Black Friday has always been a very big deal in the United States of America but more recently it has begun to really take off in the United Kingdom along with the similar day of savings - "Cyber Monday". But just what were the reasons that led to the event finally beginning to take off in the UK after so many years?
Before we dive into Black Friday's UK history we have to first explore how the event really took off back in the US. In America, Black Friday is the Friday that follows the day of Thanksgiving in the US which is always celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November. For example, this year Black Friday will be taking place on the 29th of November. The end of Thanksgiving is known as the start of the Christmas season in America, with Christmas parades and adverts beginning the next day, therefore this Friday is unofficially known as the start of the Christmas shopping season. Knowing this, we can see where the idea of Black Friday came from - the first day of the Christmas shopping season was bound to lead to even higher numbers of sales when complimented by generous discounts. The term "Black Friday" these days comes from retailers marking their profit numbers in black rather than a loss marked in the colour red. The marking of profit margins in black is usually more common during this Friday and the following holiday season, hence why the day is known as "Black Friday".
- Black Friday has been a huge event in the United States of America for more than 50 years.
In the United Kingdom, originally Black Friday had a very different origin story to it's US counterpart. Instead of falling on the final day of November it instead falls on the last Friday before Christmas Day. This is not really considered a day of shopping/retail however and is more a day of partying. This use of the name "Black Friday" came from the Police and National Health Service who came up with the term to describe the chaos that the day was causing. Other common names that have been used include "Frantic Friday", "Mad Friday" and "Black Eye Friday" which seems to have stuck with the media and general public in more recent years.
Despite this completely separate event however, there were also many attempts to introduce a retail style Black Friday at the end of November that was similar to the event in the US set after Thanksgiving. These attempts first began after the year 2000 and were largely met with failure due to a number of reasons including the difference of culture and sheer size of spending between the two countries. In the year 2013 however Black Friday in the UK really began to take off thanks in part to American retailer Walmart who decided to test an American themed Black Friday sale with their UK supermarket "Asda". Some retailers decided to follow suit but others were very sceptical believing the event to be too closely tied to American culture and instead decided to sit back and watch the event unfold instead.
Nevertheless the day proved to be very successful and Black Friday returned the following year in 2014. This year many more retailers decided to join in with the fun including "John Lewis" and "Argos" who all offered a wide variety of discounts to their customers. This years Black Friday became infamous however due to the riots and stress it caused the UK over that weekend. Many fights and robberies broke out in shops and supermarkets with people fighting over the limited stock available. It was the UK's first proper Black Friday and it was very clear that most retailers were not properly prepared for the customer interest that it would bring as well as the security issues that would arise. After all the commotion Asda informed their customers that they would not be taking part in 2015's Black Friday which is somewhat ironic given that they helped start the trend in the UK in the first place!
- Black Friday in 2014 led to riots and fights due to a lack of preparation and security.
In 2015 Black Friday was estimated to be the biggest day of shopping in British history by many industry experts. This did not quite happen however. Perhaps due to the madness and chaos of the previous year many retailers decided to downplay the importance of Black Friday and instead chose to focus on the buildup to Christmas instead. Nevertheless Black Friday continued to grow every year in the UK and in 2017 led to November retail sales shockingly topping those in December. It had taken almost 17 years but Black Friday had finally arrived in the UK the same way it had in the US many years ago.
At the Scotland Kilt Company we have taken part in Black Friday for a number of years now, offering our customers great value deals and offers for a limited time and this year will be no different. From the weekend starting this Friday, November the 29th and the following Cyber Monday we will be offering you some great Black Friday savings. Be sure to check out our website this Friday and we hope you all have a great Black Friday!
- Our Black Friday sale will begin this Friday the 29th of November!