What is (Cyber) Black Friday?

Black-Friday-2012Today, 23 November 2012 is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day in the USA. It’s a great day to do some online shopping for the Christmas holiday season as many retailer run one day only promotions to try to win your valuable festive custom.

People here in the UK often ask me what it’s all about. The origins of the phrase ‘Black Friday’ are not entirely clear. Wikipedia refers to its use in Philadelphia well before 1961 where it described the “heavy and disruptive traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving”. An alternative explanation is also given that it’s the point in the calendar year when most retailers start to turn a profit.

Today, the meaning is unambiguous: Black Friday is the day that signals the start of the busy Christmas shopping season, when retailers open early and offer some very special discounts to entice customers to part with their cash. In the USA, it has been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005 and consumers around the world are increasingly getting in on the act through online shopping channels in their own version of the event called Cyber Black Friday. Inevitably, some retailers have sought to gain advantage over their rivals, with some going so far as running Black (or Grey) Thursday offers.

So how can you get involved? Most major online retailers are running special promotions today, many extending into the weekend, giving generous discounts off of popular products. Look for special offers from Amazon, Ebay, Apple, John Lewis, Tesco and many other major retailers. But you have to move quickly; the deals are often limited and sell out quickly.

Happy shopping!

(image credit: © maresz_1980 – Fotolia.com)