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Friday, 29 November 2013

Black Friday 2013



For millions of people Black Friday is the time to do some serious Christmas shopping, even before the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. Black Black is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it's one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States, falling this year on November 29th. While it's not recognized as an official US holiday, many employees have the day off -except those working in retail.
image credits: Infographic Journal
The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Ever since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.

In the 1960's, police in Philadelphia griped about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, calling it “Black Friday.” In a non-retail sense, it was originally used to describe something else entirely — the September 24th, 1864, stock-market panic set off by plunging gold prices. Newspapers in Philadelphia reappropriated the phrase in the late 1960s, using it to describe the rush of crowds at stores. The justification came later, tied to accounting balance sheets where black ink would represent a profit. Many see Black Friday as the day retailers go into the black or show a profit for the first time in a given year. 
The term stuck and spread, and by the 1990s Black Friday became an unofficial retail holiday nationwide. Since 2002, Black Friday has been the season's biggest shopping day each year except 2004, according to market-research firm ShopperTrak. Nevertheless, retailers continue to tie one-day in-store sales to Black Friday. In the Internet era, bloggers race to obtain leaked circulars and post them online weeks in advance of Thanksgiving. Many forums  and websites  chart the deals, helping shoppers make a plan of attack for the big day. And attack they will — the National Retail Federation anticipates 134 million people will hit the stores on Thanksgiving weekend.

Why did it become so popular?

photo credits: Time
As retailers began to realize they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the day to shop, even better than those last minute Christmas sales. Some retailers put their items up for sale on the morning of Thanksgiving, or email online specials to consumers days or weeks before the actual event. The most shopped for items are electronics and popular toys, as these may be the most drastically discounted. However, prices are slashed on everything from home furnishings to apparel.
Black Friday is a long day, with many retailers opening up at 5 am or even earlier to hordes of people waiting anxiously outside the windows. There are numerous doorbuster deals and loss leaders – prices so low the store may not make a profit - to entice shoppers. 

Most large retailers post their Black Friday ad scans, coupons and offers online beforehand to give consumers time to find out about sales and plan their purchases. Other companies take a different approach, waiting until the last possible moment to release their Black Friday ads, hoping to create a buzz and keep customers eagerly checking back for an announcement.
More and more, consumers are choosing to shop online, not wanting to wait outside in the early morning chill with a crush of other shoppers or battle over the last most-wanted item. Often, many people show up for a small number of limited-time "door-buster" deals, such as large flat-screen televisions or laptops for a few hundred dollars. Since these coveted items sell out quickly, quite a few shoppers leave the store empty handed. 

image credits: CNNMoney
 
Sources: Black Friday, Time

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