Why is Black Friday called Black Friday?


It’s that time of year where it’s virtually impossible to get away from all the great Black Friday deals currently out there, with discounts, bargains and offers plastered all over TV adverts, billboards and websites! According a recent Black Friday survey we carried out, over 40% of us plan to spend some serious cash every Black Friday, but lot of us may not know the history of Black Friday and why it became so popular in the first place.


If you’re holding out for Black Friday deals at Halfords.com, don’t wait any longer! Our brilliant Black Friday offers are live all the way up to the 2nd of December, so grab an online bargain today!


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The Black Friday name


This one is tricky and depends on who you ask! The actual term ‘Black Friday’ didn’t always relate to shopping, but rather to a financial crisis, specifically the crash of the US gold market in 1869. Many fortunes were made and lost on September the 24th of that year thanks to two financiers, the aptly named Jay Gould and his accomplish Jim Fisk, who tried to buy up as much of the nation’s gold with a view to driving the price sky-high. The plan was revealed and the market went into freefall, with many people ruined – hence the negative ‘black’ connotation.


One of the most common stories behind the name being used for shopping and retail is that Black Friday tends to be the turning point where retailers go from ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’ in terms of profits for the year. This one has been debunked, but remains a popular origin story.


Fun fact: In Mexico, Black Friday is called ‘El Buen Fin’, meaning ‘the good weekend’ in Spanish


The real first link between Black Friday and the 4th Friday of November, or the day after Thanksgiving as it’s known in America, happened in 1950s Philadelphia. Thanks to a huge influx of suburban shoppers elbowing each other out of the way and American football fans turning out for the Arm-Navy matches that took place on the Saturday after, police found they had to deal with complete chaos throughout the entire day. Again the ‘black’ was used in a negative sense thanks to the general increase in crime and injuries.


By 1961, the name had caught on in Philadelphia and retailers started tying in offers and discounts to entice shoppers to their stores on one of the busiest days of the year. Surprisingly, Black Friday sales were limited to just the city of Philadelphia until the 1980s, when other retailers across the country saw the opportunity to boost sales with specific discounts for the day after Thanksgiving.


Don’t forget to enter our Black Friday competition, with up to £1000 of Halfords vouchers up for grabs!


Black Friday in the UK


American retailers like Amazon, who have had a presence in the UK since the early 2000s, attempted to introduce Black Friday as a full day of retail discounts to the UK a few times, but it was Asda (part of the American Wal-Mart group) who successfully managed to introduce the concept in 2013.


Despite raised eyebrows and many retailer shrugging Black Friday off as a fad, the concept took off and Asda enjoyed increased sales on what would have been another normal Friday of trading. Naturally, Black Friday 2014 was much bigger, with many UK retailers jumping in on the action! In 2017, shoppers spent £1.4 billion on online Black Friday deals, a huge 11% increase on 2016’s online sales figures. It certainly looks like Black Friday is here to stay!


Fun fact: Before the 2010s, the UK version of Black Friday (or colloquially, ‘Black Eye Friday’!) was emergency services jargon for the last Friday before Christmas, where thousands of Christmas revellers descend on city centres to enjoy a drink or two, before getting injured or arrested for going beyond just the two.


Halfords’ first Black Friday took place in 2014, with online-only offers on a selection of products going live on the day itself. We’ve gone big since then however, with hundreds of product offers available both in-store and online not just on Black Friday itself, but throughout the entire month of November!

So now you know the full Black Friday story! Happy shopping!

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