In the 21st century, it sometimes feels like shopping has become society’s favourite hobby! To promote this trend, big names in the retail sector, including many the multinational brands, have regular sales where they sell their products for less, to foster customer loyalty.
With this marketing tactic in mind, we have the monster of all sales… ‘Black Friday’.
What is ‘Black Friday’?
Celebrated annually on the fourth Thursday of November, Black Friday is the name given to the day after Thanksgiving. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Although it has been considered the beginning of the season since the 1950’s, the name Black Friday was only coined in the early 1990s.
For many years the shops opened at 6am. However, in the late 2000’s many shops started opening earlier and earlier. This reached an extreme in 2011, when a number of retailers began their sales, at midnight! Black Friday is not a public holiday – so no one is automatically entitled to get their 24h shopping fix! (Some states do however recognise ‘the day after Thanksgiving’ as a holiday). Despite that, since 2005, Black Friday has been the ‘busiest’ shopping day of the year in the USA. As a result, there are frequently reports of stock shortages and mayhem in retail stores and shopping malls. In 2017 an incredible $58 billion was spent by American shoppers, with an average spend of $335 per person.
The shopping frenzy
Black Friday has become a highly anticipated event. So much so, that a lot of consumers, ranging from students to professionals, actually save up for it. Some even plan their expenditure around it. Partly due to it’s reputation for amazing bargains (many, perhaps, apocryphal!), but also because Christmas is right around the corner and people are planning their Christmas gifts.
Naturally, when the day arrives, large crowds assemble outside the the more salubrious stores. This fervour sometimes leads to stampeding and general chaos. There have been cases of injuries, and even deaths. Since 2006 there have 10 reported deaths and 111 injuries attributed to Black Friday pandemonium.
It wasn’t long before non-US retailers realised the potential of this temporary customer madness! Multinational and local retailers have introduced Black Friday to Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries worldwide. In Mexico they call it El Buen Fin. In Germany it’s Black Week! Costa Rica has translated it literally, as Viernes Negro; while in the Middle East it’s more commonly known as White Friday!
In Brazil, Black Friday was initially popular, but quickly became associated with shopping scams and inflated prices. Brazilians joke that on Black Friday the prices are “half of the double”! These days it’s earned the nikname “Black Fraude”, which comes from the slang word furada meaning a ‘jam’ or sticky financial situation.
The emergence of online stores, has resulted in a major shift in the way we shop. Recently, online retailers have partnered with major retailers to provide bargains that are available to customers worldwide. To optimise their online sites for a more diverse audience, many companies are working with Translation Agencies to improve their Local SEO and increase their global reach. This trend continues and has led to the birth of a new, fast developing monster – “Cyber Monday”. Coming soon to store near all of us! (Whether you like it or not.)