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Why Is It Called “Black Friday?” The Story Behind The Year's Biggest Shopping Day

23 Oct 2019

Black Friday is without a doubt the most anticipated shopping day of the year. Falling on the day after American Thanksgiving, shoppers rush in store and online to pick up tons of items at reduced prices to give as holiday gifts. This day is intense and full quick decision making, as much for consumers as it is for the stores. But where does the name “Black Friday” come from? Discover the origins of this day of incredible deals. 

Black Friday Origins

Since the 1950s, this Friday in November has been recognized as the start of the holiday shopping season. Since several businesses were closed on this day, stores started offering appealing discounts to attract customers who were on vacation. As a result, the streets filled with cars and pedestrians, causing unusually heavy and chaotic traffic.  

At the start of the 1960s, this day was baptised “Black Friday” by police officers in Philadelphia who had to work 12 consecutive hours in order to manage the disorder caused by this particularly busy day. The adjective "black" had been used for centuries to describe a day or event during which hardships had occurred, and therefore was utterly appropriate to characterize this day.

Originally, businesses would record their losses in red ink and their surpluses in black ink. This is why many believe that this day got its name from the large profit that storeowners made on the day, which took their finances from red to black. 

When the Canadian dollar was at parity with the American dollar at the beginning of the 2010s, some Canadian companies decided to offer Black Friday deals in order to stem the exodus of consumers towards our southern neighbor. Before this time, many of them crossed the border in order to take advantage of the sales, which had a negative impact on the local economy. Therefore, Canada decided to take part in the shopping day, much to the delight of shoppers who no longer needed to travel so far. 

What About Cyber Monday?

Besides the fact that they occur at different times over the same weekend, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are easy to confuse. The term "Cyber Monday" first appeared in 2005, many decades after Black Friday was invented. The concept is somewhat similar: a day of incredible discounts to satisfy the wants and needs of consumers.

What distinguishes Cyber Monday from Black Friday is that the sales are announced less in advance and it takes place mainly online. Another distinctive characteristic of Cyber Monday is how short-lived its sales are: often, they are over by the end of the day, so you need to act fast. For the past few years, Cyber Monday has dethroned Black Friday in terms of profits thanks to online sales. 

In order to further distinguish between these two sales events, the strategy of many stores is to offer exceptional sales on certain items only in store on Black Friday to ensure that customers visit the store in person. It's not unusual for stores to even stay open later in order to compete with one another and attract more customers.

While Black Friday deals are often more advantageous than those on Cyber Monday, the latter sales event allows you to avoid the crowds while shopping in the comfort of your own home. Despite their similarities, each of them is unique and has different features and advantages.

What To Expect On Black Friday

Until the mid-2000s, Black Friday was the most lucrative shopping day of the year for stores, that is, until the arrival of Cyber Monday. With the extension of the sales period and the increasing popularity of online shopping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have gradually lost their original privileged status.

For Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, taking place respectively on November 27 and November 30, 2020, Simons is preparing tempting promotions of up to 50% off on your favorite brands, like Champion, Calvin Klein, Puma, Tommy Jeans, Adidas, and many more. Keep your eyes peeled for our irresistible offers for women, men, and the home!