Retailers May Stop Using 'Black Friday' In Their Holiday Ads

Most people know “Black Friday” as the term used to describe the in-store shopping sales day after Thanksgiving. The U.S. began using the term on September 24, 1869. Stores are typically in the “black” that day, rather than in the “red.”

Some suggest the day has a darker side. On that day in September, two investors — Jay Gould and Jim Fisk — drove up the price of gold and caused a stock market crash with a drop of 20%. Foreign trade stopped and farmers suffered a dip in the value of wheat and grain.

Through the years, the term conjured up images of a darker side, but it has no basis in truth, according to

Philadelphia police in the 1950s used the name “Black Friday” to refer to the day between Thanksgiving and the Army-Navy football game — the day large crowds went into the city to shop. Police worked long hours to control the crowds. Merchants tried to change the name to “Big Friday,” but it never stuck. By the 1980s, the name had spread nationally.



Advertising may well see another change with more people shopping online during the day after Thanksgiving rather than heading into the stores — at least in 2020.

Should the industry say goodbye to "Black Friday" and replace it with "Cyber Week" once and for all? A plethora of data suggests that this year Cyber Monday will extend from the day after Thanksgiving through the following week, with more consumers planning to shop online rather than in crowded stores.

With the COVID-19 pandemic driving many to shop at home, expect the use of paid search, display and video campaigns to skyrocket this holiday season as brands turn to messages such as buy online and pick up at curbside, free shipping and quick deliveries, as well as how-to videos that explore what to wear.

Some 44% of respondents to a Qubit study published earlier this month plan to shop more online during this year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas holidays compared to last year’s holiday season.

New research from analytics company Contentsquare revealed that 91% of shoppers in the United Kingdom will avoid stores this Black Friday.
The research surveyed more than 1,000 shoppers in the United Kingdom and found that while many consumers are avoiding Black Friday altogether, 35% will still hunt for deals. But they’ll do it online rather than in stores.

Shopkick shows a similar trend. Data from the conducted between June 25 and July 1, 2020 shows that 67% of shoppers this year vs. 51% in 2019 expect to make their holiday purchases online to avoid crowds and potential exposure to COVID-19. Of those shopping online, 65% plan to purchase gifts via Amazon, followed by 18% at big-box retail sites like Target and Walmart, and 6% at department store sites like Macy's and Kohl's.

For those planning to shop at online-only retailers, 72% plan to find gifts on Amazon, followed by 56% at Etsy, 43% at eBay, 38% at Wayfair, and 32% at Overstock. 

Sixty-three percent expect to spend a similar amount of money this year on gifts as they did last year on their holiday shopping, ranging from $301 to $600. Some 23%, however, expect to spend less, while 14% expect to spend more. 

More than half of consumers — at 54% — will be looking for free shipping or buy online and pick up at the curb or in the store. Just 24% believe low prices are most important — something most consumers looked for last year. Only 17% of consumers say they will not take advantage of BOPIS this year, compared to 44% who say they will. 

Clothing retailers and designers should be happy. This year, 25% of gift-givers say they plan to spend most of their budget on apparel, rather than electronics and toys.

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