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What Is Black Friday? Meaning, History & Origin

The Internet is always in a buzz when Black Friday comes around. And, yes, it’s been here once again. But what actually is it? What is Black Friday? Where did it originate and what is its meaning? Find out all you need to know right here. 

Black Friday sales are definitely one of the busiest days in any store and online shop. People camp out for hours and fight like crazy to save a few bucks here and there. Nowadays stores big and small offer competitive prices hoping to entice consumers into buying more. From Black Friday jewellery to tech, clothing and Black Friday watches, the sales are truly endless. 

Black Friday refers to the day after Thanksgiving and is symbolically seen as the start of the critical holiday shopping season. Since the introduction of Black Friday in 1960s, it has become one of the most important shopping events in the world. Here’s a breakdown of what Black Friday is, where it came from, and how this insane day became the retail phenomenon that it is today. Click the link below to jump to a section or read on to find out all you need to know!

What is black friday

What Is Black Friday Overview

Black Friday Meaning

Black Friday is the one day of the year when most people are on the hunt for a bargain and in the mood to shop. It has been a strong tradition since the 1950s, and it often falls on the fourth Thursday in November. It is generally recognised as the official start of the Christmas shopping season. 

Often starting at midnight on Thanksgiving Day and ending at midnight on Friday, it is traditionally characterised by big discounts, big lines, and massive chaos - that is of course, if you are shopping in store. The pandemic pushed more shoppers to stay home and shop online from their sofas, avoiding crowded stores and waiting in lines at malls. In 2020, consumers spent $9 billion on the web the day after Thanksgiving, up 21.6% year over year, according to data from Adobe Analytics. It’s said that retail online sales increase by up to 300% on this day!

There are sales everywhere, and they are deep! The internet and retail world brims with special discounts for everything from designer apparel to kitchen appliances and even to things like phone plans. It really is a bonanza, and it’s not just for online shoppers. 

Black Friday meaning

Where Did Black Friday Originate?

Black Friday is an American tradition that has spread to the rest of the world. It is probably safe to assume that you have heard of Black Friday but did you ever wonder where this unique name came from?

Many people know about the infamous stock market crash of 1929. What many people don’t know about this, is that it happened almost 30 years earlier, in 1869. The stock market crash of 1869 (also known as the “Black Friday”) was caused by rampant speculation in stocks which in turn, made the price of gold plumet. But that was then.

Today, Black Friday is about shopping. It’s the busiest shopping day of the year that creates massive long-term growth for retailers. Many companies see double-digit growth on their top line during the fourth quarter, which includes Black Friday weekend.

The term Black Friday was used by police and news media to describe the chaos created by crowds of holiday shoppers, and the high volume of traffic, as they flocked to their local department stores for exceptionally discounts and bargains.

Some also argue that the name has something to do with prices being marked down until they are “black.” Either way, it is obvious that things wouldn’t stop there, and that further days of sales beyond Black Friday would be dubbed “Black Thursday” and “Cyber Monday sales.”

In the early days of the American holiday shopping season, retailers would work hard to be able to stay open for 24 hours during the days leading up to the often-celebrated Thanksgiving holiday. In order to really take advantage of these long shopping times, stores would throw out huge special deals both in-store and online.

The goal was to “steal” the revenue from competitors while simultaneously getting shoppers into their store or onto their site. They wanted to get people talking about how much money they saved while doing so.

how did black friday originate

Black Friday History

As mentioned above, Black Friday as a term has been used since 1869, when two investors, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, drove up the price of gold and caused a crash that day. The term became synonymous with shopping in the 1950s, when Philadelphia

Police used the term to describe the traffic jams occurring as a result of shoppers squeezing into their shopping destinations for holiday deals. The huge crowds created a headache for the police, who worked longer shifts than usual as they dealt with traffic jams, accidents, shoplifting, and other issues.

A few years later, retailers tried to jump on the term and tried to put a positive spin on it. They called it “Big Friday” but it did not really take off. In fact, the term "Black Friday" only really took off in the 1980s.

Black Friday was described as the day stores began to turn a profit for the year and as the biggest shopping day in the United States. Since then, the world has adopted the day, and it has become one of the biggest days on the retail calendar. 

It became increasingly popular after the US 2009 recession as a substitute for shopping on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which were both increasingly seen as shopping days rather than religious holidays by the US population.

It has since become commercialised to an extent that it is now considered a major shopping day that can even be celebrated on Thanksgiving night itself depending on the region. Today, Black Friday remains a day that is frequently marked in shopping calendars around the world. This year, it is estimated that Australian's are planning on spending around A$375 per person in both online and brick-and-mortar stores.

black friday history

Our Favourite Black Friday Deals

Black Friday is approaching and you may be planning on doing some online shopping, but if you’re not prepared, you could end up spending more than you bargained for. Now you know the answer to "what is Black Friday", check out some of our favourite jewellery and watch deals. 

Gold earrings are the perfect addition to any outfit. Their versatility makes them an ideal gift for someone special or as a treat for yourself. Whether you prefer traditional designs or something that pushes the envelope, we have the perfect gold earrings piece for the occasion. Check out these 9ct gold filled earrings below!

A Shiels bracelet is definitely a dream come true, for both ladies and gents alike. Not only does each bracelet symbolise creating authentic connections, but each one looks great and feels great too. Check out this 1 carat diamond bracelet below, it's an absolute show stopper! 

Made with passion and precision, our diamond rings truly are forever. Each piece celebrates individuality and embraces everything that makes you, your individual self. At $500 per carat, there is something for everyone's taste. 

For all the men's jewellery bargain hunters, we've gold chains for you. They are comfortable to wear and long-lasting. You can choose to wear several fine chains at once, or you can opt for just one statement piece. Check out this 55cm chain with a matching bracelet. Our pick for the best men's jewellery boxing day deal. 


Looking for Black Friday men's watches? It's hard to go past this gold Citizen watch. This stunning timepiece is surrounded by 32 diamonds intricately set into the bezel. Designed for world time presentation with comprehensive international face markings, it also provides day/date display, 12 and 24 hour time and convenient low charge indicator. Delivering confidence by way of WR100/10bar and precision to within 15 seconds over the course of an entire month, it is also powered by Eco-Drive technology, harnessing light energy with 6 months power in reserve so that it never requires batteries.

If you're more of a Seiko man, look no further than this Save The Ocean Special Edition watches. The design motif is based on the blue whale, a symbol of everything that is wonderful about our oceans. 

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