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Black Friday means Billions

There are two Americanisms that are slipping into common lingo over here these days: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

They’re all to do with shopping around Thanksgiving and the build up to Christmas.

Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November, and is the day that Americans give thanks for their harvest.  It is rooted in American history from their founding fathers sailing to Plymouth Ho in the seventeenth century, and is the most important holiday day of the year in the USA.

More important than Christmas or New Year.

The day after Thanksgiving on the Thursday is today, Friday, now known as Black Friday.

Why is it called Black Friday?

Black Friday is actually nothing to do with retailers making enough to break even for the year the day after Thanksgiving.  That’s what most folks think, but instead it dates back to the 1960s in Philadelphia.

That was when the city hosted the annual Army versus Navy American Football game on the Saturday after thanksgiving, and the Friday would see a mass of humanity descend on the city the day before the game to shop and eat.

The Philadelphia Police Department started referring to the annual day of commercial bedlam as “Black Friday” to reflect how irritating it was.

Not surprisingly Cyber Monday is a more recent term, and reflects the Monday following Black Friday when the best online deals are available. The term made its debut on November 28, 2005 in a Shop.org press release entitled “‘Cyber Monday Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”.

What does Black Friday mean in commercial terms?

A lot.

Here’s the stats:

  • 89 million shoppers braved the crowds on Black Friday 2012, up from 86 million in 2011
  • 10% of shoppers on Black Friday 2012 were out at stores by 8 p.m. on Thursday and an estimated 28% of weekend shoppers were at the stores by midnight, compared to 24.4% in 2011
  • Total Consumer Spending on Black Friday last year was $59 billion, up from $52.4 billion in 2011 and $45 billion in 2010
  • Average consumer spending on Black Friday was $423 per person in 2012, up from $398.62 per person in 2011 and $365.34 per person in 2010

Black Friday
Source: Accounting-Degree.org

About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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