Black Friday 2023: How Black Friday has evolved through the years

Black Friday will be back later on in the year and people will be setting alarms, making lists, and loading up webpages in anticipation - but what exactly is this famous Friday all about? Shop our current best deals here Our Best Black Friday Deals while you wait for the big day!

Why Is It Called Black Friday?

The term Black Friday is so synonymous with sales and discounts nowadays that many people forget the rather humorous reason it was coined in the first place. The earliest use of the phrase actually referred to the day after Thanksgiving occurred in America, a day where many factory workers would call in sick in order to have a four-day weekend (we've all been there!). This was in 1951 and 1952, listed in the Factory Management and Maintenance journal as a sort of prediction for years to come, little did they know just how huge Black Friday would be in the coming years. However, there are many other explanations online around Black Fridays origins. One being that the phrase signified a positive boost in sales for stores after the lull of Thanksgiving where companies would be 'in the red', and that this Friday would help put their profits back 'in black'. Wherever the phrase came from, it has become known as the biggest shopping day in the United States for some time, with other countries joining in just as quickly.

When Did Black Friday Come To The UK?

Black Friday has been in the UK for over a decade now, with its popularity gaining traction between 2010 and 2013, starting with Amazon. Though us Brits don't partake in Thanksgiving, we do love a bargain! So stores quickly caught on to dropping prices (for one day only) in the run up to Christmas to get rid of excess stock, boost their profits for the year, and maybe see what items to get more of in the future. It is safe to say that since then, Black Friday in the UK has most definitely been a success, with shops like Argos and John Lewis reporting record breaking amounts of traffic to their sites and visitors to stores on the famous Friday. For years we have seen this success even splashed across the news, but not always for the best reasons...

When Did The Chaos Start?

Black Friday started off strong, with Amazon leading the charge and offering discounts and huge sales on almost all items, but it soon turned sour. When ASDA joined the hype in 2013, there were reports of broken bones and fights breaking out as people rushed to the popular supermarket to take advantage of the 70% off deals. Each year that Black Friday has gained momentum in the UK since then, more and more shaky iPhone and CCTV footage has come out of the crazy and chaotic front doors of shops on the high street in the run up to the day. People lined up, some even camping out for days, outside of popular stores in anticipation of the sales. Locked shop doors being bombarded by hoards of bargain hunters, and staff members even being mowed down in the process.

When Was The Move Online?

2016 saw a turning point for Black Friday, not only a 12% increase in online sales from the year before, but in general, quieter streets. People caught on to the fact that there was no need to risk injury or dignity in a queue for days outside their favourite store - a queue on a webpage from the safety of their own home could suffice (and it was slightly less chaotic). In 2017, for the first time in history, the spending online in November overtook that of the Christmas shopping in December. Since then, almost every online retailer has begun to include themselves in these Black Friday sales with enough marketing, promises of bargains, and in-your-face advertising as possible.

What Can We Expect From Black Friday 2023?

Each year on this historic Black Friday, stores constantly try to outwit and out-advertise each other whilst simultaneously improving on their past selves with even bigger sales, even bigger events, and even more online presence. This year, we can expect retailers to be as they always are - in a bid for your attention. Be on the lookout for same day delivery promises (bonus points if it's delivered by drone), Virtual Reality (VR) shopping experience offers, and sales that last all week rather than just the one day. What will you be buying...?