Black Friday has quickly become the biggest shopping day in the UK, and it is right around the corner (Friday 24th November 2017 in case you didn't know!).

So, to make sure you are all in the know about this now famous day, we’ve been finding out a bit more about where the day came from and why it has become as popular as it has.

What is Black Friday?

As with many, many global cultural events, Black Friday began in the United States of America. The day after Thanksgiving (which is always held on the fourth Thursday in November), shops would cash in on those enjoying a 4 day weekend by opening early and offering items at reduced prices. Since the 1960s, Black Friday has become an annual tradition and typically marks the beginning of the festive shopping period.

However, Black Friday remained a uniquely American day, that was until internet shopping started to become more widespread at the start of the 21st century. Several large retailers with American origins started to brand their pre-Christmas sale as “Black Friday”. The idea quickly spread across the pond and beyond to become the shopping frenzy it is today.

When is Black Friday?

Black Friday 2017 is on Friday 24th November 2017.

If you like to plan your shopping way in advance, here are the future Black Friday dates:

  • Black Friday 2018 is on Friday 23rd November 2018
  • Black Friday 2019 is on Friday 29th November 2019
  • Black Friday 2020 is on Friday 27th November 2020

Where does Black Friday come from?

Shrouded in the mysteries of time, no one is 100% sure how Black Friday got its name. One theory is that it was nicknamed thus by police officers in Philadelphia, who reported that the shopping day was quite difficult due to the high volume of shoppers, smog and traffic pollution.

Another common thought is that it was called Black Friday due to the large number of sales staff who would call in sick on the day, with the prospect of a 4 day weekend simply proving too tempting.

A third and final theory states that the name was made up by retailers, as it was the day that many would finally turn a profit for the year, transforming their figures from red to black.

Black Friday in numbers

Black Friday might have started its life in America, but it is evidently clear that the renowned shopping day has travelled over to the UK and started a new life here.

Reports confirm that Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day in the United Kingdom every year since 2005, and data from the past few years would indicate that the popularity of this day is set to continue.

In 2014, shoppers spent £810m*, which works out at a rate of £9,375 every second, and was the biggest weekend of online shopping in many countries throughout the world. This was a huge 37.5%** higher than Black Friday in 2013.

But, if you thought that was big, Black Friday 2015 broke the £1bn mark in the UK for the first time! In fact, an incredible £1.1bn*** was spent, which was an increase of 35% year on year. Our guess is that people are trying to avoid the mad scramble for discounted items in the shops by shopping online.

The spending didn't stop there. According to the BBC, Black Friday sales rose by 12% in 2016, with an estimated total of £1.23bn being spent online†.

How much will be spent on Black Friday 2017?

If the trend from previous years continues, you can expect to see Black Friday sales grow in the UK. With many retailers trying to steal a march on competitors, you may also witness Black Friday sales begin even earlier than before.

To find out more about how people shopped on Black Friday we created a survey. Here are the results:

Black Friday infographic

*Source - UK online retail exceeds £100 billion for first time in 2014

**Source - 5 amazing stats from Black Friday 2014 in the UK

***Source - Black Friday Cyber Monday 2015 UK sales figures are in: UK shoppers spent £3.3bn over the weekend

†Source - Black Friday 'online sales rise by 12% from last year'