You’ve had your Thanksgiving feast and caught a bit of football, and now it’s time to gear up for the late-night or early-morning shopping frenzy. It’s the day you’ve been eagerly awaiting – Black Friday. As a resale business owner, you’re getting ready to launch the online sale or unlock the doors of your store, showcasing those enticing deals that are sure to draw shoppers in. You join the ranks of fellow shop owners, all eager to seize this retail bonanza. But have you ever wondered how this tradition started, why it’s known as Black Friday, and just how pivotal it is for businesses like yours?

The 1940s … 

Thanksgiving used to be observed on the last Thursday of November. However, when a November with five Thursdays rolled around in 1939, business leaders had a brilliant idea. They approached President Franklin D. Roosevelt, asking him to push the holiday back a week to let the holiday shopping season start earlier. Roosevelt agreed, and after a few years of shifting dates, Americans eventually settled into celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November. This ensured that retailers always had an extra week of holiday sales, before December rolled in. 


The Origins of the Name 

You might have heard the popular tale that “Black” in Black Friday signifies the day’s ability to push retailers “into the black,” a reference to the black ink used in ledger books to indicate profit. This story, however, was concocted by retailers to make the name more appealing. The actual origin of the term Black Friday can be traced back to Philadelphia, where the annual Army-Navy football game is played on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. In the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, this game attracted hordes of people, most of whom descended upon the city on Friday. This created quite a headache for the local police, who had to deal with all sorts of chaos and mischief. It was such a headache that they began to refer to the day as Black Friday. Philadelphia’s retailers, who typically saw a significant sales boost from the influx of visitors, soon followed suit and started referring to Black Friday as the busiest shopping day of the year. By the 1980s, the name had spread nationwide, shedding its less-than-glamorous origins and adopting the myth of the black ink. 


Black Friday Is a Big Day for Retail 

Even if the “into the black” narrative is pure fiction, Black Friday holds a special place in the hearts of retailers. It remains one of the busiest shopping days of the year, setting the tone for the holiday season, which accounts for a whopping 20% of yearly sales in the retail industry. Here are some economic tidbits about Black Friday, 

  • More than 122.7 million people visited US brick-and-mortar stores over the Black Friday weekend in 2022, up 17% year-over-year.  
  • In 2022, 87.2 million U.S. consumers shopped online, roughly equal to 2021. 
  • According to Shopify, the average order during Black Friday/Cyber Week in 2022 was $102.10, a little higher than in 2021, which was $100.70. 
  • In 2022, Black Friday spending reached $9.12 billion, 2.3% more than in 2021. 
  • Global businesses made an estimated $65.3 billion during the 2022 Black Friday sales. 


Black Friday isn’t just a shopping spree; it’s a pivotal moment in the retail calendar, setting the stage for the holiday shopping extravaganza. It’s not only the big-box retailers and e-commerce giants who eagerly anticipate this day – it’s also a golden opportunity for resale business owners. Whether you’re selling clothing, baby gear, or pre-owned luxury pieces, Black Friday can be a game-changer for your business. 



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