Black Friday: Insanity or Opportunity?
Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is well known for its killer deals on everything from baby dolls to laptops.
The name “Black Friday” refers to the 1960s when store losses were marked in red ink and profits in black. Thus, the day gives retailers a chance to turn a profit and get “in the black.” Another theory is that the police who had to monitor the streets during 1960s post-thanksgiving sales deemed it a black Friday due to the chaos associated with large crowds.
While the term was coined in the 1960s, Black Friday gained popularity throughout the 90s and reached a fevered pitch in the past few years. The day became so notorious that stores were losing the ability to control their Black Friday shoppers. In 2008 a Walmart employee was trampled to death at a New York store and a dispute at a California Toys R Us turned violent when two shoppers were shot.
Still, shoppers are expected to spend over $40 billion this holiday weekend, with over 134 million shoppers hitting the stores. Many stores are opening on Thanksgiving or hosting “early bird” specials in the wee hours of Friday morning to try to manage the massive crowds.
For those, like me, who prefer to shop from the comfort of their living room, there’s Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday, a day for online deals, is less popular than its in-store counterpart, but it has only been around since 2005, when The National Retail Federation began promoting it.
Shoppers can plan their Friday in a plethora of different ways. Retail giants like Amazon and Walmart are posting sneak peeks on their websites to entice customers to spend, either in store or online. Gizmodo has a massive cheat sheet for all deals technology related. Thedealmap.com allows shoppers to search specific products or regions of the country and see those products displayed on a map.
With Facebook now integrated with many websites, users can “like” a deal and share it with their friends in just a few clicks. There are over 20 iPhone shopping apps available for Black Friday alone.
Despite all the attention that Black Friday and Cyber Monday garner, neither day is the biggest moneymaker for stores. That honor goes to December 24th.
Photo thanks to tim parkinson