AUSTIN (KXAN) — “Black Friday” — or the day after Thanksgiving, is widely considered the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the U.S., but where and when did it come from?
According to the Daily Telegraph, the phrase “Black Friday” actually dates back to 1869, when the U.S. gold market crashed — the name was initially associated with “bad” things. Additionally, back in the days when sales records were kept by hand, retailers would indicate losses in red and profits in black.
The term “Black Friday” was not related to the day after Thanksgiving, however, until the 1950s in Philadelphia, when swarms of people would invade the city the day after Thanksgiving for the Army-Navy football game. The Daily Telegraph reports that Philly police during that time were unable to ask off that Friday and would often end up working longer hours to deal with the crowds and traffic.
It wasn’t until the late 1980s, however, that U.S. retailers began using the phrase to signify the start of the holiday shopping season.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Macy’s was the first U.S. store to advertise post-Thanksgiving shopping back in 1924, during its famous Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The day continued to boom in the 1970s and 80s, morphing into the sales bonanza we know today as “Black Friday.”
In a 2018 post-holiday aggregation, Forbes calculated that Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in online sales alone. Meaghan Brophy, senior retail analyst at Fit Small Business said in a recent NBC News interview that Black Friday — and its newer online cousin Cyber Monday — may be more hectic this year due to there being fewer days between Black Friday and Christmas as opposed to other years.
“This year, there are only 26 days,” Brophy said. “Shoppers might feel a greater sense of urgency this Black Friday, as there is less time to cross items off of the shopping lists.”