Brendan Seery
Deputy Editor
2 minute read
24 Nov 2017
4:36 pm

The dark history of Black Friday

Brendan Seery

Black Friday is favoured as the best time to do festive shopping, but this day does come with its historic faults.

The origins of Black Friday – the day when retailers all over the world offer ridiculous discounts for a wide range of consumers goods – are controversial.

Some link the term to the original Black Friday, which was the day on which slave owners in America would sell off the slaves who had the least value to them for low amounts of money. Another explanation for the modern name could come from the term police in America used to describe the traffic chaos which ensued on the days of huge retail sales.

However, the most logical explanation for the name Black Friday comes from the world of accounting: black ink on a company’s books symbolises profit, red ink stands for losses.

Black Friday started in America on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, and it has spread across the globe like wildfire. It started off in the US as a marketing strategy to make money by focusing on volume sales and to move old stock by drastically reducing prices.

Black Friday can fall on any day or period from November 23 to 29.

Sales can start as early as 5am – and that is why we’ve seen or heard of consumers sleeping outside the stores to get as many products as possible while stocks last.

Over the years, Black Friday has been growing in popularity in South Africa and has now been followed by Cyber Monday, when gamers and tech junkies can shop online for goods.

Some retailers have slowly adopted the practice and have seen good sales in which electronics and consumable products sell well. If you are a business which wants to benefit from Black Friday, you must realise that the prices have to be eye-catching.

The response will be enthusiastic and, because that response may be more than you expect, you better be prepared with extra staff and security arrangements.

Black Friday is favoured as the best time to do festive shopping, but this day does come with its historic faults. Here are some reasons why Black Friday became so notorious.

black friday graphic
black friday graphic

5 international Black Friday trends

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