Happy Black Friday to all! Here are some fun tidbits to share with your loved ones
Do you know how the name “Black Friday” originated?
Can you guess which services industry claims Black Friday as its busiest day of the year?
Where did Cyber Monday sales numbers come in last year?
In today’s Black Friday edition of the Digest, since the markets are shutting down early (and everyone is shopping anyway), let’s have some fun. Specifically, let’s look at some entertaining Black Friday and Cyber Monday factoids.
If you’re tired of turkey, football, or your relatives, here’s your escape.
Happy belated Thanksgiving to you and yours!
***Everything you don’t know about Black Friday … but should
Let’s begin by going way back …
The original “Black Friday” dates back to September 24, 1869. That’s when Jay Gould and Jim Fisk tried to corner the gold market. Neither individual was exactly a pillar of virtue, but Gould especially was ruthless, having earned the name “The Mephistopheles of Wall Street.”
In short, their scheme was discovered by President Ulysses Grant, who subsequently released huge gold reserves to offset the run-up in price caused by Gould and Fisk. This caused gold’s price to plummet in a matter of minutes.
The stock market plunged as well, bankrupting or inflicting massive financial damage on some of Wall Street’s most respected firms. Thousands of speculators were ruined financially — and at least one committed suicide.
Okay, with that heartwarming origin story out of the way, let’s turn to the more modern “Black Friday” origin-story.
The common legend is that the Friday after Thanksgiving was actually named “Big Friday.” Black Friday was a tongue-in-cheek term originating with the Philadelphia police department.
Allegedly, the cops began using the name in the mid-1970s, describing the traffic congestion and smog caused by holiday shoppers venturing out for holiday shopping. While used in Philly for nearly two decades, the term didn’t become popular on a national scale until the 1990s.
Now, History.com, refutes this story. It claims that Philadelphia police used the term “Black Friday” in response to a different source of traffic chaos.
Can you guess what it was?
Apparently, the annual Army-Navy football game held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving was a massive event. As this version of the story goes, throngs of fans drove into Philadelphia on “Black Friday,” leading to a traffic nightmare.
***Regardless of whether we can thank shopping or football for the atrocious traffic, here are a few more random Black Friday factoids for you
It only became the biggest shopping day of the year starting in 2001. Prior to that, can you guess which day held the title?
It was the Saturday before Christmas, beating Black Friday every year.
Another question — can you remember in which year retail stores changed policy and began opening up on Thanksgiving night?
We can thank (or blame) Walmart for that back in 2011. It became the first major retailer to open stores on Thanksgiving evening, leading to a new name — Gray Thursday.
Last year, more than 30 million Americans crushed their cranberry and turkey then headed out for shopping on Thanksgiving evening.
Now, I must warn you, the following two trivia questions push the envelope a bit. Brace yourself …
How many shoppers on Black Friday are drunk?
Yes, you read that right.
RetailMeNot reports that the answer is 12%. This suddenly puts all those Black Friday fights into a different light …
For the second questionable piece of trivia, which services industry claims Black Friday as its busiest day of the entire year?
As crazy as it sounds, CNN reported that plumbers are busiest the day after Thanksgiving because they’re needed to clean up after guests who “overwhelm the system.”
Here are some additional factoids for you, in no particular order:
- Black Friday 2019 led to 93.2 million buyers shopping online
- Average savings on Black Friday deals are 37%
- Millennials were the biggest shoppers on Black Friday 2019
- Amazon was behind 54.9% of all sales on Black Friday
- The average adult will likely spend $400 on Black Friday sales
Now, just because Black Friday is synonymous with hitting the stores, that doesn’t mean there won’t be tons of online shopping — especially this year with the pandemic requiring social distancing.
Last year, consumers spent $7.4 billion online — an increase of $1.2 billion over Black Friday 2018. That made it the biggest Black Friday ever for digital sales.
***Speaking of digital sales, what about Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday only dates back to 2005.
It was conceived by the National Retail Federation as a way to encourage people to do more online shopping.
Now, have you ever wondered why Cyber Monday is “Monday” and not, say, Cyber “Saturday”?
Back in 2005 when the shopping day was conceived, the internet was far slower than it is today. So, far more people did their online shopping from work rather than home (I’m guessing due to both faster connections at work, as well as a greater willingness to waste employer’s time than personal time).
As a result, in the early days of online shopping, the majority of digital sales came on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Even now, 95% of employees admit they’ll shop while at work on Cyber Monday.
So, what sort of revenues will it bring in?
Last year, Cyber Monday broke its prior online sales record, generating $9.4 billion in revenue. That was a 19.7% increase from 2018.
Now, from a shopper’s perspective, what’s the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Is one better than the other for certain types of deals?
From Business Insider:
A solid rule of thumb is that Black Friday is a better time to buy newer, big-ticket items. It’s also the best day to shop in stores, though you can also shop online.
Cyber Monday is a better day to shop for tech deals and smaller gifts. You’ll also see slightly better discounts online.
To illustrate, Adobe Digital Insights tracked popular Cyber Monday products from last year. The top sellers included Nintendo Switch, VR devices, Samsung TVs, “Frozen 2” toys and L.O.L. Surprise Dolls.
Cyber Monday is also now expanding to “Cyber Week.” According to a survey from BlackFriday.com and Offers.com, the most popular category-sales for last year’s entire Cyber Week were:
- Clothing — 41%
- Home goods/small appliances — 38%
- Tablets/laptops/PCs/TVs — 32%
- Smart home gadgets & tech — 30%
- Toys — 25%
- Travel or experiences — 12%
- Other — 3%
Any way you look at it, get ready for a tsunami of spending.
***A big “thanks” to you
As we wrap up, let’s borrow a Thanksgiving tradition that’s popular with many families around the nation — taking a moment to intentionally say “thanks” for something that we’re grateful.
Speaking for the Digest, and InvestorPlace at large, we’re thankful for you.
We appreciate you letting us partner with you to help you achieve your investment goals. It’s a pleasure to do our best to help you become a wealthier, wiser investor.
All the best to you and yours.
Happy Black Friday,