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The Evolution of Black Friday


Black Friday - The PM Group - San Antonio Advertising Agency


The holiday season is just around the corner and that means spending time with loved ones and spending cash on Black Friday shopping. The biggest shopping day of the year has gained so much momentum that it’s practically become its own holiday. Occurring the day after Thanksgiving, employees across the country take full advantage of having the day off and making it a four-day weekend.


The Turkey-Day Movement

Since it began, Thanksgiving had always fallen on the 5th Thursday of the month. Although an official “Black Friday” did not exist at the time, retailers still made a majority of their profits during the weeks leading up to Christmas day. Retailers started a petition to have Thanksgiving moved to the fourth Thursday of the month, for reasons that, three weeks was not enough time to allow for retailers to make enough profit without going bankrupt.


In 1939, President Roosevelt responded to the complaints by permanently moving Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November, giving the entire country only a two-week notice, which forced some employers to give paid time off for two Thanksgivings that year.


A Brief History Lesson of Black Friday

It didn’t always have an official name but starting in the 1950’s many Americans would take off or call in sick the day after Thanksgiving to go shopping for the holidays. The spike in absences convinced employers to give employees an additional day off, allowing for a four-day weekend. The Black Friday name was coined in the Philadelphia local paper but originated as a term policeman would use to describe the shopping-caused traffic jams: “Black Friday”.


The Future for Black Friday

The Friday following Thanksgiving has become one of the busiest shopping holidays of the whole year. On Black Friday, shoppers will complete at least half of their holiday shopping. Starting in 2011, select stores began opening their doors on Thanksgiving night to get a head start over competitors. According to CBS News, this Black Friday stores like K-Mart will open their doors to shoppers as early as 6 AM on Thanksgiving morning.


The most apparent shift in Black Friday has been its distant cousin: Cyber Monday, which began in 2005 and has gained popularity ever since. Many shoppers have stayed in on Black Friday to avoid the large crowds and have opted to take advantage of Cyber Monday instead. Last year Cyber Monday became the biggest online shopping day in the entire country equating to $2 billion in sales. It’s no surprise that Amazon has taken the lead and accounted for 55% of all online shopping transactions during the 2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.


With the growth in popularity of Cyber Monday, brick and mortar stores are still trying to bring customers doorbuster deals they can’t resist. Walmart is doing something different for its holiday shoppers in 2018 with a “Light up Black Friday” party leading up to their big sales event. Employees will be giving out free Keurig coffee and Christmas cookies to celebrate. With Amazon taking the lead on e-commerce sales we have a good feeling that Black Friday will again fall second to Cyber Monday this year.


So, what do all these changes mean for the average retailer? To succeed this holiday season, the best strategies include both in-store and online tactics allowing the brand to reach all of their potential shoppers. As Black Friday in-store shopping has become a family tradition for some, it has become a shopping nightmare for others. Creating a campaign that targets both outlets allows for shoppers to choose their preferred ways to get the best deals.


About The PM Group: The PM Group was founded in 1988. Over the past 30 years, the agency has continued to grow and is currently listed as San Antonio’s Largest Advertising Agency by the San Antonio Business Journal. The PM Group’s client roster spans numerous industries including automotive, CPG, entertainment and sports marketing, legal, business services, non-profit, real estate and fitness. In addition, the agency hosts an annual Charity Gala every February that to date has raised over $3 million for local San Antonio area non-profit organizations in the last 15 years! It is our way of giving back to the community that we so humbly serve.

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