Real meaning behind the phrase Black Friday and its history explained

Black Friday 2021 is officially here as people start their hunts for the deal of the year both in stores and online.

Now with a holiday-like status the day, which is an import from the USA, has come to represent the first day of Christmas shopping.

The day isn't for everyone though, with conversations about its ethics becoming more and more frequent.

The day first appeared in the UK in 2010 when retail giants Amazon began offering slashed price goods on its GB site in line with its American counterpart. Three years later when Asda, which at the time was owned by US-based grocery giant Walmart, started introducing Black Friday offers, the day's place in the UK's shopping calendar became cemented.

Why is it called Black Friday?

The original use of the term Black Friday is thought to have arisen in 1960s Philadelphia in the USA, when huge amounts of traffic after the Thanksgiving weekend caused huge congestion on roads.

It was referred to this way by the police, who would have to deal with heavy traffic as people flooded into the city to kick start their Christmas shopping and watch the traditional Army-Navy American football game.

The date has been cemented by the idea that retailers would finally move from the red into the black as the beginning of the huge shopping season saw them take in bigger lumps of cash and start to turn a profit for the year.

Thanksgiving always takes place on a Thursday, and so Black Friday's calendar date can change from year to year.

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Before the popularity of the bargain bin bonanza set in here in the UK, the term was used by the NHS and the police to refer to the final Friday before Christmas, when a surge in office parties would put huge strain on the emergency services.

Data analysis and modelling by firm Adobe has predicted that £647 billion will be spent in retail worldwide this season.

What is Cyber Monday?

The sales continue into Cyber Monday, which takes place on the first day following the Thanksgiving weekend. It is similar to Black Friday but sees online stores, rather than brick and mortar ones lead the charge.

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