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Black Friday: 5 facts and stats.

Black Friday, a day synonymous with consumer spending and bargain hunting, has become an annual event not just in the United States but globally. Here are five interesting facts and statistics about Black Friday that shed light on its significance and impact.

1. The Origins of “Black Friday”

The term “Black Friday” originally had a negative connotation. It was first used in 1869 to describe a financial crisis when two investors, Jay Gould and James Fisk, caused a market crash by driving up the price of gold. The more familiar usage, relating to shopping the day after Thanksgiving, emerged in the 1950s in Philadelphia. It was used to describe the heavy traffic and chaotic conditions as people began their holiday shopping. It wasn’t until later that the term was reinvented to mean the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit, moving from ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’.

2. Record-Breaking Sales Figures

Each year, Black Friday seems to set new records. In 2020, despite the pandemic, online Black Friday sales in the United States hit a staggering $9 billion, a 21.6% increase from the previous year, according to Adobe Analytics. This trend underscores the growing preference for online shopping, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Not Just a One-Day Event

Traditionally, Black Friday referred to deals available only on the Friday following Thanksgiving. However, over the years, it has expanded into a much larger, almost season-long event. Many retailers now offer discounts starting as early as the beginning of November and extending through Cyber Monday, the Monday following Black Friday, which is focused on online shopping.

4. Global Adoption and Adaptation

Black Friday has spread far beyond its American roots. Countries around the world, including the UK, Canada, Australia, and various parts of Europe, now participate in Black Friday sales. In some countries, local traditions and holidays have been integrated with the concept. For instance, in Mexico, the event is known as “El Buen Fin” (The Good Weekend), which lasts several days.

5. The Impact on Retail Worker Well-being

While Black Friday is a boon for retailers and bargain hunters, it’s important to consider its impact on retail workers. The day often requires extra staff, extended hours, and dealing with large, sometimes unruly, crowds. There have been growing concerns about the health and safety of workers, leading some businesses to rethink their strategies and offer more humane working conditions.


Black Friday is more than just a day of discounts; it’s a cultural phenomenon that has significant economic implications. While it continues to evolve, especially in the digital space, its roots in retail history and its impact on consumer behavior remain central to understanding its ongoing popularity. As the landscape of retail changes, so too will the nature of Black Friday, but its place as a key event in the retail calendar seems secure for years to come.

New words from the text to remember:

  1. Connotation: This refers to an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning. In the context of the article, “Black Friday” initially had a negative connotation related to financial crisis.
  2. Chaotic: This word describes a state of complete disorder and confusion. Used in the article to describe the heavy traffic and disorderly conditions associated with early instances of Black Friday.
  3. Adobe Analytics: This is a specific reference to the company Adobe, which provides analytics tools for measuring web traffic and marketing effectiveness. In the article, it’s cited as a source for Black Friday online sales data.
  4. Accelerated: This means to increase in rate, amount, or extent. In the article, it’s used to describe how the pandemic accelerated the trend of online shopping.
  5. Traditionally: This adverb refers to the customary or typical way of doing something over a long period. In this context, it’s used to describe how Black Friday was originally a one-day event.
  6. Season-long: This phrase describes an event or activity lasting an entire season. Here, it’s used to indicate how Black Friday deals have expanded beyond just one day.
  7. Bargain Hunters: A term used to describe people who seek out goods sold at a cheaper rate than usual. The article mentions these individuals as key participants in Black Friday.
  8. Unruly: This adjective is used to describe people who are disorderly and disruptive. In the article, it’s used to describe the crowds that retail workers often have to manage on Black Friday.
  9. Boon: It means something that is helpful or beneficial. In the article, Black Friday is described as a boon for retailers, indicating its positive impact on their sales.
  10. Phenomenon: This noun refers to a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question. The article refers to Black Friday as a cultural phenomenon, highlighting its significant impact and widespread recognition.