During my childhood in the U.S., it was a Thanksgiving tradition to eat too much on Thursday and shop too much on Black Friday. I never really understood why it was called Black Friday until many years later, but it was always the start of the holiday season and one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the U.S.
The name Black Friday refers to how retailers operate at a financial loss (in the red) from January to November and then turn finally turn a profit (into the black) the day after Thanksgiving. Since I have lived in Hungary for the past seventeen years, Black Friday has not been a day I have thought much about for a long time. This all changed this year as I have heard people in Hungary and around Europe talking about taking advantage of incredible Black Friday deals.
The globalization of Black Friday really began back in 2010 when Amazon started advertising eye catching, Black Friday deals in the U.K. It did not take long for British retailers to join in and Wal-Mart owned Asda took things a step further last year when it offered deals in its U.K. stores. Visa Europe forecasted that online sales in the U.K. would be up more than 20% year from last year’s Black Friday as no British retailer can ignore the importance of the last Friday in November. Unfortunately, some of the violence and craziness from the U.S. has also been exported along with the tradition.
Promotions for “Le Black Friday”, “Viernes Negro,” and “Fekete Péntek” represent only a few examples of how an American tradition has gone global. Extreme Digital and Best Byte were but a few of the Hungarian retailers looking to boost online sales by riding the Black Friday wave. It is ironic, however, that Black Friday’s global popularity is no longer related to Thanksgiving, which is a holiday where people sit down and give thanks for what they have. In the midst of all of the fighting and scrambling around for the world’s best retail deals, it is important to remember that Black Friday is here because of Thanksgiving and not the other way around.
For more information on Black Friday, please refer to the following articles:
‘Le Black Friday’ Goes Global With Deals Just a Click Away, Bloomberg News, Tom Beardsworth and Andrew Roberts, November 28th, 2014 (http://tinyurl.com/k6rq2h4)
Black Friday 2014 explained - retailers gearing up for day of deals, Telegraph, Graham Ruddick, November 19th, 2014 (http://tinyurl.com/px22rnb)
Black Friday shopping is not just a U.S. sport, Marketwatch, Andria Cheng, November 28th, 2014 (http://tinyurl.com/mk6fgk3)
For more information about the Corvinus Executive MBA blogger, go to https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmjackson1.