Every year, when American Thanksgiving celebrations come to an end, the nation gets ready for “Black Friday,” an annual shopping extravaganza. This day, which comes the day after Thanksgiving, has come to be associated with amazing bargains, lengthy lineups, and excited customers looking for the greatest offers. But how did Black Friday come to be, and what is the story behind this shopping phenomenon that has now spread worldwide?


Origins of Black Friday

The term “Black Friday” has several origins, with the earliest use of the term dating back to the 19th century. One popular theory suggests that the name originated from a financial crisis in 1869 when the U.S. gold market crashed. This day was referred to as “Black Friday” due to the severe economic downturn that followed the crash. However, this use of the term has little connection to the modern shopping holiday.

The more widely accepted origin of Black Friday as a shopping event stems from the mid-20th century, with a focus on the city of Philadelphia. In the 1950s, police officers and bus drivers in Philadelphia began using the term “Black Friday” to describe the chaotic and congested post-Thanksgiving traffic. The influx of suburban shoppers into the city created massive traffic jams and a surge in retail activity, leading to this descriptive term.

The Philadelphia Police Department disliked this unofficial name, as it painted a grim picture of the day. On the contrary, retailers embraced it and saw an opportunity to increase sales all through the Christmas season. The phrase “Black Friday” began to have a positive meaning throughout time and now marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

One significant event that contributed to the rise of Black Friday is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This iconic event, which first took place in 1924, was created by the department store chain Macy’s to celebrate the holiday season. The parade, which brought enormous floats and balloons made of helium to New York City, unofficially kicked off the Christmas shopping season. Because of this, merchants now know that the day following Thanksgiving is essential for offering exclusive deals and discounts in order to take advantage of the spike in customers.

The Evolution of Black Friday

Black Friday as we know it today started to take shape in the latter half of the 20th century. Retailers, recognizing the potential for high profits, began opening their stores early and offering deep discounts to attract shoppers. The concept of doorbuster deals—limited-time, deeply discounted items that incentivize people to line up outside stores—became a staple of Black Friday.

A major factor in making Black Friday the massive shopping event it is today was the retail sector. Stores advertised their Black Friday sales weeks in advance, and some even opened their doors at midnight to give shoppers a head start on the holiday shopping season. The competition between retailers to outdo each other with the biggest discounts and most enticing deals intensified, leading to the modern-day shopping madness that defines Black Friday.

The Digital Revolution

In the 21st century, Black Friday underwent a significant transformation with the advent of online shopping. The popularity of Cyber Monday, Black Friday’s online equivalent, and the growth of e-commerce gave the Christmas shopping season a new twist. Retailers started to extend their Black Friday deals to the internet, allowing shoppers to participate in the frenzy from the comfort of their homes.

The dynamics of Black Friday were significantly altered with the introduction of cellphones. With a few clicks on their screens, consumers can now compare prices, read reviews, and make purchases more easily thanks to mobile applications and online shopping platforms. This shift led to a decline in the significance of physical stores, and “Black Friday fatigue” set in as people began to question whether the early morning rush was worth the hassle.

Black Friday Around the World

While Black Friday originated in the United States, it has since spread to other countries around the world. In countries like Canada, the UK, and Australia, Black Friday has become a major shopping event, even though these nations do not celebrate Thanksgiving. Retailers have successfully exported the concept of Black Friday, convincing consumers that it is an excellent opportunity to snag holiday deals and discounts.

In some places, Black Friday has evolved differently, with retailers offering extended sales events or rebranding the shopping holiday to better suit local traditions. For instance, in the UK, Black Friday is often associated with chaotic in-store brawls over discounted electronics, leading to a focus on online shopping in recent years. In contrast, the concept of “Singles’ Day” in China, celebrated on November 11th (11/11), has become the world’s largest online shopping event, driven by e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The Dark Side of Black Friday

While Black Friday is a day of excitement for many shoppers, it has also garnered criticism over the years. The scenes of long lines, overcrowded stores, and sometimes unruly behaviour have raised safety concerns. In some instances, the quest for the best deals has led to injuries and even fatalities, as shoppers have become caught up in the frenzy of the day.

Furthermore, the pressure on retail workers who are often required to work on Thanksgiving itself has sparked debates about workers’ rights and the encroachment of consumerism into the holiday. Some retailers have responded by staying closed on Thanksgiving or offering employees the option to spend the holiday with their families.

Black Friday sale sign

Mysterium VPN Black Friday

In recent years, as online shopping has become more prevalent during the holiday season, the importance of online security has grown. With the increase in online transactions, protecting personal and financial information has become paramount. As Black Friday deals draw shoppers online, ensuring the security of their internet connections is essential.

Mysterium VPN, a leading provider of VPN services, recognizes the significance of online security during Black Friday and the entire holiday shopping season. With the discounts of Mysterium VPN Black Friday  it is an excellent time to consider investing in a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your online activities and data. When you purchase online, a VPN may encrypt your connection, making it more difficult for hackers and cybercriminals to intercept your financial information and personal information.

In closing, Black Friday’s history is an intriguing one that illustrates how retail, technology, and consumption are all changing throughout time. From its humble beginnings as a term to describe traffic congestion to its transformation into a global shopping phenomenon, Black Friday has undergone significant changes. Even if today is still all about deals and discounts, it’s important to keep in mind how important internet security is, especially during the Christmas shopping season. With the rise of e-commerce and the ever-present risks of online threats, investing in a VPN like Mysterium VPN can provide an extra layer of protection as you navigate the digital landscape on Black Friday and beyond.

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