What even is Black Friday anyway?

We've all heard of it, it comes around every year - but what even is Black Friday? Let's discuss it...
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Often marking the start of the festive shopping period, Black Friday is an event we continue to hear more about each passing year – it also feels like we’re seeing it earlier than ever too.

Here at ads creative solutions, we’re eager to dig a bit deeper into the busiest shopping day of the year and find out whether it is worth the hype, or if it’s all a big marketing ploy.

What does Black Friday mean and where does it originate from?

Black Friday originates from The States and is always celebrated the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is believed that the name comes from the concept that businesses operate at a financial loss, or are “in the red”, until the day after Thanksgiving – then comes the massive sales, finally allowing them to turn a profit, putting them “in the black”.

Why are there deals before Black Friday has even started?

Whilst we’re familiar with the Black Friday sales overflowing into the weekend and the separate day of Cyber Monday – it now feels like the event starts earlier each year.

It isn’t uncommon to see brands holding an exclusive early Black Friday sale (that isn’t exclusive at all, you just need to be on their mailing list or following on socials) that can start as early as two weeks before the day itself.

It is stuff like this that makes consumers sceptical about the whole thing and has even sparked the spin-off Grey Friday.

What is Grey Friday?

Grey Friday isn’t an official event, like Cyber Monday, it’s a term coined by Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert.

His savvy spending habits (or lack of) has cottoned onto the hundreds of brands enticing customers into early Black Friday deals. The majority of these so called “deals” are far from that and have been debunked by MSE to show that the product on offer was actually in fact cheaper in previous sales.

The hype around Black Friday can be used as a marketing tactic to make customers believe they are getting an unbeatable price in time for Christmas.

What is Cyber Monday?

With the growing power and popularity of online shopping, Cyber Monday is an online event for e-commerce transactions.

The day follows the immediate Monday after Thanksgiving and was created to evolve the Black Friday event, originally held in physical stores, to take advantage of the growing number of consumers doing their shopping online.

What is Colour Friday?

You may have heard the term Colour Friday, especially if you like shopping with small or independent businesses.

A lot of small businesses can see Black Friday as a threat, with all the giant brands offering deals that completely out-price them.

In 2021, UK based Holly & Co started Colour Friday to kickstart a retail revolution for Christmas shoppers, encouraging them to ignore the mass consumption of Black Friday and focus on the benefits small businesses can bring.

A stat on their website states that 89% of shoppers reported Black Friday shopping was stressful – so could this be the year you opt for Colour Friday instead?

What is White Friday?

For Ben in our Dubai office, he’ll be noticing Black Friday is in fact White Friday. The change in wording comes from the colour white is seen as a positive word, suggesting something is pure and good. Because of this, businesses in the Middle East changed the name to White Friday in the belief that it promotes everything in a happy and positive manner.

So, is Black Friday a con?

Not necessarily.

Whilst a lot of brands use it as a marketing tactic to make customers feel like they are getting a bargain, some brands genuinely do offer a substantial discount that is worth taking advantage of.

You need to be savvy, especially in the current climate. Do your research into the product you’ve got your eye on to make sure you don’t fall for the brand’s bait.