Black Friday is a day when retailers offer deep discounts on their products and what was originally an American tradition, has since spread to other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom. It follows the day after Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States and has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year for US, British and Canadian retailers. It’s a great opportunity to get deals on electronics and other items, especially from online retailers.
In this insight, we explore what exactly Black Friday is all about, its origins, why the name stuck and how you can avoid being scammed with deals which are definitely too good to be true online!
When is Black Friday in 2023?
In the UK, Black Friday starts at midnight on Friday 24th November 2023.
What is Black Friday?
The term “Black Friday” refers to the day after Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., which falls on Thursday, November 24th in 2022. This holiday was originally called “Thanksgiving Day” but was changed to avoid confusion with Christmas.
During this time, many stores began their sales at midnight on Thanksgiving Day. This meant that by the time you woke up and head out to shop, there are already a lot of people lined up outside stores waiting for them to open, ready to catch a bargain.
How Black Friday Began: The History of Black Friday
In typical American fashion, Black Friday stemmed from a parade.
Many “Santa” parades in North America began in the late 1800s or early 1900s when they were usually sponsored by local merchants.
These include the ongoing Toronto Santa Claus Parade in Canada since 1905, organized by Eaton’s, which has been running for almost 100 years now, and the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving day Parades in Manhattan, New York City, which has been running since 1924.
The first Black Friday was held in November 1979 at Sears department stores in Chicago, Illinois. Then, in 1980, Black Friday sales were held at Kmart stores in Michigan. By 1985, more than 100 Black Fridays were held each year across the United States. Today, many major retail chains offer their own version of Black Friday promotions and discounts on a variety of products.
More recently, it has been used for announcements. On November 28, 2012, Amazon announced they would be opening their first physical bookstore location at 6pm local time on Black Friday. This was the first brick-and-mortar bookstore owned by an e-commerce company.
Black Friday is also sometimes known as “Cyber Monday” because it occurs after Thanksgiving Day and often coincides with the start of the holiday shopping season.
The term Cyber Monday originated from the fact that most people shop online during this time of year. It’s where you might pick up some great software deals over the Black Friday weekend into the following Monday.
In recent years, Black Friday has become a major shopping event in the United States and Canada. In 2011, retailers spent $2 billion on advertising for the event and in 2021, Thanksgiving cost-per-click was up 26% with Black Friday CPC up 35% compared to November as a whole.
Why is Black Friday Called Black Friday? Why Did the Name Stick?
A “Black Friday” is usually associated with a sombre event.
The term “Black Thursday” was first used in 1869 when two speculators, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, drove down the price of silver causing a massive drop in the U.S. economy. As a result, the U.S. government had to borrow $100 million from England to pay its bills.
During the mid-1950s, the term “Black Friday” was revived and used to describe the day after Thanksgiving when retailers opened their doors for business. The event required additional police presence due to the large number of people who would be shopping at stores. At this point, the name didn’t catch on.
It wasn’t until the late 1980s that retailers started using the term “Black Friday” to describe the day after Thanksgiving when they turn a profit and accountants used black ink to indicate sales. Stores began calling their sales events “Black Friday” because they were turning a profit.
Some, however, think the name Black Friday came about from the practice of opening stores at night (hence the black) and offering special deals on the Friday after Thanksgiving with people queuing through the night in the dark.
Whichever the reason, the name has stuck and since then, Black Friday has become an annual holiday that’s spawned even more shopping events, including Small Business Saturday and CyberMonday.
Today, the term “Black Friday” is still used to describe the day after Thanksgiving Day, which is traditionally also considered to be the beginning of the Christmas holiday season in North America. This date was chosen and remains because it’s usually the busiest shopping day in North America and many offer online access to deals in advance. It can sometimes turn into quite the shopping bonanza.
In recent years, retailers have begun advertising their events well before Thanksgiving, with some companies even holding open houses during the summer months.
In addition, large American chains such as Walmart and Target have started offering online-only promotions starting at midnight on Thanksgiving Day itself, making it easier than ever for consumers to grab a deal. In the UK Fenwicks do something similar along with other major retailers like John Lewis.
Some of this is to break down large queues of people which in the past has caused many to have to head to minor injury units with some in America not always having access to health.
Black Friday Facts
Here are some interesting Black Friday facts which might help you if you’re running any Black Friday deals through your website this year:
- In 2021, 74.17% of all online traffic during Black Friday was made via mobile phones.
- Ironically, the rate of basket or “cart” abandonment on Black Friday was 77.74% last year in 2021.
- Airline and Luxury Fashion saw the highest cart abandonment rates.
- Midday (12pm) was the peak time for Add-To-Cart rates on Black Friday.
- 10am was the peak time for online sales during Black Friday in 2021.
- Last year, online traffic increased 35.28% overnight in the fashion sector.
- American’s online spending was $8.9billion during Black Friday 2021. It was less than the average Black Friday spending in 2020, which hit $9 billion.
Black Friday 2022 Deal Predictions: What to Expect
I must stress, that these are only predictions, but based on the sales that happened from the recent Prime Early Access sale at Amazon in early October, there were a number of similar items from Amazon Prime Day discounted once again.
This means, if you’re interested in buying smart homes, streaming video players or cheap smart TVs, there will be plenty of choices available over the next few weeks in November.
When you look at the type of products which might see some nice discounts, It’s also been a big 12 months for some major technology product launches.
New products include the:
- iPhone 14,
- Apple Watch 8,
- Apple Watch Ultra,
- Microsoft Surface Pro 9,
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4,
- Galaxy Watch 5
- Nintendo Switch,
- and a lot more.
A lot of these new devices will be discounted for the first time, but no doubt the biggest discounts will be reserved for the older generations of these devices to get you to buy into their eco-systems.
Many of these older devices remain excellent, high-end and capable technology that you should be able to get for a much lower price this year.
This may turn out to be more beneficial and more critical than usual for retailer success this year, given the cost of living crises and high energy bills that are still impacting our disposable income. This means there may be a number of energy-saving merchandise that will be offered during this year’s Black Friday sales too.
Unlike previous years, sales of smart speakers are likely to be lower, though there might be an appetite for people to upgrade their ageing devices from when Alexa first arrived on the scene.
It is thought that sales of Philips Hue lighting might increase on previous years as people add to their existing Hue eco-system. This form of lighting is traditionally expensive and is often boosted by sales. The Philips Hue Smart Light Bulb is one that has proved popular in upgrading older lighting to a more modern twist.
The Dyson V10 Extra is also appearing in sales already this year too if you’re looking to upgrade your vacuum cleaner (it’s so tempting to call it a Hoover!).
The high cost of living has also brought a number of different items to the forefront, items you normally wouldn’t bat an eyelid for but are already posting high retail sales without deals running.
- Energy-efficient kettles,
- Air Fryers (which are cheaper to run than ovens and are one of 2022’s most popular products),
- Slow cookers and instant pots.
There will likely be less interest right now in last year’s Christmas gift of 2021, which was the Oculus headset. The new model is very highly-priced so if you’re really into the Metaverse you might find a big discount at some point for the Meta Quest Pro.
With more and more people recognising the benefits of sleep, there are plenty of mattress deals going around. You actually find some of these best deals for mattresses during the Black Friday period.
It’s also a good time to shop around for gifts for beauty lovers too with places like Boots often offering deals on Jean Paul Gaultier.
How to Find the Best Black Friday Deals: Your Guide to Wellknown and Not So Well-Known Websites
There are a number of places you can search for the best Black Friday deals. These will include the usual suspects:
- Amazon: Great for almost anything and regularly price matches competitors.
- Curry’s: Great for gaming, TVs and technology appliances.
- AO.com: Great for tech, appliances and deals and they allow you to pay on credit if you need to.
- Argos: Here you may find some cheaper devices than usual as they often try to beat competitors down. They are usually good with deliveries too.
- Very: For fashion, furniture and electronics.
- Ebuyer: Great for low-cost gadgets and devices and equipment. You might be able to snag a tech bargain.
- John Lewis: The famous department store, which will likely be running its Black Friday sales again in-store and online.
- Laptops Direct: Here you might be able to find yourself some huge discounts on laptops, PCs and tablets along with tech accessories.
- Groupon: The site that keeps on giving and feels like a permanent Black Friday site all year round.
- Smyths Toys: For a vast collection of toys, games, electronics and gadgets.
Some other sites you might not have heard of and could check out include:
- Hot UK Deals: A place where you can find some of the best daily deals in the UK. A site to keep an eye on.
- Black Friday Deals: Touted as the aggregator for Black Friday deals.
- Latest Deals: An alternative to Hot UK Deals.
- Price Runner: Helpful for checking prices online and also snatching some deals.
- Top Cash Back: Something a little different, that gives back. Some use this site for trade deals and all sorts.
- Kelkoo: The shopping search engine. Type in what you’re looking for and it will try to find you the best deals. It’s a good site if you’re looking for the cheapest deal, but it’s only as good as the sites that it has in it’s aggregator.
Avoid Black Friday Scams: How to Spot Fake Deals and Websites
The hype surrounding Black Friday makes people think that everything is worth buying as they’re at their rock-bottom prices for just this one day. This can lead to people being easily misled and tapping into their FOMO (fear of missing out). This sadly has meant some have become victims of online scams all too often during this period.
However, if you follow these tips, it will help keep you safe during Black Friday but also during future deal periods too.
Do Your Research on Pricing and Price History
Before committing to any deal, make sure you do your research. You should also compare prices across other websites on the day. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure to have a look at pricespy.co.uk and the website pricerunner.com
Don’t Be Easily Lead
Anyone can put a line through a price on a website and now say that it’s worth the lowest price ever.
There is nothing wrong with this approach as it gets people’s attention like the above image example. If a price seems too good to be true, but other sites are price matching it, then it could be legitimate and indeed a great deal. However, sometimes retailers are simply showing an old recommended retail price (RRP) and it has little relevance to what they were selling the product for in the past.
Most reputable retailers now show you clearly how much you are saving:
Read the Small Print
Retailers have an obligation to be upfront about their pricing. This means on products you will sometimes see some small print, which is not always immediately obvious on the page, such as this product was £99 between June February and March 2022 which it then fell back to the lower price.
The £99 price might then be used as the hook to show the saving which isn’t actually saving at all or a very good deal!
Be Wary of Deals on Social Media and Emails You Don’t Recognise
Be wary of any deal which is being offered solely through social media. Social media accounts are quick and easy to set up and don’t take long to con people out of their hard-earned money through a sophisticated phishing site. It’s also true that adverts posted on these channels, whilst great at getting attention, don’t always meet up with expectations. It’s why many are questioning if they can trust social media during this period.
You should also be wary of email scams during this period. These will often try to get you to click a link and capture credit card information from you or personal information.
How to Spot a Fake Black Friday Website
Follow these tips on how to prevent fraud before it’s too late:
- Check the Domain Name: When looking for online deals, make sure you check the website domain name. For example, it is always best that you buy from a .com, .co.uk or .org website. .info, .biz or other domain names for eCommerce stores are generally seen as red flags. It doesn’t mean they are as new top-level domains are now available, but you need to be wary of any site that’s not a .com, .co.uk or .org.
- Check for an SSL and HTTPS://: Always check that the website is running an SSL certificate and pages are redirecting to HTTPS even if this isn’t during the checkout process. The Internet has moved on a long way from the days of only having HTTP so any website you visit today must have an https:// at the front of the domain name. You should also check the certificate provided by the website too to make sure it’s from a legitimate certificate issuer.
- Check the spelling of the website: Always check the spelling of the website. Make sure you’re on amazon.co.uk not amzon.co.uk for example. These are usually used as phishing scams or worse.
- Check grammatical errors: Scam sites usually come with a whole host of grammar and spelling issues. If you spot any of this or if the site just doesn’t feel right, leave the site immediately. Do not pass over any information.
- Check online reviews: Many retailers now live or die by their reviews, so always check other websites for reviews such as Trust Pilot or Capterra.
Here are some common questions relating to the upcoming sales on Black Friday:
Is Black Friday worth it?
Given the number of offers and sales we are bombarded with, many are questioning the urgency around Black Friday sales, and they might be right to be cautious too.
Since 2015, Amazon has already started offering Prime Day sales, (where they sell their own products like the Echo Dot and Kindles at much lower prices to gain a price advantage) which are sometimes better than their Black Friday sales. Other retailers have followed suit since. The key is to keep your eye on the price of items over a 12 months period and watch for inflationary pricing leading up to sales to really know if you’re getting a great deal or not.
We now get Boxing Day sales, Easter sales, summer sales, and spring sales, just to name a few. A trend which is also sweeping across America is Halloween sales too. Sometimes it’s also a little ridiculous as some stores on Boxing Day were selling Easter eggs!
Not everyone’s a fan of Black Friday. Some retailers in the past have shunned Black Friday, including Asda, as reported by BBC News back in 2018. eBay is also asking people to “pick old over new” this year.
Are Black Friday deals real?
You don’t necessarily need to shop on Black Fridays, but they’re definitely worth watching and checking out. You might be able to snag yourself a really good deal – especially if you have been watching a particular product for some time.
How do I know which items will be on sale?
You can find out what’s available on Black Friday in advance by checking out the ad listings on the sites listed above in this article.
Are there going to be any stock issues during Black Friday this year?
Whilst retailers are keeping quiet about stock levels, it seems that things should be fine. A recent planned Royal Mail strike has been called off during this period too which has helped reduce fears of stock shortages and slow delivery rates.
Can I get cashback on Black Friday deals?
Yes, sometimes. You might get cash back from your debit or your bank account if you use them to pay for things online. It’s definitely worth checking out. Not just for Black Friday 2022, but for any online shopping.
Can I change my mind about a purchase?
The same rules as apply when buying outside of the sale applies. If you bought in-store during black Friday deals then you should check the retailer’s terms and conditions. It is therefore advisable to enquire about these before purchasing. However, if you bought an online black Friday deal then the consumer contract regulations state that you can return the item within 14 working days of receipt.
Are there any special rules or regulations that apply during Black Friday?
Yes! Many retailers have special rules and regulations they apply during Black Friday. These include limits on how much you can spend and restrictions on where you can shop. Some stores even require customers to show ID before they can enter.
What happens if I buy something that is faulty?
You can return the goods if they’re faulty within the first 30 days after purchasing them. After this time, you can either request a replacement or a fix. However, the retailer may decide whether to replace or fix the item.
When should I start planning my shopping list?
If you plan to shop during Black Friday, you should start thinking about your list as soon as possible. The best time to buy something is when it goes on sale, so if you wait until after Black Friday, you might not be able to get the item at all. That said, there will be other sales coming up during the Christmas Period and traditional Boxing Day Sales which are only a few weeks after Black Friday.
Black Friday – save the date and you might grab yourself a bargain.
But don’t be lured into anything that seems too good to be true. It is one of the biggest shopping events of the year, though there will be others. Major retailers will be trying extra hard this year given the ongoing cost of living crisis, but this means that bigger and better deals may be around more than usual.
To get the most from Black Friday sales, you should also do your best to plan ahead. Keep your eye on price differences over time to make sure you remain informed of any price cuts when they happen and to be able to make an informed decision away from the hype of the moment.
The best advice is to keep your emotions in control throughout the Black Friday sale period and you might just find that star gift for Christmas you’ve been putting off. The worst thing you can do is buy lots of things you don’t need. Keep your eyes on the daily news leading up to the sale period as you will get some great tips this way too.
The bottom line. If you’re really confused or worried about deals this year, relax, there is always next year when hopefully the economy will be in a better place than it is right now.