Black Friday is a worldwide shopping phenomenon originating in the United States. It’s a colloquial term that refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving and is seen as the official start to the Christmas shopping season.
Interestingly, Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the calendar year in the United States since 2005, with sales and consumer spending around the holiday growing year on year.
Black Friday is not regarded as an official holiday in the US, but the concept of beginning your Christmas shopping and festive preparations originated there in the 1950s. The earliest known use of the phrase can be found in a magazine published back in 1951 and categorises it as the practice of employees calling in sick to work the day after Thanksgiving in order to swingle a four-day weekend.
Nowadays Black Friday is a global occasion recognised and celebrated by companies and consumers alike in countries right across the world. In this article we are going to explore the rise of Black Friday in Ireland, and how this uniquely American tradition has infiltrated the minds and the pockets of Ireland’s shoppers.
The Black Friday Mindset
Contrary to popular belief, many Irish people and in particular parents of young families are super organised when it comes to the holiday period. Typical Irish mammies will often chip away at Christmas week-by-week starting in October or November and budget for a weekly spend on gifts or food instead of leaving it all to the last minute. It’s this mindset that has allowed the concept of Black Friday to grow here in Ireland and in the UK.
Our neighbours in the United Kingdom spent over £1.23 billion on online retail sites on Black Friday back in 2016. While in the following year retail sales grew faster in November than December for the first time ever, largely due to the popularity of Black Friday. Since then, it has only gotten more and more popular with companies and retail sites constantly finding ways to modernise and update the holiday.
The Evolution of Black Friday
As mentioned above, one of the reasons that Black Friday has grown to be so popular over the past 20 years in Ireland is its evolution and the various campaigns from global brands to keep the shopping holiday feeling fresh and enticing.
Gone are the days when Black Friday simply happens during the business hours on the actual Friday! Physical stores were quick over the years to begin their Black Friday deals on Thursday evenings, allowing shoppers to miss the chaos and rush of the following morning.
As well as Black Thursday and midnight openings at physical stores, there has been the emergence of Cyber Monday and even Cyber Week. Online giants such as Amazon have helped to build the concept of Cyber Monday, which essentially carries the frenzy of Black Friday right through the weekend and continues it into the next week through online shopping. Nowadays many retail websites will launch a week of deals and promotions, giving online shoppers even more opportunities to get their Christmas shop in order.
Black Friday falls on Friday 25th November this year, so it really is just around the corner for those of you anxiously waiting for its arrival. We’ll leave you with this nugget of information; Black Friday is known in Wales as 'Dydd Gwener y Gwario Gwirion' which translates to ‘Silly Spending Friday’ – try saying that ten times fast, and happy shopping!
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