Black Friday is a shopping event that has its origins in the US and is observed a day after Thanksgiving, which marks the start of the holiday shopping season.
The event has now acquired global significance and is no longer confined to the US. Several ecommerce giants like Amazon now capitalise on Black Friday to offer shoppers in India and around the world deals to meet their festive season shopping needs.
Shopping websites now offer a number of deals to their customers on Black Friday. These include discounts on a large number of products, ranging from electronics, smartphones, TVs, laptops, consoles, kitchen appliances, clothing, beauty and music, to name a few.
Black Friday falls on 26 November this year. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
How did Black Friday begin?
Black Friday gained significant popularity in the US in the mid 2000s, when online shopping was still quite nascent. The increasing use of the worldwide web resulted in a jump in online sales, which began to compete with, and have now overtaken, sales at physical stores.
Over the years, just like how conventional retailers officially adopted the holiday and had hordes of shoppers flood their stores, the global shopping boom has resulted in several parts of the world observing their own Black Friday holiday events.
A study by Adobe Analytics found that global online spending is expected to hit $910bn (£674bn) this season, with holiday sales in the US accounting for $207bn (£153bn) worth between 1 November and 31 December, according to a release issued by Adobe on 20 October.
Why is it called Black Friday?
During the 1960s, Philadelphia police first began using the term “Black Friday” to refer to the day between Thanksgiving and an annual Army-Navy football game. Hordes of people would crowd the city that Friday and the police would need to work extended periods to cover the groups and traffic.
It is said that vendors had tried changing the name of the holiday to “Big Friday”, something that never caught on.
How big is it in the UK?
Traditionally, Boxing Day is considered the biggest shopping day of the year in the UK. However, several American-owned retailers such as Amazon began to hold US-style Black Friday promotions in 2014, causing more British retailers to adopt the concept, including John Lewis and Argos.
In that year, police forces were called to shops across Britain to deal with crowd control issues, assaults, threatening customers, and traffic issues.
Black Friday has since then become a significant event in the UK. In 2016, total spending on online retail sites on Black Friday was $1.6bn (£1.23bn).
Is Black Friday observed in India?
In India, the entire concept of Black Friday is relatively new. The event sometimes coincides with the country’s celebration of Hindu festivals.
The busiest times for shopping in India – and hence the times when retailers offer the biggest discounts – tend to be around the months of October and November. This is because of the Diwali festival, followed by regional festivals like Durga Puja in West Bengal state, Ugadi and Pongal in southern Indian states and Ganeshotsav in Maharashtra state.
Black Friday, thus, falls in an apt festive window for shoppers across the country who are already on the lookout for the best deals.
Just like in the UK, a growing number of e-commerce websites and large international retail shopping centres like Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba, and eBay have contributed to the popularity of Black Friday in the south Asian country.
India-based shopping platforms like Nykaa and Flipkart have also started offering sales on this day.
Is it worth shopping on Black Friday in India?
According to a 2019 poll by Finder.com, a financial services firm, 58 per cent of Indians think Black Friday shopping would give them good value. Thirty per cent of shoppers say they’re willing to queue overnight to secure a Black Friday bargain, according to the survey.
Amazon was the most sought after ecommerce website in India, according to Finder.com. Another sought-after retailer for Black Friday mentioned by the financial services firm was video game digital distribution service Steam and Flipkart, Amazon’s rival in India.
As of now, Amazon India is promoting many Black Friday bargains on a range of electronic gadgets like Fitbit watches, headphones, projectors and laptops among others.
The retail giant is offering deals earlier than ever in a bid to avoid shipping delays caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This implies that customers can purchase record-low prices on products from brands like Nike, Apple, HP, and Sony right now.