Why Is It Called Black Friday? The Story Behind It!!!

Why is it called Black friday
Photo by Gustavo Fring

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, has become synonymous with massive discounts, frenzied shopping, and the unofficial kick-off to the holiday shopping season. But have you ever wondered why it’s called Black Friday?

Well, let’s find out…


The term “Black Friday” has been around since the early 1960s, and there are several theories about its origin. One popular theory suggests that the name stems from the accounting practice of using red ink to denote losses and black ink to represent profits. Retailers, it was believed, would operate at a loss for most of the year, but the surge in sales on Black Friday would finally put them “in the black.”

Another theory attributes the name to the heavy traffic congestion that would plague cities on the day after Thanksgiving as shoppers flocked to stores for post-Thanksgiving deals. The police, overwhelmed by the chaos, would often refer to the day as “Black Friday.”

Regardless of its exact origins, Black Friday has evolved into a major cultural phenomenon, drawing millions of shoppers to stores and websites in search of incredible deals. It’s a day of excitement, anticipation, and sometimes, a bit of madness.

Why Is It Really Called Black Friday?

The term “Black Friday” was coined in 1869 by two investors, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, who caused a market crash by inflating the price of gold. As a result, the stock market dropped 20%, foreign trade ceased, and farmers saw a significant drop in corn and wheat prices.

Much later, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, locals in Philadelphia revived the term to refer to the day between Thanksgiving and the Army-Navy football game. The event would draw large crowds of tourists and shoppers, putting a significant strain on local law enforcement to keep things in order.

It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the term came to be associated with shopping. Retailers reinvented the “Black Friday” name to reflect the backstory of how accountants used different colour ink to denote a company’s profitability—red for negative earnings and black for positive earnings. Black Friday became the day when stores made their first profit.

The name stuck, and Black Friday has since evolved into a season-long event that has spawned additional shopping holidays, such as Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

What Is Black Friday?

Thanksgiving Day is observed in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November. The following day, Black Friday, is the most popular shopping holiday of the year, with many retailers saving their biggest discounts and best sales.

The name is also associated with the accounting term “in the black,” representing profits. Many retailers operate at a loss (in the red) for most of the year and profit during the holiday shopping season in November and December.

Beginning in 2013 and 2014, an increasing number of retailers began shifting the start time of their Black Friday deals from early Friday morning to the evening of Thanksgiving Day to extend the popular shopping day. Some stores have gone even further, starting Black Friday sales as early as Monday before Thanksgiving.

The Modern Definition of Black Friday

Retailers began making Black Friday a dedicated shopping event in the late 1980s by opening their stores earlier, closing later, and offering special one-day sales. Since then, the shopping window for some stores has expanded to include the entire week preceding and following Black Friday.

The day retailers’ balance sheets supposedly go from being “in the red” for most of the year to being “in the black,” meaning they’re operating at a profit, is now widely accepted as Black Friday.

In recent years, Black Friday has given birth to other shopping holidays such as Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and Green Monday, the last day for shoppers to place an online order in time for Christmas. (Typically, it’s the second Monday in December.) These spinoffs extend the holiday shopping season beyond the one-day sale and sometimes help promote independent retailers and charitable causes over big-box stores.

When is Black Friday in the year 2023?

This year’s Black Friday was November 24. Cyber Monday, the subsequent online-only sale event, falls on November 27. Because of their proximity, the two shopping events have become synonymous in recent years.

Black Friday and Online Shopping

The most popular Black Friday deals frequently revolve around consumer electronics such as televisions, computers, tablets, and game systems. While some shoppers are willing to stand in line for hours for a good deal, many prefer to avoid the crowds by shopping online.

As a result, retailers now offer many Black Friday deals online, which begin concurrently with in-store sales. Furthermore, stores that offer limited-quantity door-buster discounts may offer different door-busters only to online shoppers.

Cyber Monday arose from the desire to avoid long lines and stampeding crowds. Cyber Monday, the Monday following Black Friday, is devoted to online shoppers, with special deals available as frequently as every hour on some shopping sites. Many Cyber Monday deals begin even earlier than Black Friday, so shop around and check your favourite online shopping sites frequently for new sales.

The Best Cyber Monday Deals

Green Monday is the most recent addition to the list of special deal days during the holiday shopping season. It is held on the second Monday of December and aims to attract shoppers in stores and online who still have gifts on their shopping lists.

What Stores Are Open on Black Friday?

The stores participating in Black Friday vary yearly, but many major retailers typically open. On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the Black Friday website maintains a list of store hours. Check it out in the days leading up to the big event to see who’s going to be there and when.

How much longer until Black Friday?

When you type “How many days until Black Friday?” into Google, a countdown appears at the top of the search results.

What should you buy on Black Friday?

TVs, game consoles, phones, and appliances are typically the most popular items on Black Friday. There are also numerous deals on children’s toys. If you like shoes, Black Friday has a lot of good deals on major brands.

What stores are offering Black Friday discounts?

Black Friday sales are typically announced in the weeks leading up to the big shopping day. Check retailer websites to see if they’re taking part, or go to a site like BlackFriday.com for a list of store hours, ad scans, and other information.


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