Black Friday in the History of the USA

Black Friday in the History of the USAThe allure of deals, the frenzy of shopping carts, and the scent of new merchandise; these are synonymous with Black Friday, a phenomenon deeply embedded in American consumer culture. But how did this annual shopping extravaganza, known for its deep discounts and manic shopping sprees, evolve over the years? Let's delve into the history, figures, and analytics of Black Friday to uncover its fascinating past.

Black Friday: The evolution of America's biggest shopping day

Interestingly, the term "Black Friday" was first used in 1869, not in connection with post-Thanksgiving shopping, but to describe a financial crisis. Two Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and James Fisk, tried to corner the gold market on the New York Gold Exchange, leading to a catastrophic market crash on a Friday.

It wasn't until the 1960s in Philadelphia that "Black Friday" started to gain its shopping significance. It described the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic occurring the day after Thanksgiving. Retailers started realizing the potential of this day to boost their sales and profitability. From 1985 to 2020, Black Friday sales have witnessed explosive growth. According to the National Retail Federation:

  • In 1985, approximately $50 billion was spent over the Black Friday weekend.
  • Fast forward to 2020, Americans spent a staggering $767.27 billion over the same period.

This exponential growth highlights Black Friday's significance in American consumer culture. It's not just about the sales; it's an event, a ritual, and for many, a tradition. As technology progressed, so did Black Friday. With the rise of the internet and e-commerce platforms, retailers quickly recognized the potential of extending Black Friday to online domains. The birth of "Cyber Monday" in 2005, the Monday following Black Friday, marked the start of the online shopping trend for holiday sales.

Analyzing data from Statista:

  • In 2010, $1.51 billion was spent online during Black Friday, which was only a fraction of total sales.
  • By 2020, online sales on Black Friday reached $9 billion, making it one of the largest online shopping days in the U.S.

While deals and discounts have been at the forefront of Black Friday's appeal, recent years have marked a shift. Conscious consumerism, where buyers are more aware of the environmental and societal impacts of their purchases, is reshaping the Black Friday landscape.

Some retailers, such as outdoor retailer REI, have initiated campaigns like OptOutside, encouraging consumers to enjoy nature rather than shop on Black Friday. These movements, coupled with criticisms about the treatment of retail workers and environmental concerns, have sparked discussions about the sustainability and ethics of Black Friday.

Shopping smart on Black Friday in the USA: a comprehensive guide

Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States, renowned as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Revered and reviled, Black Friday has become synonymous with deep discounts, midnight shopping sprees, and, unfortunately, occasional shopping madness. But how can you navigate the chaos and snag the best deals? Let’s dive in!

Black Friday originated in the 1960s and is named for retailers "moving into the black," indicating profit. Over the years, it has evolved into a global phenomenon. In 2019, for instance, American shoppers spent an estimated $7.4 billion online on Black Friday alone, according to Adobe Analytics.

Plan and Prioritize

  • Research: months before the big day, retailers begin leaking their Black Friday specials. Websites like or provide advance copies of retailer ads, helping you plan.
  • Make a List: knowing what you want beforehand can save you from impulse buying. Draft a wishlist and a budget.
  • Compare Prices: use comparison tools like Google Shopping or apps like ShopSavvy to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Brick-and-Mortar Strategies

  • Arrive Early (or Late): the early bird gets the worm, but if you’re not a morning person, some deals are restocked in the evening.
  • Dress for Success: comfortable shoes and layered clothing are essential. 
  • Shop in Groups: divide and conquer different sections of the store.
  • Know the Store Layout: many retailers rearrange items just for Black Friday. Visit beforehand or get a map.

Online Shopping Tips

  • Shop Early or Late: in 2021, 39% of purchases were made on smartphones between midnight and 6 am, as reported by Shopify. Sometimes, deals go live at midnight or even earlier.
  • Use Technology: browser extensions like Honey or Rakuten can automatically apply coupon codes or give cash back.
  • Stay Safe: ensure the website starts with "https://", indicating a secure connection.

Dealing with Return Policies

Black Friday deals can sometimes mean strict return policies. Always check a store's return policy before making a purchase. Keep receipts and be wary of restocking fees.

Reality Check: Is it Really a Deal?

Retailers have been known to mark up prices before Black Friday to make discounts seem deeper. CamelCamelCamel, for example, tracks price histories on Amazon. Always verify.

Navigating Black Friday Restrictions in the USA

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the USA, has long been associated with shopping frenzies, mammoth discounts, and eager crowds thronging both brick-and-mortar stores and online portals. Yet, along with its notoriety for blockbuster deals, the event sometimes brings restrictions aimed at ensuring safety, security, and fairness. Understanding these can be crucial to a shopper’s experience.

  • Store Capacity and Time Limits. In the wake of the global pandemic, health and safety became paramount. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), in 2020 many stores had to drastically reduce their in-store capacities to anywhere from 20% to 50%. To manage these limits and maintain the flow of shoppers, retailers sometimes set time limits for shopping, ensuring that everyone gets a chance to snag their desired deals while adhering to health guidelines.

Quantity Restrictions. To deter resellers and ensure that as many customers as possible can access Black Friday deals, many retailers set purchase limits. For example, a store might restrict a deeply discounted gadget to one or two units per customer.

  • Special Hours for Vulnerable Populations. Taking a leaf from pandemic-induced shopping practices, some retailers have introduced special hours for seniors and vulnerable populations. The NRF notes that this ensures a safer, less chaotic shopping environment for those at higher risk.

Online Purchasing Restrictions. As online shopping boomed - with Adobe Analytics reporting a 21.6% increase in online sales on Black Friday 2020 compared to the previous year - so did the challenges. Websites set restrictions on online traffic, leading to virtual waiting rooms. Some high-demand products might be limited to in-store purchase only to manage demand and reduce website crashes.

  • Enhanced Security Measures. With large crowds and high emotions, security is paramount. Many retailers have security personnel and crowd management strategies. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, incidents of shoplifting and other property crimes tend to spike during the holiday season, leading to stricter in-store surveillance on Black Friday.

Geographical Restrictions. For those shopping online from international locations, it's crucial to note that some Black Friday deals may be restricted to US addresses only. This could be due to licensing agreements, region-specific product versions, or logistical reasons.

  • Coupon and Discount Limitations. While Black Friday deals are lucrative, they sometimes come with the fine print. A 2019 study from The Balance showed that up to 28% of Black Friday discounts required a purchase minimum or were tied to rebates, making it essential for shoppers to read deal terms carefully.

Mobile Proxies: The unsung hero of US Black Friday shopping

In the digital age, Black Friday shopping isn't just a mad dash to the nearest store; it's a strategic navigation of online deals, flash sales, and web-based doorbusters. As the e-commerce landscape becomes increasingly competitive, savvy shoppers and businesses alike are turning to an unexpected tool for an edge: mobile proxies. But how exactly do mobile proxies fit into the Black Friday equation?

  • Navigating Geo-Restrictions

Often, Black Friday deals are exclusive to specific regions or countries. A mobile proxy, which assigns a user a different IP address based on a mobile network, can help shoppers appear as though they're browsing from within the US, allowing them to access US-exclusive deals. Fact Check: in 2019, Digital Commerce 360 reported that US e-commerce sales on Black Friday totaled $7.4 billion, a testament to the magnetism of US-based online deals.

  • Bypassing Website Throttling and Bans

During Black Friday, websites receive traffic spikes. To manage this, they might limit the number of requests from a single IP or even temporarily block it. Mobile proxies rotate IPs, allowing users to bypass such restrictions and continue shopping seamlessly.

  • Price Comparison & Deal Snagging

Some shoppers or businesses utilize automated bots to compare prices across different platforms or snatch up deals the moment they go live. However, these bots can be detected and banned. Mobile proxies help mask such bot activities, making it easier to grab the best deals. Analytics Insight: according to a 2020 study by PerimeterX, automated bots accounted for over 90% of login traffic on many online retail sites during peak holiday shopping periods, underscoring their popularity.

  • Protecting Shopper Privacy

Mobile proxies don't just benefit those looking for deals; they also offer a layer of security. Black Friday online shopping can expose users to increased risks from cyber threats. A mobile proxy acts as a shield, keeping the user's original IP address hidden and offering added privacy.

  • Ensuring a Fair Playing Field for Retailers

While many businesses run legitimate promotions on Black Friday, some might deploy underhanded tactics, like sending bots to competitors' sites to buy up discounted stock. Retailers can use mobile proxies to conduct competitive research discreetly or to monitor their sites for fraudulent activities without tipping their hand.

  • Digital Ad Verification

Brands spend extensively on Black Friday advertising. To ensure their ads are reaching the right audience and aren't being misrepresented or placed alongside unsuitable content, companies use mobile proxies. These proxies allow them to see how their ads appear to users in different locations, ensuring campaign efficacy. Figure Focus: in 2019, the US digital ad spending during the holiday season was estimated to reach $19.4 billion, highlighting the scale and importance of ad verification.