By: Emily Safier  | 

Shopping and Shoving

Black Friday: the day that hordes of people make a mad dash for any and all products they can reach, casually shoving shoppers out of their way in the name of saving a few dollars. The heavily discounted shopping day and its e-commerce sister-day, Cyber Monday, attracted a record 186.4 million U.S. shoppers to its deals in 2020. This year’s Black Friday — with loosened COVID-19 restrictions and an increase in open stores following lockdowns — has consumers eagerly looking forward to shopping and spending a predicted amount of $843.4-$859 billion.

The name itself, Black Friday, originated in 1869 to describe the gold collapse caused by the failed plan of two Wall Street financiers who sought to raise prices by purchasing as much gold as possible, resulting in the market’s downfall. Nearly a century later, the term Black Friday was used by Philadelphia police to describe the violent day in which mobs of people headed to the annual Army-Navy football game and early holiday shopping. In 1960, Black Friday was introduced as an accounting term to explain how the day's peak shopping rates push annual revenue for businesses from “in the red” (a loss) to “in the black” (profit).

As Black Friday sales gained in popularity, businesses opened as early as Thanksgiving morning to increase sales. Having a profitable Black Friday is a crucial sign of an upcoming fruitful shopping season, as the sales amount to over 19% of the retail industry’s annual revenue; investors usually rely on these numbers to formulate their investment strategies. The most sought-after products on Black Friday 2020, were toys and electronics, like Animal Crossing games, Barbie dolls, AirPods, Apple Watches and TVs. And the departments at the top of wish lists were clothing, small appliances, toys, laptops, TVs and video games. For those of us uninterested in waiting in the bitter cold for hours on end, trampled by vicious crowds, only to discover our favorite product was snatched by an angry soccer mom, Cyber Monday, the virtual, convenient shopping event of the season, is the ideal alternative. This option was introduced in the early 2000s as retailers noticed an increasing amount of consumers turning to shop online come the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend — a trend that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Furthermore, due to the pandemic’s effect on the traditional in-person shopping experience, Cyber Monday had its time to shine in 2020, with a record 100 million consumers shopping online, compared to 58.7 million in person. To make up for the near disappearance of in-person shopping during the pandemic, many stores also offered curbside pickup and online deals for the entirety of November to boost morale and, of course, boost their profit. This trend continues to gain traction as experts predicted 158.3 million consumers to turn to the online Cyber Monday festivities, this being a promising increase from last year’s already successful online numbers.

Photo Caption: Black Friday sales

Photo Credit: Pixabay