What’s the Deal with Black Friday Shopping?

Arrrggghhh… it’s Black Friday, it’s Black Friday! I’ve got to get to www.blackfriday.com and click on the massive red button that says “Hot Deals” before I hit the stores, crash the registers, and stuff the presents into my brown AMC Pacer station wagon bought by my father for $500 back when I was 17 years old. Stuff it like a turkey!

It’s not my job to educate you blog readers from month to month, but I wonder how many of you know where the term “Black Friday” originated. Since you won’t find this question on an SAT, LSAT, SSAT, PSAT, MENSA, or IQ Test, I will briefly, but accurately, educate you.

The term Black Friday originated in Philadelphia during the early to mid-1960s. The word was originally used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which occurred the day after Thanksgiving. The term began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Many retail analysts have derived their own origin and definition: “Retailers traditionally operate at a financial loss (“in the red”) from January through November, so “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or “in the black”.

So, do Americans like Black Friday, or do we group it into the bucket of things we don’t like such as Black Ice, Blackout, and Black-n-Blue?

In the most recent edition of Ipsos Public Affairs’ Thought Starter series, A Holly, Jolly Black Friday Weekend For Most Americans, it shows that only a third (33%) of Americans went to the stores for Black Friday, shopping on either Thursday (Thanksgiving) or Friday. Consumers who typically tend to value price over convenience were most likely to shop on these days – 46% of Millennials and 47% of households with children went to the stores, while older adults (20% of those over 55 years of age) were the least likely to go shopping. Makes you wonder if time well spent at Nana & Grampys, the day after Thanksgiving, would ease the burning hole in your wallet, increase the waist size based on leftover feasting not fasting, and bring a sense of Norman Rockwell-ism back to Americans with families spending more time together.

Download Ipsos Black Friday Infographic

So, for those who ventured out and came back alive from their trip to an Andes mountain peak, did the experience and deals live up to the hype? The overwhelming majority of Americans surveyed (71%) described their overall shopping experience as a positive one, with Millennials (77%), and households with children (78%), leading the rush to the registers.

Man oh man, I am so on the other side of the fence on this one, but it’s probably because I was brought up in Bizarro World’s alternative universe. However, I know I could rock the register with some Black Friday online shopping activity, and it seems that many other Americans could do the same. Just under a third (29%) of Americans indicated that they did their Black Friday shopping online vs. 33% in stores. So I may be in the small minority, but at least I am not on an island with Wilson crying myself to sleep every night.

For those of you who read this blog from month-to-month (small minority of Americans who may not round up to 1%), you will remember me castigating men last month for their role reversal anti Men from Mars mentality regarding Thanksgiving football viewing habits. Thank you, men of America, for righting the ship, and splashing some “Old Spice Hawkridge Body Wash” all over your manly selves this month. When it comes to the most popular items purchased on Black Friday, males have a 2:1 purchase advantage to females when it comes to video games/consoles/televisions/audio electronics. Yes, my place in the EA Sports Hall of Fame has been restored.

This is our last posting of 2014, so happy holidays, and have a safe and blessed New Years!