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How did Black Friday begin? Why is it now an important promotional holiday in the UK?

Black Friday is getting bigger and bigger in the UK –but what is the origin of this promotional holiday and how did it make it over to the UK.

Retailers in the UK started using the event as a way to differentiate themselves, from other UK brands and to lure shoppers in with big discounts. They say the first Black Friday event in the UK was held at Curry's in 2003. However, it took another 10 years until it’s really started to boom. It could be suggested that boom is correlated with the rise of Amazon and other similar firms. Black Friday is now an important promotional campaign that can influence the Christmas market.

Black Friday Origin

But let’s look at how this shopping frenzy got started in the US

There are many different theories of how Black Friday came about. One of these start in the 1950s the city used to fill up with shoppers and visitors after Thanksgiving, 26 November. They were visiting to go shopping and attend a game of American football between teams from the US army and navy.

With all these people coming into the city, Philly’s shops saw a huge increase in sales. But the cops were also inundated, having to take on extra shifts and deal with a jump in shoplifters. This morass of people, profit and police became known as Black Friday.

Eventually, the press picked up on what was happening. Perhaps believing that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, retailers realised they could use the term to advertise deals and offers and associate it with busy and profitable shops.

Well, that’s one origin story. One tale has the term associated with workers taking four days off after Thanksgiving in the 1950s, calling in sick (in lieu of actually having time off).

Black Friday UK

Since the rise of Black Friday in the UK some companies have distanced themselves from promotional holiday. Asda for example – which is owned by American giant Wal-Mark– decided to cancel its sale in 2015, saying shoppers were ‘fatigued’ by the event. There’s chaos associated with it too, with retailers calling the police to some locations last year. An issued of warnings were sent our last year to shops to be on guard for trouble.

Along with

high street retailers, online shops leapt into to fray with their version called Cyber Monday. Of course, Black Friday shopping online is less stressful than having to queue up (or fight your way) to a discount.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday was invented in 2005 it refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday based on a trend that retailers began to recognize in 2003 and 2004. Retailers noticed that many consumers, who were too busy to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend or did not find what they were looking for, shopped for bargains online that Monday from home or work

I think the best way to think about Black Friday is that it’s nice to have. It’s a chance to see what shops are offering, but to plan our gift list around it, to count on getting that single-deal, might end up being more stressful than helpful.

Be careful and have fun shopping!

Have a look at our online sale from the safety of your desk!

#blackfridayuk #blackfridayhistory #cybermonday

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