Millions of people begin their holiday shopping on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day. Some retail stores open as early as the evening of Thanksgiving Day, causing people to hurry through their Thanksgiving feast and rush out the door in hot pursuit of heavily discounted items.

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“Black Friday” first emerged in the 1960s to officially kick off the holiday shopping season. The term “Black” was used to signify businesses’ entry into a profitable season. During the era when accounting records were kept on paper, red ink was used to indicate loss while black ink was indicative of profit. Businesses viewed the shopping day after Thanksgiving as the beginning of a period when they expected profitable revenues to pull them out of the “red” and into the profitable “black” zone.

Popularity

Retailers realized that they could attract big crowds by heavily discounting their prices on the day after Thanksgiving Day, the first official day of the holiday shopping season. The low prices succeeded in drawing out droves of buyers. They lined up outside the stores as early as midnight to be among the first to snag the best bargains available.

Many retailers have attempted to extend the gains of Black Friday by expanding their hours. In the past years, many retailers kicked off their Black Friday sale as early as the evening of Thanksgiving and extended it until late Friday night. The sale traditionally continues over the weekend and culminates in the online variation of the shopping holiday known as Cyber Monday.

To entice shoppers, retailers post their sale items as early as a week before Black Friday, enabling shoppers to consider their priorities and map out their shopping plan accordingly. Electronics and toys are typical big sellers on Black Friday.

Good for Business

Black Friday is not just good for retailers. It can also be a windfall for many other types of businesses: raw material suppliers, manufacturers, and trucking businesses. Those involved in the advertising and signage industries will benefit, too, as retailers will be putting up lots of sale signs in their stores. It is also a boon to manufacturers of vinyl, as printers will be stocking up in anticipation of the big orders for Black Friday signage.