Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Netherlands, Mexico (as El Buen Fin), and increasingly many other parts of the world.
|Date||Day after U.S. Thanksgiving|
|2017 date||November 24|
|2018 date||November 23|
|2019 date||November 29|
|2020 date||November 27|
|Related to||Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, Christmas, Buy Nothing Day|
Black Friday is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the fourth Thursday of November, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country's Christmas shopping season since 1952.
Most major retailers open very early, as early as overnight hours, and offer promotional sales. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday, such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the following Friday off, which, along with the following regular weekend, makes it a four-day weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.
Black Friday has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States since 2005, although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time. Similar stories resurface year upon year at this time, portraying hysteria and shortage of stock, creating a state of positive feedback.
In 2014, spending volume on Black Friday fell for the first time since the 2008 recession. $50.9 billion was spent during the 4-day Black Friday weekend, down 11% from the previous year. However, the U.S. economy was not in a recession. Christmas creep has been cited as a factor in the diminishing importance of Black Friday, as many retailers now spread out their promotions over the entire months of November and December rather than concentrate them on a single shopping day or weekend.
The earliest evidence of the phrase Black Friday applied to the day after Thanksgiving in a shopping context suggests that the term originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. This usage dates to at least 1961. More than twenty years later, as the phrase became more widespread, a popular explanation became that this day represented the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being "in the red" to being "in the black".
For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many had crept to 5:00 or 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers (including Target, Kohl's, Macy's, Best Buy, and Bealls) opened at midnight for the first time. In 2012, Walmart and several other retailers announced that they would open most of their stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, prompting calls for a walkout among some workers. In 2014, stores such as JCPenney, Best Buy, and Radio Shack opened at 5:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day while stores such as Target, Walmart, Belk, and Sears opened at 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day. Three states, Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts, prohibit large supermarkets, big box stores, and department stores from opening on Thanksgiving, due to what critics refer to as blue laws. The Massachusetts ban on forcing employees to work on major holidays is not a religion-driven "blue law" but part of the state's Common Day of Rest Law. A bill to allow stores to open on Thanksgiving Day was the subject of a public hearing on July 8, 2017.
There have been reports of violence occurring between shoppers on Black Friday. Since 2006, there have been 10 reported deaths and 111 injuries throughout the United States. It is common for prospective shoppers to camp out over the Thanksgiving holiday in an effort to secure a place in front of the line and thus a better chance at getting desired items. This poses a significant safety risk, such as the use of propane and generators in the most elaborate cases, and in general, the blocking of emergency access and fire lanes, causing at least one city to ban the practice. Since the start of the 21st century, there have been attempts by retailers with origins in the United States to introduce a retail "Black Friday" to other countries around the world.
The states which have official public holidays for state government employees on "The Day After Thanksgiving" include Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The news media have long described the day after Thanksgiving as the busiest shopping day of the year. In earlier years, this was not actually the case. In the period from 1993 through 2001, for example, Black Friday ranked from fifth to tenth on the list of busiest shopping days, with the last Saturday before Christmas usually taking first place. In 2003, however, Black Friday actually was the busiest shopping day of the year, and it has retained that position every year since, with the exception of 2004, when it ranked second (after Saturday, December 18).
Black Friday is a shopping day for a combination of reasons. As the first day after the last major holiday before Christmas, it marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Additionally, many employers give their employees the day off as part of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. In order to take advantage of this, virtually all retailers in the country, big and small, offer various sales including limited amounts of doorbuster/doorcrasher/doorsmasher items to entice traffic. The early 2010s have seen retailers extend beyond normal hours in order to maintain an edge or to simply keep up with the competition. Such hours may include opening as early as 12:00 am or remaining open overnight on Thanksgiving Day and beginning sale prices at midnight. In 2010, Toys 'R' Us began their Black Friday sales at 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day and further upped the ante by offering free boxes of Crayola crayons and coloring books for as long as supplies lasted. Other retailers, like Sears, Express, MK, Victoria's Secret, Zumiez, Tillys, American Eagle Outfitters, Nike, Jordan, Puma, Aéropostale, and Kmart, began Black Friday sales early Thanksgiving morning and ran them through as late as 11:00 pm Friday evening. Forever 21 went in the opposite direction, opening at normal hours on Friday, and running late sales until 2:00 am Saturday morning. Historically, it was common for Black Friday sales to extend throughout the following weekend. However, this practice has largely disappeared in recent years, perhaps because of an effort by retailers to create a greater sense of urgency.
The news media usually give heavy play to reports of Black Friday shopping and their implications for the commercial success of the Christmas shopping season, but the relationship between Black Friday sales and retail sales for the full holiday season is quite weak and may even be negative.
In 2015, Neil Stern of McMillan Doolittle said, "Black Friday is quickly losing its meaning on many fronts," because many stores opened on Thanksgiving, and a lot of sales started even earlier than that. Online shopping also made the day less important. A Gallup poll in 2012 has shown that only 18% of American adults approve of Black Friday, which is significantly lower than the percentage of American adults that approve of the controversial holiday Columbus Day, which is at 58%.
The large population centers on Lake Ontario and the Lower Mainland in Canada have always attracted cross-border shopping into the US states, and as Black Friday became more popular in the US, Canadians often flocked to the US because of their lower prices and a stronger Canadian dollar. After 2001, many were traveling for the deals across the border. Starting in 2008 and 2009, due to the parity of the Canadian dollar compared with the American dollar, several major Canadian retailers ran Black Friday deals of their own to discourage shoppers from leaving Canada.
The year 2012 saw the biggest Black Friday to date in Canada, as Canadian retailers embraced it in an attempt to keep shoppers from travelling across the border.
Before the advent of Black Friday in Canada, the most comparable holiday was Boxing Day in terms of retailer impact and consumerism. Black Fridays in the US seem to provide deeper or more extreme price cuts than Canadian retailers, even for the same international retailer.
In the United Kingdom, the term "Black Friday" originated within the Police and NHS to refer to the Friday before Christmas. It is the day when emergency services activate contingency plans to cope with the increase in workload due to many people going out drinking on the last Friday before Christmas. Contingencies can include setting up mobile field hospitals near City Centre nightspots. The term has then been adopted outside those services to refer to the evening and night of the Friday immediately before Christmas, and would now be considered a mainstream term and not simply as jargon of the emergency services.
Since the start of the 21st century, there have been attempts by retailers with origins in the United States such as Amazon to introduce a retail "Black Friday" as it would be understood by Americans, into the United Kingdom. In 2013 Asda (a subsidiary of the American firm Walmart) announced its "Walmart's Black Friday by ASDA" campaign promoting the American concept of a retail "Black Friday" in the UK. Some online and in-shop companies have adopted the American-style Black Friday sale day, although others appear sceptical, with one 2013 comment piece in the trade publication Retail Week labelling it "simply an Americanism, which doesn't translate very well."
In 2014, more UK-based retailers adopted the Black Friday marketing scheme than ever. Among them were ao.com, very.co.uk, John Lewis and Argos, who all offered discounted prices to entice Christmas shoppers. During Black Friday sales in 2014, police forces were called to shops across Britain to deal with crowd control issues, assaults, threatening customers and traffic issues. Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, stated: "The events of last night were totally predictable and I am disappointed that stores did not have sufficient security staff on duty." In response to incidents at branches of Tesco, Greater Manchester Police's deputy chief constable Ian Hopkins said that shoppers had behaved in an "appalling" fashion and the lack of planning from retailers was "really disappointing": "They should have planned appropriately with appropriate levels of security to make sure people were safe. They have primary responsibility to keep people safe and they can't rely on the police to turn up and bail them out and that's what happened last night."
Asda announced that it would not take part in the 2015 Black Friday. In 2015, Black Friday was predicted to become the biggest day of shopping in Britain, with as much as £2bn spent in shops and online in 24 hours. However, many large retailers have discontinued, downplayed or heavily modified the concept since 2014, sometimes citing disruption to Christmas trading patterns or bad publicity.
Black Friday appears to be growing in popularity year on year in the UK. In 2016, total spend on online retail sites on Black Friday 2016 was £1.23bn, marking a +12.2% increase on the £1.1bn spent on the same day in 2015.
In Mexico, Black Friday was the inspiration for the government and retailing industry to create an annual weekend of discounts and extended credit terms, El Buen Fin, meaning "the good weekend" in Spanish. El Buen Fin has been in existence since 2011 and takes place on November in the weekend prior to the Monday in which the Mexican Revolution holiday is pushed from its original date of November 20, as a result of the measure taken by the government of pushing certain holidays to the Monday of their week in order to avoid the workers and students to make a "larger" weekend (for example, not attending in a Friday after a Thursday holiday, thus making a 4-day weekend). On this weekend, major retailers extend their store hours and offer special promotions, including extended credit terms and price promotions.
The concept was imported in Romania by eMAG and Flanco in 2011 and became bigger each year. The two reported the biggest Black Friday sales in 2014. eMAG sold products worth some 37 million euros while Flanco's sales totaled 22 million euros. Hundreds of retailers announced their participation in the 2015 campaign.
In 2015, 11 million Romanians say they have heard about Black Friday which is 73% of the 15 million people target segment. 6.7 million plan on buying something on biggest shopping event of the year in Romania.
In Romania, Black Friday is one week before the US Black Friday.
Black Friday is little known in India, as its shopping seasons are different. The busiest times for shopping in India (and hence the times with the biggest discounts) tend to be Diwali, followed by regional festivals like Ugadi and Pongal in South India, Ganeshotsav in Maharasthra, Baisakhi in Punjab and Onam in Kerala. Over the past decade, Independence day sales (on 15 August) have become a large attraction, though most sales in India last for a period of one week.
The growing number of e-commerce websites and large retail shopping centers has contributed to such sales. The big e-commerce retailers in India are trying to emulate the concept of shopping festivals from the United States like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon have been offering discounted products on the major festivals in India. December witnesses the Great Online Shopping Festival (also called GOSF) for three days where people shop from all the major e-commerce players and large FMCG brands. From 2015, Google has now stopped the GOSF. The aim was to bring leading e-commerce players on a single platform and boost online shopping in India. Survey during GOSF 2014 suggests that 90% of consumers were satisfied with the exclusive discounts offered in GOSF. According to Google Trends, the interest for Black Friday is rising every year. Comparing the search volume of the term Black Friday in November 2012 and November 2013, the increase is almost 50 percent (22,200 is the search volume in November 2012 and 33,100 is the search volume in November 2013, according to the Google Adwords).
French businessmen are slowly inserting the Black Friday consumer craze of the US. Discounts of up to 85% were given by retailing giants such as Apple and Amazon in 2014. French electronics retailers such as FNAC and Auchan advertised deals online while Darty also took part in this once a year monster Sale. Retailers favored the very American term "Black Friday" to "Vendredi noir" in their advertisements. In 2016, because of the terror attacks in Paris in November the year before, some retailers used the name "Jour XXL" (XXL day) instead of Black Friday false.
In Germany, "Black Friday" retailer advertisements refer to "Black Week" and "Black Shopping" in English language, with sales lasting an entire week (excluding Sundays when most retail stores are closed). During this sale time, stores keep their normal working hours; and though goods are offered at reduced prices, the prices are no more significantly slashed than normal weekly price reductions. Apple was the first company to run a special Black Friday campaign for the German market in 2006. In the first years, mostly internet retailers have used the event as an occasion to attract new customers with discounts, but bricks and mortar stores have already begun to adapt the shopping event. For the first time ever, German customers spent more than EUR1 billion during the Black Friday weekend in 2016: According to a Centre for Retail Research study, German customers spend around EUR1.3 billion ($1.54 billion) during the four days from Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2016.
In recent years, Black Friday has been promoted in Australia by in-store and online retailers. In 2011, Online Shopping USA hosted an event on Twitter. Twitter users had to use the hashtag #osublackfriday and it allowed them to follow along and tweet favourite deals and discounts from stores. In 2013, Apple extended its Black Friday deals to Australia. Purchasing online gave customers free shipping and free iTunes gift cards with every purchase. The deals were promoted on their website, it read "Official Apple Store--One day Apple shopping event Friday, November 29".Australia Post's ShopMate parcel-forwarding service allows Australian customers to purchase products with "Black Friday" deals from the US and get them shipped to Australia. In addition to this, numerous stores in the country run Black Friday promotions in-store and online throughout the country.
In Norway, Black Friday started as a publicity stunt campaign back in 2010 to increase the sales to the shopping mall Norwegian Outlet. Since the introduction, it has been promoted every year in a larger and growing market all over the country.
Black Friday is known as Viernes Negro in Costa Rica and Spain. In Panama, Black Friday was first celebrated in 2012, as a move from the Government to attract local tourism to the country's capital city. During its first year, it was believed to have attracted an inflow of about 35,000 regional tourists according to the government's immigration census.
In South Africa, Austria and Switzerland, Black Friday Sale is a joint sales initiative by hundreds of online vendors--among them Zalando, Disney Store, Galeria Kaufhof and Sony. Over its first 24-hour run on November 28, 2013, more than 1.2 million people visited the site, making it the single largest online shopping event in German-speaking countries. There has been growing interest for black Friday in Poland as well.
In 2015 Spain joined with some small retailers. The celebration became more famous year by year, till the big retailers grew.
In the Netherlands Black Friday was seriously introduced in 2015. Some years before there were a couple of big and small retailers that used Black Friday in their marketing proposes. However, with the total of 35 participating stores, 2015 can be seen as the year in which Black Friday has started in the Netherlands due to more widespread support of large retailers. The populairity of Black Friday has grown rapidly in the Netherlands. The participating shops have increased to over 125 during the Black Friday period of 2017.
Black Friday in Belgium is seriously marketed by retailers since 2016. Especially online shops have broke sales records during the last edition of Black Friday, which provides a base for further growth of popularity of Black Friday in Belgium. After 2016, Black Friday in Belgium has grown strongly. The participating shops have increased to over 70 during the Black Friday period of 2017.
In 2017 Black Friday became widely popular in Latvia. There was even a Black week and Black weekend sales in shopping centres.
Black Friday has been increasingly adopted by stores in Brazil since 2010, although not without its share of inflated prices and other scams, especially in its earlier years, earning the nickname "Black Fraude" (Black Fraud) or also "Black Furadei", which comes from the slang word "furada", meaning a "jam" or tough situation, usually involving money. It is also common to hear Brazilian people say that prices on Brazilian Black Friday are "half of the double". However, currently, the term "Black Friday" has become so popular in the country that stores have been under closer scrutiny from consumers and cases of known scams have been reduced greatly.
For centuries, the adjective "black" has been applied to days upon which calamities occurred. Many events have been described as "Black Friday", although the most significant such event in American History was the Panic of 1869, which occurred when financiers Jay Gould and James Fisk took advantage of their connections with the Grant Administration in an attempt to corner the gold market. When President Grant learned of this manipulation, he ordered the Treasury to release a large supply of gold, which halted the run and caused prices to drop by eighteen percent. Fortunes were made and lost in a single day, and the president's own brother-in-law, Abel Corbin, was ruined.
The earliest known use of "Black Friday" to refer to the day after Thanksgiving occurs in the journal, Factory Management and Maintenance, for November 1951, and again in 1952. Here it referred to the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving, in order to have a four-day weekend. However, this use does not appear to have caught on. Around the same time, the terms "Black Friday" and "Black Saturday" came to be used by the police in Philadelphia and Rochester to describe the crowds and traffic congestion accompanying the start of the Christmas shopping season. In 1961, the city and merchants of Philadelphia attempted to improve conditions, and a public relations expert recommended rebranding the days, "Big Friday" and "Big Saturday"; but these terms were quickly forgotten.
Use of the phrase spread slowly, first appearing in The New York Times on November 29, 1975, in which it still refers specifically to "the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year" in Philadelphia. Although it soon became more widespread, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 1985 that retailers in Cincinnati and Los Angeles were still unaware of the term.
As the phrase gained national attention in the early 1980s, merchants objecting to the use of a derisive term to refer to one of the most important shopping days of the year suggested an alternative derivation: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January through November) and made their profit during the holiday season, beginning on the day after Thanksgiving. When this was recorded in the financial records, once-common accounting practices would use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink to show positive amounts. Black Friday, under this theory, is the beginning of the period when retailers would no longer be "in the red", instead taking in the year's profits. The earliest known published reference to this explanation occurs in The Philadelphia Inquirer for November 28, 1981.
In 2013, an internet rumor alleged that the phrase originated in the American south before the Civil War, from the practice of selling slaves on the day after Thanksgiving. This was debunked by Snopes.com in 2015. Although the modern American holiday of Thanksgiving is associated with the founding of Plymouth Colony in 1620, a similar annual day of thanksgiving was stipulated in the royal charter of Jamestown Colony in 1607.
Despite frequent attempts to control the crowds of shoppers, minor injuries are common among the crowds, usually as a result of being pushed or thrown to the ground in small stampedes. While most injuries remain minor, serious injuries and even deliberate violence have taken place on some Black Fridays.
In 2008, a crowd of approximately 2,000 shoppers in Valley Stream, New York, waited outside for the 5:00am opening of the local Wal-Mart. As opening time approached, the crowd grew anxious and when the doors were opened the crowd pushed forward, breaking the door down, a 34-year-old employee was trampled to death. The shoppers did not appear concerned with the victim's fate, expressing refusal to halt their stampede when other employees attempted to intervene and help the injured employee, complaining that they had been waiting in the cold and were not willing to wait any longer. Shoppers had begun assembling as early as 9:00 PM the evening before. Even when police arrived and attempted to render aid to the injured man, shoppers continued to pour in, shoving and pushing the officers as they made their way into the store. Several other people incurred minor injuries, including a pregnant woman who had to be taken to the hospital. The incident may be the first case of a death occurring during Black Friday sales; according to the National Retail Federation, "We are not aware of any other circumstances where a retail employee has died working on the day after Thanksgiving."
During Black Friday 2010, a Madison, Wisconsin woman was arrested outside of a Toys 'R' Us store after cutting in line, and threatening to shoot other shoppers who tried to object. A Toys for Tots volunteer in Georgia was stabbed by a shoplifter. An Indianapolis woman was arrested after causing a disturbance by arguing with other Wal-Mart shoppers. She had been asked to leave the store, but refused. A man was arrested at a Florida Wal-Mart on drug and weapons charges after other shoppers waiting in line for the store to open noticed that he was carrying a handgun and reported the matter to police. He was discovered to also be carrying two knives and a pepper spray grenade. A man in Buffalo, New York, was trampled when doors opened at a Target store and unruly shoppers rushed in, in an episode reminiscent of the deadly 2008 Wal-Mart stampede.
On Black Friday 2011, a woman at a Porter Ranch, California Walmart used pepper spray on fellow shoppers, causing minor injuries to a reported 20 people who had been waiting hours for the store to open. The incident started as people waited in line for the newly discounted Xbox 360. A witness said a woman with two children in tow became upset with the way people were pushing in line. The witness said she pulled out pepper spray and sprayed the other people in line. Another account stated: "The store had brought out a crate of discounted Xbox 360s, and a crowd had formed to wait for the unwrapping, when the woman began spraying people 'in order to get an advantage,' according to the police. In an incident outside a Walmart store in San Leandro, California, one man was wounded after being shot following Black Friday shopping at about 1:45 am.
On Black Friday in 2013, a person in Las Vegas who was carrying a big-screen TV home from a Target store on Thanksgiving was shot in the leg as he tried to wrestle the item back from a robber who had just stolen it from him at gunpoint. In Romeoville IL, a police officer shot a suspected shoplifter driving a car that was dragging a fellow officer at a Kohl's department store. The suspect and the dragged officer were treated for shoulder injuries. Three people were arrested.
At the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia a fight was caught on camera in which a woman was taken to the ground. The video also caught a separate, possibly related, fight happening simultaneously.
Outside at a Macy's store in New Jersey, 21-year-old Demond Cottman was shot and killed around 1 a.m. Friday morning on November 25, 2016. The shooter fired multiple shots, leaving an SUV covered in bullet holes, but the motives remain unclear. Cottman's 26-year-old brother was also injured.
An apparent argument over a parking spot at a Reno Wal-Mart resulted in one of the drivers pulling a weapon who shot and killed a 33-year-old man. That incident technically occurred before Black Friday on the evening of Thanksgiving.
A 61 year old pharmacist, Walter Vance collapsed and was left for dead by shoppers while being trampled and passed by a stampede, with the exception of an off-duty paramedic and a nurse (giving CPR to Vance) in a Target store in South Charleston, West Virginia during Black Friday 2011, but died soon after.
The day after Thanksgiving as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season may be linked together with the idea of Santa Claus parades. Parades celebrating Thanksgiving often include an appearance by Santa at the end of the parade, with the idea that 'Santa has arrived' or 'Santa is just around the corner' because Christmas is always the next major holiday following Thanksgiving.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Santa or Thanksgiving Day parades were sponsored by department stores. These included the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, in Canada, sponsored by Eaton's, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade sponsored by Macy's. Department stores would use the parades to launch a big advertising push. Eventually, it just became an unwritten rule that no store would try doing Christmas advertising before the parade was over. Therefore, the day after Thanksgiving became the day when the shopping season officially started.
Thanksgiving Day's relationship to Christmas shopping led to controversy in the 1930s. Retail stores would have liked to have a longer shopping season, but no store wanted to break with tradition and be the one to start advertising before Thanksgiving. For this reason, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a presidential proclamation proclaiming Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November rather than the last Thursday, meaning in some years one week earlier, in order to lengthen the Christmas shopping season. Most people adopted the President's change, which was later reinforced by an act of Congress, but many continued to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the traditional date. Some started referring to the new date as Franksgiving.
In 2015, Amazon.com held a "Prime Day" event in July and promised better deals than on Black Friday, with repeat Prime Days taking place in 2016 and 2017. Other companies followed with "Black Friday in July" deals which were as good as, or better than, those in November.
The sale day has caused a number of controversies over various practices:
For many years, retailers pushed opening times on Black Friday earlier and earlier, eventually reaching midnight, before opening on the evening of Thanksgiving. In 2009, Kmart opened at 7:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving, in order to allow shoppers to avoid Black Friday traffic and return home in time for dinner with their families. Two years later, a number of retailers began opening at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m., on what became derisively known as "Black Thursday". In subsequent years, other stores have followed this trend, opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day, or remaining open all day, beginning in the early morning hours. Some retail and media sources have used the terms "Gray Thursday" or "Brown Thursday" instead.
The 2014 "Black Thursday" sales were, in general, a failure, as overall sales for the holiday weekend fell 11% compared to the previous year despite heavy traffic at the stores on Thanksgiving night. In response, a number of retailers decided to go back to closing on Thanksgiving for 2015, and Walmart, although it is holding firm opening on the holiday and holding its sale, also pledged to offer the same deals online for those who wished to stay home.
Some websites offer information about day-after-Thanksgiving specials up to a month in advance. The text listings of items and prices are usually accompanied by pictures of the actual ad circulars. These are either leaked by insiders or intentionally released by large retailers to give consumers insight and allow them time to plan.
In recent years, some retailers (including Walmart, Target, OfficeMax, Big Lots, and Staples) have claimed that the advertisements they send in advance of Black Friday and the prices included in those advertisements are copyrighted and are trade secrets.
Some of these retailers have used the take-down system of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a means to remove the offending price listings. This policy may come from the fear that competitors will slash prices, and shoppers may comparison shop. The actual validity of the claim that prices form a protected work of authorship is uncertain as the prices themselves (though not the advertisements) might be considered a fact in which case they would not receive the same level of protection as a copyrighted work.[original research?]
The benefit of threatening Internet sites with a DMCA based lawsuit has proved tenuous at best. While some sites have complied with the requests, others have either ignored the threats or simply continued to post the information under the name of a similar-sounding fictional retailer. However, careful timing may mitigate the take-down notice. An Internet service provider in 2003 brought suit against Best Buy, Kohl's, and Target Corporation, arguing that the take-down notice provisions of the DMCA are unconstitutional. The court dismissed the case, ruling that only the third-party posters of the advertisements, and not the ISP itself, would have standing to sue the retailers.
Usage of Black Friday Advertising Tip sites and buying direct varies by state in the U.S., influenced in large part by differences in shipping costs and whether a state has a sales tax. However, in recent years, the convenience of online shopping has increased the number of cross-border shoppers seeking bargains from outside of the U.S., especially from Canada. Statistics Canada indicates that online cross-border shopping by Canadians has increased by about 300M a year since 2002. The complex nature of additional fees such as taxes, duties and brokerage can make calculating the final cost of cross-border Black Friday deals difficult. Dedicated cross-border shopping solutions such as the Canadian shopping platform Wishabi and Canada Post's Borderfree exist to mitigate the problem through estimation of the various cost involved.
The term Cyber Monday, a neologism invented in 2005 by the National Retail Federation's division Shop.org, 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. In 2010, Hitwise reported that:
Thanksgiving weekend offered a strong start, especially as Black Friday sales continued to grow in popularity. For the 2nd consecutive year, Black Friday was the highest day for retail traffic during the holiday season, followed by Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. The highest year-over-year increases in visits took place on Cyber Monday and Black Friday with growth of 16% and 13%, respectively.
In 2013, Cyber Monday online sales grew by 18% over the previous year, hitting a record $1.73 billion, with an average order value of $128. In 2014, Cyber Monday was the busiest day of the year with sales exceeding $2 billion in desktop online spending, up 17% from the previous year.
As reported in the Forbes "Entrepreneurs" column on December 3, 2013: "Cyber Monday, the online counterpart to Black Friday, has been gaining unprecedented popularity--to the point where Cyber Sales are continuing on throughout the week." Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News, further advises: "If you want a real deal on Black Friday, stay away from the mall. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all part of Cyber Week [...]"
The National Retail Federation releases figures on the sales for each Thanksgiving weekend. The Federation's definition of "Black Friday weekend" includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected spending for Sunday. The survey estimates number of shoppers, not number of people.
The length of the shopping season is not the same across all years: the date for Black Friday varies between November 23 and 29, while Christmas Eve is fixed at December 24. 2012 had the longest shopping season since 2007.
|Year||Date||Survey published||Shoppers (millions)||Average spent||Total spent||Consumers polled||Margin for error|
|2014||Nov 28||Nov 30||233||$380.95||$50.9 billion||4,631||1.5%|
|2013||Nov 29||Dec 1||249||$407.02||$57.4 billion||4,864||1.7%|
|2012||Nov 23||Nov 25||247||$423.66||$59.1 billion||4,005||1.6%|
|2011||Nov 25||Nov 27||226||$398.62||$52.5 billion||3,826||1.6%|
|2010||Nov 26||Nov 28||212||$365.34||$45.0 billion||4,306||1.5%|
|2009||Nov 27||Nov 29||195||$343.31||$41.2 billion||4,985||1.4%|
|2008||Nov 28||Nov 30||172||$372.57||$41.0 billion||3,370||1.7%|
|2007||Nov 23||Nov 25||147||$347.55||$34.6 billion||2,395||1.5%|
|2006||Nov 24||Nov 26||140||$360.15||$34.4 billion||3,090||1.5%|
|2005||Nov 25||Nov 27||132||$301.81||$26.8 billion|