A look at Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the future of Christmas Shopping in the build up to Christmas

Black FridayDecember has arrived! This only means one thing.  The Banana Moon countdown to Christmas has begun!

In the Flyde household we have a few traditions which mark the start of the Festive Season!  This year is no different! The kids have put up their chocolate Advent Calendars, written and posted their letters to Santa, the Christmas compilation CD has been dusted off and is on loop on the CD player and we have watched our favourite Christmassy film Home Alone!

In the 2nd week of December we always put up the tree, making sure that the star on top is straight and not wobbly! we make our paper chains and then will embark on our one Saturday morning of present buying for all our whole family in one go followed by a hot chocolate with marshmallows!

Presents will then be wrapped and hidden in a top secret location! Christmas meals will follow, then a trip to church for carols and the nativity story and then maybe a trip to the cinema on Christmas Eve as a treat! The boys will put out a beer for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph before putting their stockings at the bottom of their beds ready to open Christmas morning!

We all countdown to Christmas at different times and in different ways, however in the last few years a new term has been on the UK news, in the shops and on the lips of UK consumers at the end of November and is fast becoming the start of the Christmas period for many. What am I talking about? I’m sure you will have heard of it…’Black Friday’!

It sounds sinister!, it’s even caused deaths and injuries in the past, but why do people get so excited about ‘ Black Friday’? What is it? and how did it get started?…

Black Friday

What is it?…Traditionally, ‘Black Friday’ marks the beginning of the frenzied Christmas shopping season in the US. Although the actual date is different every year, it’s always the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving. Most major retailers open extremely early and offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, similar to Boxing Day sales in the UK. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since the Millennium in the US and is bigger than ever! ‘Black Friday’ is now being promoted to nations outside of North America particularly by the British Retailers and major online retailers like Amazon and Apple are now making ‘Black Friday’ a fixture on the UK shopping calendar.

Why is it called ‘Black Friday’?…  ‘Black Friday’ isn’t a new concept it has been around in the USA since the early 19th Century! Although now known for the biggest shopping day of the year, ‘Black Friday’ as a term has been used in multiple contexts referring to very different events and has been used to describe various calamities over the years.  It was first coined in the United States where it was associated with a financial crisis in September 1869, when two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, tried to corner the gold market on the New York Stock Exchange.  The US government  had to step in to correct the distortion by flooding the market with gold, prices plummeted and many investors lost big fortunes hence ‘Black Friday’ was born.  The earliest known mention of ‘Black Friday’ to refer to shopping on the day after Thanksgiving was popularised in Philadelphia in 1961: Police officers, frustrated by the congestion caused by shoppers, started referring to it derisively as ‘Black Friday’. Unsurprisingly, retailers weren’t happy to be associated with traffic and smog so they tried to rebrand the day ‘Big Friday’ needless to say the term didn’t stick! By the early 1990’s the term ‘Black Friday’ became nationwide in the US.

The Future of Christmas shopping…With the phenomenon of ‘Black Friday’ now worldwide, we are seeing and hearing more and more retailers creating new “Shopping Days” such as ‘Grey Thursday’ , ‘Super Saturday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’.  Are these just marketing ploys to get consumers purchasing or real consumer trends? You decide! One thing is for sure with faster delivery times and the growing popularity of the click-and-collect service, consumers seem to be leaving ordering their Christmas goodies closer to the big day.  A trend this year, in which we here at Banana Moon have too also noticed! What is known by experts is that an increasing number of presents will be bought via mobile phones and tablets before people even get out of bed or later in the evening whilst lounging on their sofas. Will you be an armchair browser or join in the hustle and bustle on the high street? I know which one I prefer!

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