Black Friday is a day that has become synonymous with price drops, deals and discounts, as retailers persuade us to part with our hard-earned cash.
Taking place the day immediately after Thanksgiving Day in America (the fourth Thursday of November), many of us are unaware of the history behind Black Friday, so let's discover how it developed into a global shopping phenomenon.
1. What is Black Friday?
As with many, many global cultural events, Black Friday history 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.
2. When is Black Friday?
Black Friday 2023 is on Friday 24th November 2023.
If you like to plan your shopping way in advance, here are the future Black Friday dates:
- Black Friday 2024 is on Friday 29th November 2024
- Black Friday 2025 is on Friday 28th November 2025
- Black Friday 2026 is on Friday 27th November 2026
- Black Friday 2027 is on Friday 26th November 2027
- Black Friday 2028 is on Friday 24th November 2028
3. 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.
4. How do our customers shop on Black Friday?
To find out more about how people shopped on Black Friday, we asked our customers in an online survey. Here are the results:
64% of customers have shopped previously on Black Friday.
48% of customers are planning to buy something specific this Black Friday.
Only 20% would buy something they did not need just because it was in a Black Friday Deal—this is quite different to 2015 where 48% of customers were happy to part with their money.
36% would wait in an online queue to get the Black Friday deal that they wanted.
66% of our customers are planning to shop this Black Friday period.
Of those planning to shop this Black Friday:
- 75% plan to shop online
- 24% plan to shop both online and in the High Street
- 1% plan to shop in the High Street only
80% of customers use mobile and tablet devices to research their products.
74% of customers use mobile and tablet devices to purchase their products.
5. Black Friday in numbers
Black Friday may 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.
On Black Friday 2018, shoppers spent £1.49 billion online*, which works out at an incredible rate of £17,245 every second. This is even bigger than 2017, with an increase of 7.3%.
Across Black Friday/Cyber Week, there were 1.2 billion visits to online retail sites**, of which 194 million took place on Black Friday—a staggering 2,000 visits a second!
By looking at this data, it would appear that consumers are trying to avoid the mad scramble for discounted items in stores by shopping online.
56% of all online transactions on Black Friday were made using mobile phones and there was a 78% year on year increase in transactions taking place before 7am***. Shoppers were clearly getting up early to claim those big deals!
While Coronavirus had a detrimental effect on sales in physical stores during 2020^, over the course of the Black Friday weekend in 2021, British consumers reportedly spent over £9.4 billion†, with online sales accounting for almost 2 out of every 3 purchases.
How will Black Friday 2023 measure up? Only time will tell.
Shop Black Friday bathroom deals
As Black Friday draws near, check out our Black Friday bathroom deals page for big discounts and small prices.
- *IMRG Christmas and Black Friday 2018 Review—IMRG
- **Black Friday 2018: UK retail visits down 3%, Amazon up 3% YoY—Hitwise
- ***Black Friday spend down according to initial figures—Retail Gazette
- ^Big fall in Black Friday UK retail sales despite online spending boom—The Guardian
- †11 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Online Retail Stats