Black Friday (shopping)

Black Friday is an informal name for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. The day after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the beginning of the United States Christmas shopping season since 1952, although the term "Black Friday" did not become widely used until more recent decades.

Black Friday
DC USA shopping center in Washington, D.C. on Black Friday in 2009
Observed byTraditionally:[1]
United States
Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Benelux, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico (as El Buen Fin), and increasingly many other parts of the world.
SignificanceShopping holiday
DateDay after U.S. Thanksgiving
2019 dateNovember 29  (2019-11-29)
2020 dateNovember 27  (2020-11-27)
2021 dateNovember 26  (2021-11-26)
2022 dateNovember 25  (2022-11-25)
Related toThanksgiving, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, Christmas, Buy Nothing Day

Many stores offer highly promoted sales on Black Friday and open very early, such as at midnight, or may even start their sales at some time on Thanksgiving. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday, such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the following Friday off, which, along with the following regular weekend, makes it a four-day weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.

Black Friday has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States since 2005,[2] although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate,[3] have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time.[4] Similar stories resurface year upon year at this time, portraying hysteria and shortage of stock, creating a state of positive feedback.

In 2014, spending volume on Black Friday fell for the first time since the 2008 recession. $50.9 billion was spent during the four-day Black Friday weekend, down 11% from the previous year. However, the U.S. economy was not in a recession. Christmas creep has been cited as a factor in the diminishing importance of Black Friday, as many retailers now spread out their promotions over the entire months of November and December rather than concentrate them on a single shopping day or weekend.[5]

The earliest evidence of the phrase Black Friday applied to the day after Thanksgiving in a shopping context suggests that the term originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicular traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. This usage dates to at least 1961. More than twenty years later, as the phrase became more widespread, a popular explanation became that this day represented the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being "in the red" to being "in the black".[6][7][8][9]

For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many had crept to 5:00 or 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers (including Target, Kohl's, Macy's, Best Buy, and Bealls)[10] opened at midnight for the first time.[11] In 2012, Walmart and several other retailers announced that they would open most of their stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, prompting calls for a walkout among some workers.[12] In 2014, stores such as JCPenney, Best Buy, and Radio Shack opened at 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day while stores such as Target, Walmart, Belk, and Sears opened at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.[13][14] Three states—Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts—prohibit large supermarkets, big box stores, and department stores from opening on Thanksgiving, due to what critics refer to as blue laws.[15][16][17] The Massachusetts ban on forcing employees to work on major holidays is not a religion-driven "blue law" but part of the state's Common Day of Rest Law.[18] A bill to allow stores to open on Thanksgiving Day was the subject of a public hearing on July 8, 2017.[19]

There have been reports of violence occurring between shoppers on Black Friday. Since 2006, there have been 12 reported deaths and 117 injuries throughout the United States.[20] It is common for prospective shoppers to camp out over the Thanksgiving holiday in an effort to secure a place in front of the line and thus a better chance at getting desired items. This poses a significant safety risk, such as the use of propane and generators in the most elaborate cases, and in general, the blocking of emergency access and fire lanes, causing at least one city to ban the practice.[21] Environmentalists cite one more adverse factor: discount deals encourage people to purchase things they don't need, and this overproduction contributes to climate change.[22]

Since the start of the 21st century, there have been attempts by retailers with origins in the United States to introduce a retail "Black Friday" to other countries around the world. In several countries, local retailers have attempted to promote the day to remain competitive with US-based online retailers.[23]

Origin of the termEdit

For centuries, the adjective "black" has been applied to days upon which calamities occurred. Many events have been described as "Black Friday", although the most significant such event in American History was the Panic of 1869, which occurred when financiers Jay Gould and James Fisk took advantage of their connections with the Grant Administration in an attempt to corner the gold market. When President Grant learned of this manipulation, he ordered the Treasury to release a large supply of gold, which halted the run and caused prices to drop by eighteen percent. Fortunes were made and lost in a single day, and the president's own brother-in-law, Abel Corbin, was ruined.

The earliest known use of "Black Friday" to refer to the day after Thanksgiving occurred in the journal, Factory Management and Maintenance, for November 1951, and again in 1952. Here it referred to the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving, in order to have a four-day weekend. However, this use does not appear to have caught on. Around the same time, the terms "Black Friday" and "Black Saturday" came to be used by the police in Philadelphia and Rochester to describe the crowds and traffic congestion accompanying the start of the Christmas shopping season. In 1961, the city and merchants of Philadelphia attempted to improve conditions, and a public relations expert recommended rebranding the days, "Big Friday" and "Big Saturday"; but these terms were quickly forgotten.[7][8][24][25]

Use of the phrase spread slowly, first appearing in The New York Times on November 29, 1975, in which it still refers specifically to "the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year" in Philadelphia. Although it soon became more widespread, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 1985 that retailers in Cincinnati and Los Angeles were still unaware of the term.[26]

As the phrase gained national attention in the early 1980s, merchants objecting to the use of a derisive term to refer to one of the most important shopping days of the year suggested an alternative derivation: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January through November) and made their profit during the holiday season, beginning on the day after Thanksgiving.[7] When this was recorded in the financial records, once-common accounting practices would use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink to show positive amounts. Black Friday, under this theory, is the beginning of the period when retailers would no longer be "in the red", instead taking in the year's profits.[7][26][27] The earliest known published reference to this explanation occurs in The Philadelphia Inquirer for November 28, 1981.[28]


The day after Thanksgiving as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season may be linked together with the idea of Santa Claus parades. Parades celebrating Thanksgiving often include an appearance by Santa at the end of the parade, with the idea that "Santa has arrived" or "Santa is just around the corner" because Christmas is always the next major holiday following Thanksgiving.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Santa or Thanksgiving Day parades were sponsored by department stores. These included the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, in Canada, sponsored by Eaton's, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade sponsored by Macy's. Department stores would use the parades to launch a big advertising push. Eventually, it just became an unwritten rule that no store would try doing Christmas advertising before the parade was over. Therefore, the day after Thanksgiving became the day when the shopping season officially started.

Thanksgiving Day's relationship to Christmas shopping led to controversy in the 1930s. Retail stores would have liked to have a longer shopping season, but no store wanted to break with tradition and be the one to start advertising before Thanksgiving. For this reason, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a presidential proclamation proclaiming Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November rather than the last Thursday, meaning in some years one week earlier, in order to lengthen the Christmas shopping season.[29] Most people adopted the President's change, which was later reinforced by an act of Congress, but many continued to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the traditional date.[29] Some started referring to the new date as Franksgiving.

In 2015, held a "Prime Day" event in July and promised better deals than on Black Friday, with repeat Prime Days taking place in 2016 and 2017. Other companies followed with "Black Friday in July" deals which were as good as, or better than, those in November.[30]

Black ThursdayEdit

Black Thursday, Walmart

For many years, retailers pushed opening times on Black Friday earlier and earlier, eventually reaching midnight, before opening on the evening of Thanksgiving. In 2009, Kmart opened at 7:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving, in order to allow shoppers to avoid Black Friday traffic and return home in time for dinner with their families. Two years later, a number of retailers began opening at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m., on what became derisively known as "Black Thursday". In subsequent years, other stores have followed this trend, opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day, or remaining open all day, beginning in the early morning hours.[31][32] Some retail and media sources have used the terms "Gray Thursday" or "Brown Thursday" instead.[33][34][35]

The 2014 "Black Thursday" sales were, in general, a failure, as overall sales for the holiday weekend fell 11% compared to the previous year despite heavy traffic at the stores on Thanksgiving night.[36] In response, a number of retailers decided to go back to closing on Thanksgiving for 2015, and Walmart, although it is holding firm opening on the holiday and holding its sale, also pledged to offer the same deals online for those who wished to stay home.[37]

Most retailers abandoned efforts to hold doorbuster sales on Thanksgiving in 2020; large crowds have been forbidden under most circumstances since March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, major retailers such as Walmart and Target had already reduced their hours and dropped 24/7 operations in response to the pandemic, and several retailers known for opening on the holiday (particularly Kmart, which has typically been open regular hours) have rapidly declined.[38]

Around the worldEdit

High discounts at a store during Black Friday

United StatesEdit

Interior of a Target store on Black Friday
Black Friday shoppers in the morning at Walmart store in Durham, North Carolina

The SouthPark neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina, is the most trafficked area of the United States on Black Friday.[39][40]

Black Friday is a shopping day for a combination of reasons. As the first day after the last major holiday before Christmas, it marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Additionally, many employers give their employees the day off as part of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. In order to take advantage of this, virtually all retailers in the country, big and small, offer various sales including limited amounts of doorbuster/doorcrasher/doorsmasher items to entice traffic. The early 2010s have seen retailers extend beyond normal hours in order to maintain an edge or to simply keep up with the competition. Such hours may include opening as early as 12:00 a.m. or remaining open overnight on Thanksgiving Day and beginning sale prices at midnight. In 2010, Toys 'R' Us began their Black Friday sales at 10:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and further upped the ante by offering free boxes of Crayola crayons and coloring books for as long as supplies lasted. Other retailers, like Sears, Express, MK, Victoria's Secret, Zumiez, Tillys, American Eagle Outfitters, Nike, Jordan, Puma, Aéropostale, and Kmart, began Black Friday sales early Thanksgiving morning and ran them through as late as 11:00 p.m. Friday evening. Forever 21 went in the opposite direction, opening at normal hours on Friday, and running late sales until 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning.[41][42] Historically, it was common for Black Friday sales to extend throughout the following weekend. However, this practice has largely disappeared in recent years, perhaps because of an effort by retailers to create a greater sense of urgency.

The news media usually give heavy play to reports of Black Friday shopping and their implications for the commercial success of the Christmas shopping season, but the relationship between Black Friday sales and retail sales for the full holiday season is quite weak and may even be negative.[43]

On April 23, 2014, .blackfriday joined a growing list of ICANN top-level domains (such as—traditionally—.com, .net, and .org).[44][45]

In 2015, Neil Stern of McMillan Doolittle said, "Black Friday is quickly losing its meaning on many fronts," because many stores opened on Thanksgiving, and a lot of sales started even earlier than that. Online shopping also made the day less important.[46] A Gallup poll in 2012 has shown that only 18% of American adults approve of Black Friday, which is significantly lower than the percentage of American adults who approve of the controversial holiday Columbus Day, which is at 58%.[47][48]


The large population centers on Lake Ontario and the Lower Mainland in Canada have always attracted cross-border shopping into the US states, and as Black Friday (French: Vendredi Noir) became more popular in the US, Canadians often flocked to the US because of their lower prices and a stronger Canadian dollar. After 2001, many were traveling for the deals across the border. Starting in 2008 and 2009, due to the parity of the Canadian dollar compared with the American dollar, several major Canadian retailers ran Black Friday deals of their own to discourage shoppers from leaving Canada.[49][50]

The year 2012 saw the biggest Black Friday to date in Canada, as Canadian retailers embraced it in an attempt to keep shoppers from travelling across the border.[51]

Before the advent of Black Friday in Canada, the most comparable holiday was Boxing Day in terms of retailer impact and consumerism. Black Fridays in the US seem to provide deeper or more extreme price cuts than Canadian retailers, even for the same international retailer.

United KingdomEdit

In the United Kingdom, the term "Black Friday" originated within the Police and NHS to refer to the Friday before Christmas. It is the day when emergency services activate contingency plans to cope with the increase in workload due to many people going out drinking on the last Friday before Christmas. Contingencies can include setting up mobile field hospitals near City Centre nightspots.[52] The term has then been adopted outside those services to refer to the evening and night of the Friday immediately before Christmas, and would now be considered a mainstream term and not simply as jargon of the emergency services.

Traditionally, Boxing Day had been considered the biggest shopping day of the year in the UK. In the 2010's, several retailers with ties to American companies, such as Amazon UK and Walmart's British subsidiary Asda, began to hold U.S.-style Black Friday promotions; in 2014, more British retailers began to adopt the concept, including Argos, John Lewis, and Very, That year, police forces were called to shops across Britain to deal with crowd control issues, assaults, threatening customers, and traffic issues.[53][54] In response to incidents at branches of Tesco, Greater Manchester Police's deputy chief constable Ian Hopkins said shoppers had behaved in an "appalling" fashion, and criticized shops for not making adequate security arrangements to ensure the safety of customers."[55] Following these incidents, some retailers began to discontinue or heavily modify their promotions, with Asda stating that it would not hold all of its sales across a single day.[56][57][58]

In 2016, total spending on online retail sites on Black Friday was £1.23 billion, a 2.2% year-over-year increase over 2015.[59][60] In 2017, UK retail sales in November grew faster than in December for the first time [61][62]


In Mexico, Black Friday was the inspiration for the government and retailing industry to create an annual weekend of discounts and extended credit terms, El Buen Fin, meaning "the good weekend" in Spanish.[63] El Buen Fin has been in existence since 2011 and takes place on November in the weekend prior to the Monday in which the Mexican Revolution holiday is pushed from its original date of November 20, as a result of the measure taken by the government of pushing certain holidays to the Monday of their week in order to avoid the workers and students to make a "larger" weekend (for example, not attending in a Friday after a Thursday holiday, thus making a four-day weekend). On this weekend, major retailers extend their store hours[64] and offer special promotions, including extended credit terms and price promotions.


The concept was imported in Romania by eMAG [ro] and Flanco in 2011 and became bigger each year. The two reported the biggest Black Friday sales in 2014. eMAG sold products worth some 37 million euros while Flanco's sales totaled 22 million euros. Hundreds of retailers announced their participation in the 2015 campaign.[65]

In 2015, 11 million Romanians say they have heard about Black Friday which is 73% of the 15 million people target segment. 6.7 million plan on buying something on biggest shopping event of the year in Romania.[66]

In Romania, Black Friday is one week before the US Black Friday.


Black Friday is little known in India, as its shopping seasons are different. The busiest times for shopping in India (and hence the times with the biggest discounts) tend to be Diwali, followed by regional festivals like Ugadi, Dussehra, and Pongal in South India, Ganeshotsav in Maharashtra, Baisakhi in Punjab and Onam in Kerala. Over the past decade, Independence day sales (on 15 August) have become a large attraction, though most sales in India last for a period of one week.[67]

The growing number of e-commerce websites and large retail shopping centers has contributed to such sales. The big e-commerce retailers in India are trying to emulate the concept of shopping festivals from the United States like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon have been offering discounted products on the major festivals in India. December witnesses the Great Online Shopping Festival (also called GOSF) for three days where people shop from all the major e-commerce players and large FMCG brands. From 2015, Google has now stopped the GOSF.[68] The aim was to bring leading e-commerce players on a single platform and boost online shopping in India. Survey[69] during GOSF 2014 suggests that 90% of consumers were satisfied with the exclusive discounts offered in GOSF. According to Google Trends, the interest for Black Friday is rising every year. Comparing the search volume of the term Black Friday in November 2012 and November 2013, the increase is almost 50 percent (22,200 is the search volume in November 2012 and 33,100 is the search volume in November 2013, according to the Google Adwords).


French businesses are slowly introducing the Black Friday custom into the market.[70] Discounts of up to 85% were given by retailing giants such as Apple and Amazon in 2014.[71] French electronics retailers such as FNAC and Auchan advertised deals online while Darty also took part in this once a year monster Sale. Retailers favored the very American term "Black Friday" to "Vendredi noir" in their advertisements.[72] In 2016, because of the terror attacks in Paris in November the year before, some retailers used the name "Jour XXL" (XXL day) instead of Black Friday.[73] An alternative was brought up by some online businesses in 2018, called "French Days",[74] which goal is to replicate Black Friday during spring season (starting around the first day of May).


In Germany, "Black Friday" retailer advertisements refer to "Black Week" and "Black Shopping" in English language, with sales lasting an entire week (excluding Sundays when most retail stores are closed). During this sale time, stores keep their normal working hours; and though goods are offered at reduced prices, the prices are no more significantly slashed than normal weekly price reductions. Apple was the first company to run a special Black Friday campaign for the German market in 2006.[75] Apple never used the name Black Friday in Germany, but promotes only a "one-day shopping event".[76] In the first years, mostly internet retailers have used the event as an occasion to attract new customers with discounts, but bricks and mortar stores have already begun to adapt the shopping event. For the first time ever, German customers spent more than €1 billion during the Black Friday weekend in 2016: According to a Centre for Retail Research study, German customers spend around €1.3 billion ($1.54 billion) during the four days from Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2016.[77] In Germany the term Black Friday has been registered as a wordmark since December 2013.[78]


In 2015, Swiss retailer Manor was the first to launch a special Black Friday promotion. The year after, most Swiss retailers launched special offers during the Black Friday Week. It is estimated that customers spent around 400 million Swiss Francs on Black Friday 2018. In recent years, Singles Day got more and more important in Switzerland. This shopping day could replace Black Friday as the most important shopping day in Switzerland in 2019[79]

Australia and New ZealandEdit

In recent years, Black Friday has been promoted in Australia by in-store and online retailers. In 2011, Online Shopping USA hosted an event on Twitter. Twitter users had to use the hashtag #osublackfriday and it allowed them to follow along and tweet favourite deals and discounts from stores.[80] In 2013, Apple extended its Black Friday deals to Australia. Purchasing online gave customers free shipping and free iTunes gift cards with every purchase. The deals were promoted on their website, it read "Official Apple Store—One day Apple shopping event Friday, November 29".[81] Australia Post's ShopMate parcel-forwarding service allows Australian customers to purchase products with "Black Friday" deals from the US and get them shipped to Australia. In addition to this, numerous stores in the country run Black Friday promotions in-store and online throughout the country.[82]

Black Friday started picking up in New Zealand around 2013. In 2015, major retailers such as The Warehouse, Noel Leeming and Harvey Norman offered Black Friday sales,[83] and by 2018 were joined by Farmers, JB Hi-Fi, Briscoes and Rebel Sport. Paymark, which processes around 75 percent of New Zealand's electronic transactions, recorded $219 million NZD (US$151 million) of transactions on Black Friday 2017, up over 10 percent from the previous year.[84]

Other countriesEdit

In Norway, Black Friday started as a publicity stunt campaign back in 2010 to increase the sales to the shopping mall Norwegian Outlet. Since the introduction, it has been promoted every year in a larger and growing market all over the country.[85]

Black Friday is known as Viernes Negro in Costa Rica.[86] In Panama, Black Friday was first celebrated in 2012, as a move from the Government to attract local tourism to the country's capital city. During its first year, it was believed to have attracted an inflow of about 35,000 regional tourists according to the government's immigration census.

In South Africa, Russia, Austria and Switzerland, Black Friday Sale is a joint sales initiative by hundreds of online vendors—among them Zalando, Disney Store, Galeria Kaufhof and Sony. Over its first 24-hour run on November 28, 2013, more than 1.2 million people visited the site, making it the single largest online shopping event in German-speaking countries. There has been growing interest for Black Friday in Poland as well.

2014 marked the introduction in Bolivia,[87] Colombia, Denmark, Italy, Finland, France,[88] Ireland,[89] Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa and Sweden.[90]

For Middle East, UAE Black Friday started as White Friday campaign in 2014.

In 2015, Spain joined with some small retailers. The celebration became more famous year by year, until the big retailers grew.

In the Netherlands, Black Friday was seriously introduced in 2015. Some years before, there were already a number of large and small retailers that used Black Friday in their marketing. However, with a total of 35 participating stores, 2015 can be considered the year in which Black Friday started in the Netherlands due to more widespread support of large retailers. The popularity of Black Friday has grown rapidly in the Netherlands. The number of participating stores has increased to over 125 during the Black Friday period of 2017. For the 2018 edition, 166 shops joined the largest black Friday platform in the Netherlands.[91]

In 2016, Black Friday was introduced in Poland, Greece and Ukraine.[92]

Black Friday in Belgium is seriously marketed by retailers since 2016. Especially online shops have broke sales records during the last edition of Black Friday, which provides a base for further growth of popularity of Black Friday in Belgium. After 2016, Black Friday in Belgium has grown strongly. The participating shops have increased to over 70 during the Black Friday period of 2017. During Black Friday 2018, a total of 119 participating stores were measured in Belgium.[93]

In 2017, Black Friday became widely popular in Latvia. There was even a Black week and Black weekend sales in shopping centres.

Black Friday has been increasingly adopted by stores in Brazil since 2010,[94] although not without its share of inflated prices and other scams, especially in its earlier years, earning the nickname "Black Fraude"[95] (Black Fraud) or also "Black Furadei", which comes from the slang word "furada", meaning a "jam" or tough situation, usually involving money. It is also common to hear Brazilian people say that prices on Brazilian Black Friday are "half of the double". However, currently, the term "Black Friday" has become so popular in the country that stores have been under closer scrutiny from consumers and cases of known scams have been reduced greatly.

Violence and chaosEdit

Despite frequent attempts to control the crowds of shoppers, minor injuries are common among the crowds, usually as a result of being pushed or thrown to the ground in small stampedes. While most injuries remain minor, serious injuries and even deliberate violence have taken place on some Black Fridays.


In 2008, a crowd of approximately 2,000 shoppers in Valley Stream, New York, waited outside for the 5:00am opening of the local Wal-Mart. As opening time approached, the crowd grew anxious and when the doors were opened, the crowd pushed forward, breaking the door down, and a 34-year-old employee was trampled to death. The shoppers did not appear concerned with the victim's fate, expressing refusal to halt their stampede when other employees attempted to intervene and help the injured employee, complaining that they had been waiting in the cold and were not willing to wait any longer. Shoppers had begun assembling as early as 9:00 p.m. the evening before. Even when police arrived and attempted to render aid to the injured man, shoppers continued to pour in, shoving and pushing the officers as they made their way into the store. Several other people incurred minor injuries, including a pregnant woman who had to be taken to the hospital.[96][97][98] The incident may be the first case of a death occurring during Black Friday sales; according to the National Retail Federation, "We are not aware of any other circumstances where a retail employee has died working on the day after Thanksgiving."[96]

On the same day, two people were fatally shot during an altercation at a Toys 'R' Us in Palm Desert, California.[99]


During Black Friday 2010, a Madison, Wisconsin woman was arrested outside of a Toys 'R' Us store after cutting in line, and threatening to shoot other shoppers who tried to object.[100]

A Toys for Tots volunteer in Georgia was stabbed by a shoplifter.[101]

An Indianapolis woman was arrested after causing a disturbance by arguing with other Wal-Mart shoppers. She had been asked to leave the store, but refused.[102]

A man was arrested at a Florida Wal-Mart on drug and weapons charges after other shoppers waiting in line for the store to open noticed he was carrying a handgun and reported it to police. He was discovered to also be carrying two knives and a pepper spray grenade.[103]

A man in Buffalo, New York, was trampled when doors opened at a Target store and unruly shoppers rushed in, in an episode reminiscent of the deadly 2008 Wal-Mart stampede.[104]


On Black Friday 2011, a woman at a Porter Ranch, California Walmart used pepper spray on fellow shoppers, causing minor injuries to a reported 20 people who had been waiting hours for the store to open. The incident started as people waited in line for the newly discounted Xbox 360. A witness said a woman with two children in tow became upset with the way people were pushing in line. The witness said she pulled out pepper spray and sprayed the other people in line. Another account stated: "The store had brought out a crate of discounted Xbox 360s, and a crowd had formed to wait for the unwrapping, when the woman began spraying people 'in order to get an advantage,' according to the police.[105]

In an incident outside a Walmart store in San Leandro, California, one man was wounded after being shot following Black Friday shopping at about 1:45 a.m.[106]

A 61 year old pharmacist collapsed and was left for dead by shoppers while being trampled and passed by a stampede. He died soon after from his injuries.[107]


On Black Friday 2012, two people were shot outside a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Florida, during a dispute over a parking space.[108]


On Black Friday in 2013, a person in Las Vegas who was carrying a big-screen TV home from a Target store on Thanksgiving was shot in the leg as he tried to wrestle the item back from a robber who had just stolen it from him at gunpoint.[109]

In Romeoville, Illinois, a police officer shot a suspected shoplifter driving a car that was dragging a fellow officer at a Kohl's department store. The suspect and the dragged officer were treated for shoulder injuries. Three people were arrested.[110]

In another situation, a 29-year-old shopper was arrested in a Walmart in New Jersey after arguing with a store manager about a TV and attacking an officer. He was charged with disorderly conduct, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest[111]


In 2014, three buyers were arrested after a group of five people started fighting at a Kohl's store in Tustin, California. Two female victims were found with facial lacerations, and one of them was taken to hospital with minor injuries, while the other was released on scene. According to officials, three other females were suspects for the assault and were taken into custody.[112]

In the same year, two people were arrested after a brawl on Black Friday at a northwest side mall in Indianapolis. In Los Angeles, two women were fighting at a Walmart in Norwalk, California, over a Barbie doll on Thanksgiving night. [113]


Several people fighting at a mall in Florence, Kentucky, allegedly over a pair of Air Jordan sneakers. This year was called "The worst Black Friday brawls in history" at that time due to the heavy use of smartphones that could instantly capture video. [114]


In 2016, 21-year-old Demond Cottman was shot and killed around 1 a.m. Friday morning outside a Macy's store in New Jersey. The shooter fired multiple shots, leaving an SUV covered in bullet holes, but the motives remain unclear. Cottman's 26-year-old brother was also injured.[115]

A shooting at the Wolfchase Galleria Mall in Memphis, Tennessee, left one man injured. Derrick Blackburn, 19, was later arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon.[116]


At the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama, Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., was shot and killed by a security guard after two people were wounded in a shooting.[117] On Saturday, the police announced that the shooter was not Bradford, but he was involved in the shooting.[118][119]


A fight led to a shooting in the food court of the Destiny USA mall in Syracuse, New York.[120] The mall went into lockdown until shoppers and staff were released starting at about 8:00pm with all shopping activity suspended.[120] 21-year-old Kyree Truax was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and second-degree reckless endangerment for shooting the victim twice in the leg.[121]


High traffic challenges for retailersEdit

Some online stores invest a lot of money in promotional campaigns to generate more sales and drive traffic to their stores. However, they often forget about the high loads their sites are going to experience. According to Retail Gazette, "A number of major retailers' websites went down as they failed to cope with the surge in Black Friday traffic in 2017 ... This just highlights that some retailers have not taken the necessary steps to prepare for Black Friday. Failing to prepare for peak can cause poor performance, site downtime, and ultimately lost revenue for retailers".[122] Such carelessness results in huge reputational damage. Moreover, The 2017 Veeam Availability Report shows that "Unplanned downtime costs organisations around the world an average of R270m annually, up from the R210m of the previous year".[123]

Advertising tip sitesEdit

Some websites offer information about day-after-Thanksgiving specials up to a month in advance. The text listings of items and prices are usually accompanied by pictures of the actual ad circulars. These are either leaked by insiders or intentionally released by large retailers to give consumers insight and allow them time to plan.

In recent years, some retailers (including Walmart, Target, OfficeMax, Big Lots, and Staples) have claimed that the advertisements they send in advance of Black Friday and the prices included in those advertisements are copyrighted and are trade secrets.[124]

Some of these retailers have used the take-down system of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a means to remove the offending price listings. This policy may come from the fear that competitors will slash prices, and shoppers may comparison shop. The actual validity of the claim that prices form a protected work of authorship is uncertain as the prices themselves (though not the advertisements) might be considered a fact in which case they would not receive the same level of protection as a copyrighted work.[125][original research?]

The benefit of threatening Internet sites with a DMCA based lawsuit has proved tenuous at best. While some sites have complied with the requests, others have either ignored the threats or simply continued to post the information under the name of a similar-sounding fictional retailer. However, careful timing may mitigate the take-down notice. An Internet service provider in 2003 brought suit against Best Buy, Kohl's, and Target Corporation, arguing that the take-down notice provisions of the DMCA are unconstitutional. The court dismissed the case, ruling that only the third-party posters of the advertisements, and not the ISP itself, would have standing to sue the retailers.[126]

Usage of Black Friday Advertising Tip sites and buying direct varies by state in the U.S., influenced in large part by differences in shipping costs and whether a state has a sales tax. However, in recent years, the convenience of online shopping has increased the number of cross-border shoppers seeking bargains from outside of the U.S., especially from Canada. Statistics Canada indicates that online cross-border shopping by Canadians has increased by about 300M a year since 2002.[127] The complex nature of additional fees such as taxes, duties and brokerage can make calculating the final cost of cross-border Black Friday deals difficult. Cross-border shopping solutions exist to mitigate the problem through estimation of the various cost involved.

In 2019, Adobe shopping data showed that around 39% of the black Friday shopping was done through smartphones.[128]

Cyber MondayEdit

The term Cyber Monday, a neologism invented in 2005 by the National Retail Federation's division,[129] refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday based on a trend that retailers began to recognize in 2003 and 2004. Retailers noticed that many consumers, who were too busy to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend or did not find what they were looking for, shopped for bargains online that Monday from home or work. In 2010, Hitwise reported:

Thanksgiving weekend offered a strong start, especially as Black Friday sales continued to grow in popularity. For the 2nd consecutive year, Black Friday was the highest day for retail traffic during the holiday season, followed by Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. The highest year-over-year increases in visits took place on Cyber Monday and Black Friday with growth of 16% and 13%, respectively.[130]

In 2013, Cyber Monday online sales grew by 18% over the previous year, hitting a record $1.73 billion, with an average order value of $128.[131] In 2014, Cyber Monday was the busiest day of the year with sales exceeding $2 billion in desktop online spending, up 17% from the previous year.[132]

Cyber WeekEdit

As reported in the Forbes "Entrepreneurs" column on December 3, 2013: "Cyber Monday, the online counterpart to Black Friday, has been gaining unprecedented popularity—to the point where Cyber Sales are continuing on throughout the week."[133] Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News, further advises: "If you want a real deal on Black Friday, stay away from the mall. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all part of Cyber Week ..."[134]

Retail sales impactEdit

The National Retail Federation releases figures on the sales for each Thanksgiving weekend.[135] The Federation's definition of "Black Friday weekend" includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected spending for Sunday. The survey estimates number of shoppers, not number of people.

The length of the shopping season is not the same across all years: the date for Black Friday varies between November 23 and 29, while Christmas Eve is fixed at December 24.

Year Date Survey published Shoppers (millions) Average spent Total spent Consumers polled Margin for error
2020 Nov 27
2019 Nov 29
2018 Nov 23
2017 Nov 24 Nov 28[136] 174 $335.47 $58.3 billion 3,242 ± 1.7%
2016 Nov 25
2015 Nov 27
2014[137] Nov 28 Nov 30 233 $380.95 $50.9 billion 4,631 ± 1.5%
2013 Nov 29 Dec 1 249 $407.02 $57.4 billion 4,864 ± 1.7%
2012 Nov 23 Nov 25 247 $423.66 $59.1 billion 4,005 ± 1.6%
2011 Nov 25 Nov 27 226 $398.62 $52.5 billion 3,826 ± 1.6%
2010 Nov 26 Nov 28 212 $365.34 $45.0 billion 4,306 ± 1.5%
2009 Nov 27 Nov 29 195 $343.31 $41.2 billion 4,985 ± 1.4%
2008 Nov 28 Nov 30 172 $372.57 $41.0 billion 3,370 ± 1.7%
2007 Nov 23 Nov 25 147 $347.55 $34.6 billion 2,395 ± 1.5%
2006 Nov 24 Nov 26 140 $360.15 $34.4 billion 3,090 ± 1.5%
2005 Nov 25 Nov 27 132 $301.81 $26.8 billion

See alsoEdit


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