By Regina Sears
Every year, traffic on both online stores and real roads get packed with people yearning to get the best deal of the year. Although Black Friday is not an authentic tradition made by the early settlers along with Thanksgiving, Black Friday has become a vital addition to the U.S. Holiday Season. The tradition now even expands over into other countries with sales and discounts being seen ubiquitously during this time of year.
Many people have opposing yet various opinions on the origins of Black Friday. However, the most affirmed belief is that this day was created by marketers and economists. When businesses would look at their margins during Thanksgiving, they realized a consistent pattern occurred every year. The profit sales would increase right after Thanksgiving, as many families went shopping to prepare for Christmas. When graphed, businesses used red lines to show losses and black lines to resemble profit. Because there were more black lines seen on the graph, some say that this was the origin of Black Friday.
While the theory above stands the most dogmatic, a significant amount of people believe in another origin of this holiday. The second most prominent theory is that Black Friday originally was not for a shopping-spree holiday, but to counter a financial crisis. It is believed that the term originated from Philadelphia during the 1950’s, where the day after Thanksgiving brought pure chaos to the city. There were hordes of shoppers in the city in addition to the crowd created by the annual football game. As a result, the Philadelphia Police often faced longer shifts on the Friday after Thanksgiving to patrol crowds and traffic, using the term ‘Black Friday’ as an explanation of this day. Marketers soon picked up with the catchy phrase of ‘Black Friday’ and implemented it within their own marketing strategies.
Apart from the sole origin of Black Friday, this holiday has become a controversial topic over the years. Some believe that Black Friday traditions dictate consumers’ wills and encourage wasteful shopping, while on the other hand, some think that these discounts help those who can’t normally afford these products. As of this year’s Black Friday, many deals were suggested to be held online due to COVID. Despite the recommended policies with COVID and Black Friday, many retailers decided to proceed through as it is an essential day to gain profit. According to SEMrush, in 2020 alone, there has been a 34% increase of interest in Black Friday in the U.S. Adding to the growth in statistics, the surging rush towards online shopping has caused heavy competition in the price of products, spendings surpassing $189 billion this Black Friday.