A Brief History of Black Friday

Cheat Sheet

Black Friday is one of those days that has grown into its own monster, seemingly all by itself. Something that some people may want to call a “Hallmark holiday,” or a very clever marketing gimmick, was also used to help recover a broken economy.

Yes, Black Friday is a day you either love or hate. Some people stay in, while others get up at the crack of dawn or stay out all night for it. But how big is Black Friday for the economy, where did it come from, and why do we call it that? Follow us through the sordid history of what we all know as Black Friday.

1. It’s the single biggest shopping day of the year

Every year, the retail market gets a huge boost in sales. In 2017, it is estimated that retail stores will generate close to $682 billion in revenue between Black Friday and Christmas. That’s a number that has grown by an average of 2.5% every year for the past 15 years. The majority of that will come on Black Friday weekend.

Next: Black Friday creates a lot of jobs, too.

2. Black Friday demands a huge labor force

Employment skyrockets as well. In 2013, the record was set at 764,750 jobs created for the holiday season! This year is expected to be somewhere around 500,000 jobs for the season. Still not that bad when you consider that only about a quarter million were created after the financial collapse in 2008.

Next: How the heck did this become so big?

3. You can thank (or blame) Macy’s

Every year, your family may gather around the television and enjoy watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade without realizing that’s where it all began. Back in 1924, Macy’s began marketing their post-Thanksgiving day sales. At the time it was something that was largely just for their store in New York. But the idea soon caught on by other retailers. However, the name “Black Friday” wouldn’t come until decades later.

Next: If it wasn’t originally called “Black Friday,” then why do we call it that now?

Image: Flickr/Diariocritico de Venezuela – AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (CC)

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