What is Black Friday?

Nov 22, 2018



By Esmée Hardwick-Slack

Black Friday is almost here and consumers around the world are gearing up to spend their pennies on a bargain or two! But where did it originate? And are we really saving as much as we’re led to believe?

Black Friday is the name given to the first Friday following the US holiday Thanksgiving. It is regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season, and has been since 1952 (although it wasn’t called ‘Black Friday’ until the 80’s). It originated in Philadelphia, where crowds of shoppers from the suburbs descended on the city the day after Thanksgiving to make the most of the big sales that were being promoted.

These days Black Friday takes place across the world, including here in the UK. Thousands of retailers have embraced the name, rolling out sales throughout the week, opening their doors at 5am, and introducing ‘Cyber Monday’ so you can miss the crowds and grab a bargain from the comfort of your own home.

However, the event has been met with some controversy, with many claiming that the price reductions offered on Black Friday are not the lowest of the year. Research by the consumer group Which? suggests that many products are actually cheaper at other times of the year. The study tracked prices for 12 months, and found that 87% of the products were the same price or cheaper than their Black Friday price on at least one day during the six months afterwards.

They crunched a year’s worth of pricing data for 94 popular tech, home and personal products that were on offer on Black Friday in 2017, from six months before the event until six months afterwards.

After comparing the data with the price of products on the event itself, they found that:

  • 87% of products were the same price or cheaper at other times of the year
  • 46% were cheaper in the six months after Black Friday
  • 36% were the same price on Black Friday as other times of the year
  • 13% were their cheapest price ever on Black Friday

Even when extending the period of ‘Black Friday’ to the couple of weeks surrounding the day itself, 76% of products were still cheaper or the same price at other times of the year, and 74% could be picked up at the same price or less in the six months afterwards.

Now, we don’t want to discourage you from finding a great deal, it is true that there are some great bargains to be found on Black Friday, but there is no guarantee that it will be the very lowest price. So, if you’re not in a rush, it might be worth holding off for a while.

What are your thoughts on Black Friday? Will you be rushing out to grab a bargain? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on our Twitter.

Related Articles:

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The Business of Christmas

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