IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 28 Nov 2014

Black Friday 2014

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Black Friday has a massive impact on the retail sector and as an IT company that works largely with retailers we wanted to explore exactly what Black Friday means and find out where the term came from.


Black Friday is the day that immediately follows the American holiday, Thanks Giving, which falls on every 4th Thursday in November. It is also the unofficial kick off of the retail Christmas shopping season, but it hasn’t always been this way.

The term ‘Black Friday’ was first established by traffic police in Philadelphia in 1924, long before traffic lights. Although not an official holiday day many employers used to give their employees the day off so that they could take advantage of the discounts that were on offer. However this was not the case for the Philadelphia traffic police who weren’t permitted to have the day off to enjoy some retail therapy, instead they had to man the streets and try and contain the madness. They were rotated on 12 hour duty and even the police band had to lend a hand controlling the traffic in the city centre. So it was not uncommon to see the police band’s trumpet player waving traffic through.

Not only did these police officers have to manage the high volumes of car and foot traffic during the day, but also when night-time fell they had to then deal with the crowds that descended on the streets to watch the Army/Navy football game.

The Philadelphia Police Department starting using the term “Black Friday” as a negative term surrounding the hassle they would face in policing the day, to try and deter people from venturing out on the streets.

The term then got adopted by retailers to signifythe transition of retailer’s financial records moving from the ‘red’ in to the ‘black’ i.e. back into profit. Now the term is becoming widely accepted in the UK, since Amazon first started launching Black Friday deals in 2010, and Asda with their buying power of Walmart behind them in 2013.


Depending on your perspective Black Friday could be seen as a frantic shopping experience that makes you just want to crawl back under your duvet, or it could be a great opportunity to pick up a bargain just in time for the expensive Christmas period.

Black Friday has clearly changed over the years, something that started as an America traffic issue has transgressed in to a shopping bonanza that each year keeps exceeding the targets reached in previous years.

The internet has fundamentally changed the concept of Black Friday forever. There is no longer the need to start queuing outside stores from the early hours of the morning in the cold, or even the night before. Last year Amazon’s busiest trading time was at 1pm on Black Friday. This year’s projection for online sales shows that in the UK alone shoppers will spend £1m every 3 minutes which is £6k every second. In the US total sales have been estimated by comScore at $61b, which is a projection based on a 20% increase from last year’s figures.

The graph below clearly shows the serious spikes in shopping habits during the winter season, which is heavily dominated by Black Friday spends.

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The rise of social media has also had an effect on the popularity of Black Friday, with ‘sharing’ of this shopping day up 55% with Facebook and Twitter amongst the top sharing platforms.

Being a Nottingham based company it wouldn’t be right to conclude this blog without giving you a heads up on some of the top Black Friday deals locally, so here they are:

  • Build a Bear – Victoria Centre: 2 for £15 on Festive Bears
  • Asda – West Bridgeford: 50% off quad bikes
  • H Samuel – Victoria Centre: Up to 50% off
  • LuvYaBabes – Victoria Centre: 10% discount
  • HMV – Up to 80% off selected lines

So whether it’s a Television or a pair of shoes you are on the lookout for, Black Friday and increasingly the days surrounding it may be the best chance to bag a Christmas bargain. And with the wonders of modern retail and the enhancements of the omnichannel journey, you won’t even have to leave your sofa to do so.

It will be interesting to see just how may thousands of us were poised over our laptops, tablet’s and smartphones at the stroke of midnight last night, we know we were!

If you would like to find out more information about Black Friday you can follow this link: and scroll through 2hrs 18mins to hear our Head of Marketing, Alex Broxson who was a guest on BBC Radio Nottingham’s, Mark Dennison morning show yesterday, where she revealed lots of facts and findings about Black Friday and its effect on retailers.

If you would like any further information about what we do then please visit our website for more information: You can get in touch with us via email at: or call us on: 0115 853 3910. You can also keep up to date with all of our latest news by searching ‘RetailAssist’ on Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget to like our page on Facebook.

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