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Black Friday – What You Need To Know

Everything you need to know about the shopping event of the year

Although the origins of Black Friday lie across the pond in the US, most UK shoppers will now be familiar with the term. Generally associated with the chance to obtain a wide range of products at heavily discounted prices for a limited period of time, it’s an exciting opportunity for British customers to snap up a bargain or two in time for the festive seasons. But what exactly is Black Friday? Where did the saying come from? What are these Black Friday deals everyone speaks of?

Here we take a look at where the term “Black Friday” came from, what consumers can expect during the Black Friday period and what Black Friday in the UK looks like in the 21st Century.

The history of Black Friday

For many years, Black Friday shopping was confined to the US. Thanksgiving is the US national holiday on which Americans celebrate the harvest and other good things which have happened during the year. Way back in 1621, the pilgrims who sailed across to the US on the Mayflower celebrated a successful harvest by inviting nearby Native Americans to a feast! The tradition of sharing a celebratory meal with family and friends has continued, with Thanksgiving now a bigger festival than Christmas for many US residents. Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, the next day – invariably a Friday – is when public thought turns to Christmas and present buying!

It is the habit of beginning Christmas shopping on the Friday following Thanksgiving which prompted retailers to begin offering discounted goods in the hope of luring shoppers into making their Christmas purchases.

Over the years, the tradition of the Friday-after-Thanksgiving sale has grown in the US. Gradually the start of the Friday sales has been moved backwards until larger stores in many states start opening their doors to Black Friday shoppers late on the afternoon of Thanksgiving. In some cases, shoppers may even camp out outside store doors during Thanksgiving in order to be in the best position to grab their bargain of choice!

So why “Black” Friday?

There are several explanations circulating regarding the reasons why Black Friday is so named. One theory is that a significantly increased number of shoppers visiting Philadelphia to start their Christmas shopping put a considerable additional burden on the roads, public transport along with packing the streets full of pedestrians.  The police operating in Philadelphia began calling the day “Black Friday” to describe the sheer volume of car and foot traffic during the shopping spree.

An alternative explanation for “Black” Friday relates to the fact that for many US retailers, the day marks the start of the larger profits which they hope the festive season will generate. Theoretically, Black Friday is the day on which their accounts begin to shift from “the red” (where the amount owed to their creditors outstrips profit) to “the black” (where a profit is being made)!

Both explanations are reasonably plausible; whatever the original reason for the Friday’s “black” appellation, the name has stuck, with Black Friday now being recognised as a date when shoppers can expect to nab a bargain, particularly in the US.

How did Black Friday migrate to the UK?

Without the Internet, it’s doubtful that the Black Friday concept would ever have made it to this side of the Atlantic. Amazon, the international shopping giant that originated in the US, is credited with introducing British shoppers to the opportunities for bargains that Black Friday could bring. Offering a significant selection of products at sale prices on Black Friday, 2010 was the first year that Amazon advertised Black Friday deals to the UK public. Over the past few years, the phenomenon has grown in scale and popularity: not only are there a large number of Black Friday sales online from many major retailers, but high street stores have also jumped on the bandwagon.

When is Black Friday 2019 and how can I get the best Black Friday deals?

This year, Black Friday falls on November 29th 2019. Be aware, though, that bargains aren’t just available on the 29th! Amazon, for example, is running a whole week of Black Friday deals from 22nd November right the way through to the 29th. These include special “deals of the day” (a particularly desirable product will be on sale for a fraction of its usual price, but the nature of the items is a closely guarded secret!). Similarly, Superdrug and other retailers are offering shoppers the chance to order Black Friday discounted products from now until the 29th.

To make sure you’re in with a chance of getting the bargains you want, there are a number of pro-active steps you can take:

  • When it comes to your favourite brands, signing up to receive notifications from their social media, or emails, is the best way to get advance notice of what Black Friday deals you can expect to enjoy. Customers with loyalty cards can expect to enjoy even better deals, so make sure that if the company offers a loyalty scheme, you have signed up to it.
  • Pick up in-store brochures. High street giants who are holding Black Friday sales will usually have a leaflet or brochure in-store, as well as pop-up publicity.
  • Check bargain forums! There are numerous forums online dedicated to bargain hunting, obtaining freebies and other ways of getting more for less. These can be a great way of getting information on the very best deals out there, saving you time and potentially money!
  • Be clear what it is you want before you start shopping – to avoid becoming overwhelmed or overspending, it’s usually easier to work out beforehand which key items you want and concentrate on obtaining these. Remember to track prices over time to ensure you really are getting a bargain.

Good luck with your Black Friday shopping success. If you’re hunting for a new mobile phone, we’ll be tracking all the latest Black Friday mobile deals on here at Direct Mobiles.

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