The concept of black Friday can be traced back to as early as 1869. Believe it or not the term was initially associated with a financial crisis. To be specific, it was the crash of the U.S. gold market. Two Wall street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to price the gold highly and then gain profits.
However, this conspiracy fell through and left every investor and financier on Wall Street broke. The most common story attached to Thanksgiving is that after the fall of the Wall street, it took retailers more than a year to bounce back from the tragedy. Traditionally, they would mark their losses in ‘red’ and their profits in ‘black’. Especially one day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers were more than willing to and often did, blow all their money on discounted merchandise.
In fact, by the early 1960’s the concept gained a lot of popularity, and therefore in 1961, Philadelphia was the first city in America to host the biggest Black Friday sale. From a marketing point of view, it was a great gimmick, because not only did the whole concept have history attached to it, but the fact that it was also extending ‘the spirit of holiday’ to one more day.
Since Thanksgiving is almost an unofficial beginning to Christmas, initially, people would call in sick to work so that they could go shopping. People would call in sick in order to get a four-day weekend. The frequency of which was so much, that many businesses, instead of deciding whose pay should get cut, etc., started counting it under a paid leave.
The reason why the concept of Black Friday sale works so well is also because people would travel to various cities to watch the Thanksgiving Parade. Be a part of the holiday spirit. They would eat, drink, meet new people and then take back ‘souvenirs’ for their loved ones. In those days, one must know that most retailers adhered to an unwritten law, that the holiday shopping season only began after Thanksgiving. Hence, no store would advertise holiday sales or aggressively court customers until the Friday that immediately followed the holiday.
The concept of ‘Black Friday’ is American, however, one might notice the black Friday sales, across the UK, Asia and Europe. This is because of the globalization of a concept. Since the black Friday sale brings a lot of profit to retailers, retailers worldwide started indulging in the same. Somehow, because the Americans were doing it, people across the globe started taking the advantage as well.
In fact, e-shopping portals such as Amazon, Flipkart, Etsy, and many other websites have black Friday sales annually. Here, again, the prices of pre-existing products are heavily slashed down, or new products are launched with a discount. Since everybody loves shopping, and they love it even more when it’s cheap, hence the audience that is targeted is every age group. The fact that you can sit in the comfort of your own home, and be a part of a shopping spree is the ideal situation for the majority of the customers today.
For example, in India, Amazon holds its annual black Friday sale, where people have found expensive electronic gadgets slashed down to amounts affordable for them. The sale often ranges from, electronics, to clothes, books, movies, food, etc.
In fact, it is only during the black Friday sale that Amazon charges close to nothing delivery charges, depending on the order. In the UAE, it is during the Black Friday Sale, that people can indulge in buying luxury shoes and bags, at very affordable prices. In fact, it is because of the Black Friday sale, that places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai are busiest during mid and end November. During this time, even hotels, travel agencies and restaurants offer various deals and discounts. This is also a great marketing tactic to attract consumers from all over the world.
Believe it or not, the rush is so heavy that people often get hurt because of the stampede. One of the most famous stampedes is the one that happened in Walmart, in Texas where almost fifty people were injured badly. Fashion has come a long way, but if there’s one thing that it will always maintain, then it has to be the close association between history and fashion. It goes hand in hand and we can’t disconnect or declare our dissociation.
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