchants disliked the Black Friday name and were pushing to change the name to “Big Friday” However, it became immortalised in the American Philatelist magazine in 1966, forever linking the name to the day.
Black Friday has exponentially grown over the years, becoming the most lucrative day of the year for retailers worldwide. An increase in consumer demand and competition during the holiday period pushed retailers to introduce pre-Black Friday sales. This was to get an early foothold into the market – first come, first serve.
Black Friday Tips and Tricks
Everyone has their own way of exploiting Black Friday to their own advantage. Here are some tips and tricks that you can use to get the best out of your Black Friday experience:
- Create a Wish List: Creating a wish list of goods that you want to buy on Black Friday is a good way of keeping track on what you want to buy. This helps in budgeting and setting a spending limit for yourself.
- Research is Key: Doing research on goods marked for Black Friday and its price history can give you a good indication whether you’re getting a deal or not. The best way to do research is via DealsDealsDeals. DealsDealsDeals is a website that tracks prices on e-commerce stores around South Africa. It gives shoppers the simplest way to determine whether they’re getting a deal or not.
- Early Bird Catches the Worm: Try to get your Black Friday shopping done as soon as possible. There’s only a finite amount of goods on offer. There’s nothing worse than missing out on a deal because you weren’t quick enough.
- Ease of Online Shopping: In recent years, taking part in the Black Friday sales has never been easier. The evolution of online retailing had made shopping convenient enough that shoppers can take part in Black Friday from anywhere in the world.
- Shop Around: Stores of similar nature tend to have discounted prices on the same products. Always shop around to find the best deals available for purchase – online or in-store. It’s the best way to develop a strategy to make the best out of our Black Friday experience.
- Comfortability: If physical shopping is for you, make sure to dress as comfortable as possible to ensure that you don’t tire yourself out during the day. Besides, who loves aches and pains all over after a long day of shopping?
- Overspending: Avoid spending over your budget at all costs. The temptation is real when it comes to bargain prices, but stick to the budget that you created for yourself. Overspending can come back to haunt you if you’re not careful. Keep in mind that not every discount is a bargain.
Published on 28 November 2019