History of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday shopper with bag

The history of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is shrouded in mystery. However, they are the two most important sales days for retailers and their website developers. Weeks of careful consideration and planning is put into preparing a website and retail store for Black Friday. Sales are planned, special graphics are made, website layouts altered, all for a few days of the year that signify the start of the holiday shopping season. 

But how did it all begin? Black Friday is a term given for several days of historical note, the first perhaps being the stock market panic of 1869. However, the Black Friday tradition we all know today was started in 1951 when the Factory Management and Maintenance journal coined the term because of large numbers of workers calling out sick the day after Thanksgiving to get a head start on the holiday shopping season. Around this time the police in Philadelphia began using the same term due to the severe traffic congestion from early holiday shoppers. 

Over the next 15 years or so the term was sparsely used. After appearing in the New York Times the term finally started to catch on with retailers. Although, as late as 1985, retailers in Los Angeles and Cincinnati reported not knowing what the term stood for. 

In more recent years Cyber Monday has begun to catch on as a secondary sales holiday. Retailers started to see a trend of increased e-commerce sales the Monday following Thanksgiving. Most analyst attributed the phenomena to shoppers who did not have the time or willingness to participate with traditional in-store Black Friday sales. Thus, in 2005 the National Retail Federation invented the term Cyber Monday. As online retail giants like Amazon and Ebay began to grow so did the popularity of Cyber Monday. 

In 2018, Black Friday and Cyber Monday accounted for $14.1 billion in sales, with Cyber Monday sales totaling $1.5 billion more than Black Friday. This was the first year that Cyber Monday earned more in sales than its Black Friday forebear.

Are you going to be shopping this Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday? Did you know the history of Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Let us know what is on your shopping list below!

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