Black Friday – has it become a global “thing”?

Wave2 Blog

Black Friday – has it become a global “thing”?

The US will soon celebrate Thanksgiving, which always falls on the 4th Thursday of November. This year (2018) that is on Thursday November 22nd.

Black Friday has traditionally taken place on the Friday after Thanksgiving each year – falling anywhere between November 23 to 29 – a term we believe everyone outside the US has heard about.

The holiday originated in 1924, with the term “black” being  coined (see this page)  from old school bookkeepers who used black ink to indicate a profit in their accounting records, as opposed to red ink to indicate a loss in profit.  Supposedly, this day marked the first day “of turning a profit”, as consumers took to shopping for their Christmas gifts as soon as the Thanksgiving holiday was over.

Retailers quickly realized they could capitalize on the consumers’ eagerness to get their Christmas and holiday shopping done as early as possible, and the “Black Friday event” has now expanded to more than just one single day, Many retailers have begun their holiday sales and promotions well before Thanksgiving Day and, with the rise of online shopping, have added “Cyber Monday” to the shopping frenzy.. 

Outside the US

In recent years, this “retail phenomenon” has expanded to other countries around the world. Canada, Scandinavia, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China and Singapore all have some form of this event in November.

In celebration of this global adoption of this retail extravaganza, here are some fun facts about this holiday and how it has impacted other countries during the holiday shopping season.

  1.  In the UK, it was Amazon who first introduced Black Friday. That was back in 2010. Prior to that, it was Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) that was the largest shopping day. Today, in the UK, sales typically last 5 days and are termed “Black Friday”.
  2. Brazil also takes part in this sales event, even calling it “Black Friday” rather than translating it into Portuguese,
  3. In Scandinavian countries, the event’s awareness is on the rise, with more and more people having heard of the term and participate in the sales being offered.
  4. The Spanish speaking countries in South Americana do not celebrate Black Friday, but do have Cyber Mondays, infant, they have 4 of them in November.
  5. Some countries have created their own November–based retail events. China for example, celebrates “Singles Day” on November 11 (picked deliberately as the date is depicted with all “1”s, for single). Singles Day has now become China’s largest shopping holiday.

Black Friday used to be an exclusive “in-store” shopping event, with crowds of shoppers clogging the malls and shopping centers. Today, Online and mobile shopping year round and on Black Friday will continue to grow in popularity and out-pace in-store shopping, due to its profitable perks for retailers and pure convenience for consumers.

A recent survey by the US-based National Retail Federation (NRF) states that more than 164 million consumers plan to shop over the 5-day Thanksgiving weekend (see this NRF survey)  says more than 164 million consumers plan to  shop over five-day Thanksgiving weekend | National Retail Federation)

Are you ready?


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Contact Tom Hodges at thodges@wav2.com (phone: +44 1344 861133)
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