McDonalds, Trick or Treating, watching a 'movie' instead of a 'film' - these are just some of the things to have crossed over the Atlantic Ocean from our American cousins to become widely adopted in the UK. In the last 3 years, we’ve been going crazy about another American phenomenon that appears to be taking hold – Black Friday.
So what is ‘Black Friday’? In the USA, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving which is always the fourth Thursday of November and the Friday after thanksgiving has traditionally been seen as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
This year, the Black Friday weekend falls between the 25th and 28th of November and to celebrate this new tradition, here are 5 facts you might not know about Black Friday…
- The term is from Philadelphia
The first time the phrase ‘Black Friday’ was coined for shopping was by Philadelphia police in the 1960s. The Philadelphia police were using the term to describe the annual traffic chaos that would take place following thanksgiving where it seemed most of the city were either travelling to shops in search of bargains or heading to the annual Army vs Navy football match. The phrase soon caught on and in 1961 PR experts – aware of the value of this period to retailers – attempted to change the negative connotations of the phrase by rebranding the days as ‘Big Friday’ but this never caught on.
The phrase soon spread to the entire USA in the latter part of the 20th century and became one of the busiest shopping days nationwide. Still wary of the negative undertones of the phrase, many retailers started to claim the reasoning for the term ‘black Friday’ was that this was the first point in the year where an overall profit would start to be made. Retailers’ financial records would traditionally use black ink to record profit and red ink to denote a loss and thus black Friday would signal ‘moving into the black’.
- It changed the day of Thanksgiving
In the early 20th century, thanksgiving parades would take place in towns and cities across the USA and many of these parades were sponsored by department stores. For many of these years it became an unwritten rule that no Christmas advertising would take place until the day after the parade. However, before the 1930s thanksgiving took place on the last Thursday of each November so this meant that some years the Christmas shopping season would be shortened significantly if the last Thursday fell in the last few days of November.
These department stores and retailers lobbied the president at the time Franklin D. Roosevelt for the right to break with tradition and begin Christmas advertising before thanksgiving. Ever the pragmatist, Roosevelt issued a presidential proclamation that Thanksgiving was to take place on the fourth Thursday of November instead of the last – allowing the Christmas shopping period to remain relatively consistent each year. This change was dubbed ‘franksgiving’ and to this day Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November.
- It’s now the biggest shopping day in Britain
The concept of American concept of Black Friday arrived in Britain in 2013. Many observers this side of the pond were skeptical at first as the likes of American based retailers Amazon and Asda began promoting the concept in November 2013. However, the following year more and more UK retailers began to use the concept to get Christmas shoppers through their doors with John Lewis and Argos jumping on the bandwagon. In 2015, Black Friday in the UK was taken to another level with shoppers spending £3.3 billion over the Black Friday weekend making it the biggest shopping period in the year.
- It’s just as big online with Cyber Monday
In the past few years black Friday has become just as big online, reflecting the greater number of people shopping online each year. Last year the websites of many popular retailers such as Tesco and Argos struggled to cope with such an increased volume of traffic.
The growth of online shopping in the 21st century saw the emergence of ‘Cyber Monday’ in 2005 where it was noticed that many consumers in the USA were returning to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving and taking advantage of high speed internet at work to purchase items they had seen in the shops that weekend.
This trend has seen several retailers offer deals throughout the thanksgiving weekend and unleashing online only deals on Cyber Monday meaning that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now closely intertwined.
- We’ve got another Black Friday offer coming this year…
Hoping to snag yourself a bargain this Black Friday? The good news is that here at Village Hotel Club we’ll be releasing a cracking Black Friday offer including a limited amount of rooms at an extremely discounted price for all 28 of our fantastic locations. Make sure that between the 25th and 28th of November you have your laptop, phone or tablet handy to take full advantage and book yourself a relaxing break away!
Be the first to hear about our exciting Black Friday offer by signing up to our email newsletter (sign up in the menu navigation) where you are guaranteed to be the first to hear about the offer. You can also keep up to date on all news, including the latest offers by following Village Hotel Club on Facebook and Twitter.