Capsule 18: Black Friday Facts

In celebration of turning 18 this year, the Capsule team takes a look at some of the things we have learned on our journey to adulthood. In celebration of the craziness around Black Friday, we take a look at some of the most interesting facts about the life of the holiday.

18. The earliest known use of "Black Friday" to refer to the day after Thanksgiving occurs in the journal, Factory Management and Maintenance, for November 1951, and again in 1952. Here it referred to the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving, in order to have a four-day weekend.

17. The origin of the term "Black Friday" comes from the panic of 1869. “Other events have been described as "black Friday" in our history - the most significant being the Panic of 1869, in which financers Jay Gould and James Fisk took advantage of their connections with the Grand Administration in an attempt to corner the gold market. When President Grant learned of this manipulation, he ordered the Treasury to release a large supply of gold, which halted the run and caused prices to drop by eighteen percent. Fortunes were made and lost in a single day, and the president's own brother-in-law, Abel Corbin, was ruined.”

16. The biggest myth surrounding the origin of the term "Black Friday" is that after Thanksgiving, retailers would no longer be "in the red" and would be making a profit. 

15. In 2001, Black Friday becomes the biggest shopping day of the year – before that it was the Saturday before Christmas.

14. 2011 was the first year that retailers opened at midnight (Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, Bealls).

13. In 2012 Walmart was the first store to announce opening at 8:00pm on Thanksgiving.

12. Three states have made it illegal for stores to be open on Thanksgiving. These are known as the "Blue Law" states, and they are Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts.

11. Black Friday weekend contributes to about 30% of annual retail sales.

10. The NRF survey reported that stores would hire between 500,000 and 550,000 seasonal workers in 2017. That's fewer than the record 764,750 workers hired in 2013.

9. 154 million shoppers took part in Black Friday in 2016 over the Thanksgiving weekend, either online or in store. It has been predicted that this number will only increase this holiday season. Top online stores included Amazon and Walmart. That is: more than half of the total US population (328 million), More than the total population of Russia (134 million people)

8. Shoppers spent a combine total of $5.27 billion online on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a new record and 5.39% increase for Black Friday spending and a 6.22% increase for Thanksgiving spending.

7. Black Friday does not have the best deals traditionally - research reveals that the most deals for electronics are offered at the beginning of November. The best day for Christmas decor is November 22. Discounts are 23 percent on average. The best day to buy toys is the day before Thanksgiving.

6. The highest shopping area in the US is the SouthPark neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina.

5. Only 18% of American adults approve of Black Friday, a lower percentage than that of American adults that approve of Columbus Day (58%).

4. Mexico created El Buen Fin, or “the good weekend” after Black Friday that is similar - an annual weekend of retail discounts and “extended credit terms”. There have also been several international holidays created inspired by Black Friday.

3. There is a website dedicated to black Friday deaths: thus far 10 deaths and 105 injuries.

2. Alibaba's Singles Day has surpassed Black Friday in amount of money spend. In 2016, retailers on Alibaba's eCommerce platform took 17.8 billion in gross sales as compared to the 3.34 billion spent on Black Friday.

1. The first Black Friday death occured in 2008 at a Walmart in Valley Stream, NY. A stamped of anxious shoppers killed a 34-year old employee after they broke down the door and rushed in.

About The Author

Ellen Pickering

I am a recent St. Olaf graduate with a dual degree in Sociology/Anthropology and Studio Art. Guided by my interests in human behavior, research, and discovering trends and patterns, I am always seeking new ways to follow my curiosities, ask questions and turn ideas on their head. Other passions of mine include taking photographs, shooting hoops and organizing interior spaces.


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