Should Black Friday be an American Holiday?
Why “Black Friday”?
Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day- the Friday after the fourth Thursday in November each year. Black Friday is the start of the Christmas shopping season in the US. In recent years it has been marked by shopping hysteria with most retailers, malls, and shopping centers offering huge discounts or bargain deals, often called “doorbuster deals” and “loss leaders”. Black Friday became the unofficial start to Christmas shopping ever since the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924.
Black Friday Dates- past, present and future
November 29, 2013
November 28, 2014
November 27, 2015
November 25, 2016
November 24, 2017
November 23, 2018
November 29, 2019
November 27, 2020
Most enterprises believe that the huge volume of sales on the day, and then on, turns the profitability of businesses. Thanks to revenue from sales on that day, many establishments go from an annual loss to an annual profit on this day, hence the name “Black Friday”. Black Friday is not a federal holiday but is observed as a state holiday in many US states.
US states where Black Friday is a holiday: California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia.
A number of big corporations allow employees to take a day off from their annual leaves. Those in retail, however, have a tough day at work as crowds throng to clinch the best deals before stocks run out. More and more retail establishments are opening as early as 4 am on Black Friday. While traditionally spoken of in a US context, Black Friday is now growing in popularity in Canada, and the UK due to deals offers by online retailers such as Amazon. Other countries where Black Friday has gained popularity are Mexico, where it's called El Buen Fin (the good weekend) and Romania, where it begins earlier than the US, starting on November 22.
Booming Sales Figures
As per the data released by Adobe, In 2015, shoppers spent $4.45 billion online on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday brought in around $2.72 billion in e-commerce sales. This was up 14 percent from 2014. The best selling electronic products that witnessed significant sales were Apple iPad Air 2, Sony PS4, Samsung 4K TVs, Microsoft Xbox One and the Apple iPad Mini. Products that were sold online witnessed an average discount of 24%. Mobiles sales were also good and generated $583 million in sales on America's busiest shopping day. In 2015, some 151 million people shopped over the Black Friday holiday weekend. According to an estimate by the National Retail Federation, each person spent around $300, which brought in retail totals upward of $ 45 billion. According to the
How Early Is Early?
Mall of America, which is located in Bloomington, Minnesota and is the largest shopping center in the US, announced in early October that it would remain closed on Thanksgiving. Hilldale will be open on Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Greenway Station in Middleton will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Located about halfway, Johnson Creek Premium Outlets will be open from 6 p.m. Thursday to 2 a.m. Friday.
Other Days of Shopping Frenzy
Cyber Monday- Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving causes a huge shopping frenzy, online. It is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.
Apart from the US, Cyber Monday is considered an important day for online sales in Canada, the UK (where it's called Mega Monday), Germany, Portugal, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, Israel, and Japan. Retailers offer huge discounts and often free shipping as well.
In Australia a similar online shopping event called Click Frenzy was started by online retailers on 20th Nov 2012.
In India, Google India partnered with large Indian online retailers to offer the Great Online Shopping Festival, modeled on Cyber Monday, on 12 December 2012.
Boxing Day- The day after Christmas has been marked by high sales and huge discounts in countries such as the UK.
Singles' Day- Singles' Day in China is always on November 11. While it is essentially about losing one’s single status, online sales in recent years have boomed on the day.
Mobile Midweek- Mobile Midweek refers to the discounts and offers advertised by retailers for customers shopping through their mobile devices. It could be anytime in November.
Super Saturday- Super Saturday is the Saturday before Christmas. Typically retailers in the US and elsewhere try to attract shoppers by announcing attractive offers in an attempt to draw the final revenues before Christmas.
The Dark Side of Black Friday
Back in 1966, the Philadelphia Police Department seems to have named the day following Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, due to the huge traffic jams and overcrowded streets that the start of the shopping season brought.
In recent years, the day has been characterized by much violence and unpleasantness. In 2008, a crowd of over 2000 shoppers surged into a New York Valley Stream Wal-Mart store breaking down doors and in the process killing temporary worker Jdimytai Damour who was caught in the stampede. In 2010, another stampede at the New York Target store injured a number of shoppers. In 2011, in a sad example of violence and competitive spirit a woman pepper sprayed other shoppers outside the Porter Ranch Wal-Mart in the San Fernando Valley in an attempt to better her chances at securing bargain deals on electronics. The incident injured over 20 people. In 2012, a man and a woman were shot outside a Tallahassee Walmart as a result of a dispute over a parking slot. These, unfortunately, are not isolated incidents. Dozens of incidents relating to mob violence, break-ins, scuffles and street-fights are reported each year across America on Black Friday raising a question over the ability of retail stores and even police departments to manage such a rush.
Traditionally, Black Friday has been characterized by good will and a keen desire to spend one's money for a good cause. Many prefer to buy gifts for friends and family. But a recent Deal News Survey has surprised many with its results. An astonishing 44% shoppers say that they use Black Friday deals and discounts to shop for themselves and an additional 21% shop for their children. Only 16% buy gifts for relatives, 13% for a spouse or partner, and about 7% for friends, said the survey.
Buy Nothing Day - Buy Nothing Day is an international day held in protest against consumerism. Buy Nothing Day is on Black Friday in North America, and on the day following it elsewhere in the world. Buy Nothing Day was initiated by Ted Dave (a social activist, comic, and artist) in Vancouver, Canada. The movement has now spread to the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. Critics of Black Friday also say it causes shoppers to spend unnecessarily and add to their credit card debt.
Is this shopping frenzy making us more consumerist?
Should the US government reward this by declaring it a holiday?