Black Friday, the annual shopping extravaganza that takes place on the day following Thanksgiving in the United States, has blossomed into a global phenomenon.
Here, we delve into the origins of Black Friday, and what consumers anticipate during this shopping bonanza, and explore similar consumer trends from around the world, illustrating our understanding of diverse consumer behaviours.
The Origins of Black Friday
Black Friday originated in the United States and can be traced back to the early 20th century. The term “Black Friday” was initially associated with the financial crisis of 1869 when the U.S. gold market collapsed. Nevertheless, its contemporary meaning is more recent. The term gained prominence in the 1960s when it was used to describe the chaotic and congested post-Thanksgiving shopping day in Philadelphia. Retailers coined the term “Black Friday” to refer to the day when their sales figures moved from the red (losses) to the black (profits).
Today, Black Friday marks the official start of the holiday shopping season, with retailers offering substantial discounts and promotions to attract consumers. It has evolved into a global phenomenon, extending far beyond its American roots.
Consumer Expectations on Black Friday
On Black Friday, consumers anticipate a variety of benefits and opportunities:
- Substantial Discounts: Shoppers eagerly await significant price reductions on a wide range of products. Retailers often offer deals and limited-time offers, motivating consumers to queue up early or shop online to secure the best bargains.
- Exclusive Offers: Many retailers reserve their most attractive deals for Black Friday, such as limited-edition products or exclusive bundles that are not available at other times of the year.
- Online Shopping: The rise of e-commerce has transformed Black Friday into an online shopping event as well. Consumers expect easy access to deals from the comfort of their homes, making online shopping a crucial component of the day.
- Extended Store Hours: Physical stores often extend their operating hours on Black Friday, accommodating shoppers who prefer in-store experiences. Some retailers in the US even open their doors on Thanksgiving evening to cater to the most keen consumer early birds.
The Global Impact of Black Friday
While Black Friday is most commonly associated with the United States, it has gained popularity in various countries around the world, often under different names and with unique shopping trends.
Here are some statistics about Black Friday and its equivalents in non-English-speaking countries:
- France (Le Black Friday):
- In France, Black Friday is known as “Le Black Friday.”
- According to a study by Statista, the online sales revenue in France during Le Black Friday in 2022 was estimated to reach €1.6 billion, an increase from the previous year.
- Germany (Schwarzer Freitag):
- Black Friday in Germany, referred to as “Schwarzer Freitag,” has seen significant growth in recent years.
- In 2021, online sales during Schwarzer Freitag were estimated to surpass €3.6 billion, as reported by Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE).
- Spain (Viernes Negro):
- Spain embraces “Viernes Negro” as its Black Friday.
- A study by CNMC (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia) reported that Spanish consumers spent over €1 billion during Viernes Negro in 2021.
- Brazil (Black Friday Brasil):
- Black Friday has gained popularity in Brazil under the name “Black Friday Brasil.”
- In 2021, e-commerce sales in Brazil during Black Friday were projected to exceed R$6.9 billion, as indicated by Ebit|Nielsen.
- Canada (Black Friday Canada):
- Canada has adopted Black Friday with gusto, with many retailers offering discounts.
- According to RetailMeNot, Canadian consumers were expected to spend over CAD 1,500 on average during Black Friday in 2021.
These statistics demonstrate the global reach of Black Friday and its equivalents, highlighting the importance of this shopping phenomenon in various non-English-speaking countries. As Black Friday continues to expand its influence worldwide, businesses and consumers in these regions are actively participating in this annual shopping event.
Global Consumer Trends
Black Friday isn’t the only consumer phenomenon worth noting; other longstanding traditions in global consumer behaviours. Let’s take a closer look at some of these:
- Singles’ Day in China: On November 11th, China celebrates Singles’ Day, which has evolved into the world’s largest online shopping event. Originally conceived as an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration for single individuals, Singles’ Day is now a colossal shopping festival, thanks to e-commerce giant Alibaba. It features extravagant discounts, live entertainment, and celebrity endorsements, drawing millions of shoppers. Although it’s not as widely known or “celebrated” in the anglosphere, in 2021, Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, reported total sales of $84.5 billion on Singles’ Day, breaking previous records.
- Diwali Sales in India: Diwali, the festival of lights in India, heralds a significant shopping spree. Consumers eagerly anticipate Diwali sales, during which retailers offer discounts on a wide range of products, from clothing to electronics. It’s a time when families exchange gifts and immerse themselves in festive shopping. During the Diwali season in 2021, e-commerce platforms in India reported a substantial growth in sales, with total gross merchandise value (GMV) reaching billions of rupees.
- Boxing Day in the UK and Canada: While Black Friday has gained traction in the UK and Canada, these countries also have their distinctive shopping traditions. Boxing Day, observed on December 26th, is renowned for its massive sales and shopping frenzy. Shoppers line up early outside stores to seize post-Christmas bargains, making it an integral part of the holiday season.
In the ever-evolving landscape of global consumer behaviour, staying attuned to diverse traditions and trends, such as Singles’ Day in China, Diwali sales in India, and the age-old tradition of Boxing Day in the UK and Canada, is crucial for marketers.
These cultural phenomena, alongside the widespread appeal of Black Friday, showcase the dynamic nature of consumer preferences worldwide. At Bubbles Translation Services, we understand the significance of these trends, and we are here to assist you in navigating the intricacies of global markets.
Whether it’s participating in Black Friday sales or capitalising on other cultural events, our expertise in translation and localisation can help you drive sales growth and connect with consumers across the globe, transcending language barriers and cultural nuances.