What you need to know about Black Friday

What you need to know about Black Friday

With a total of £810m being spent on Black Friday in 2014[1], it’s safe to say this American shopping phenomenon has well and truly landed in the United Kingdom. Offering a wide range of big savings on everyday items, shoppers and retailers alike have fallen in love with this discount day, and the bargains it brings with it.

Would you describe yourself as a Black Friday novice? Well never fear. Here’s our helpful guide detailing all the ins-and-outs of this yearly shopping event.

Where does Black Friday originate from?

It may be a relatively new sensation on British shores, but Black Friday first became popular in the United States in the 1950’s. The ‘Day After Thanks Giving’ has been regarded as the USA’s biggest shopping day and signals the beginning of the Christmas retail rush.

The term Black Friday stems from a more unusual source, however. Dating back to 1869, the name was coined by James Frisk and Jay Gould[2], two gold speculators, who tried to corner the market on the New York Gold Exchange. The pair’s attempt saw the price of gold hit a 100-year high, before the government stepped in and flooded the market place with the precious metal to restore some order. A more modern take has it that the name originates from retailers posting the profits they make from the day in black ink, rather than red for a loss – leading to it being called “Black Friday” when companies are finally in the black.

When is Black Friday taking place?

This year’s Black Friday will be on Friday 27th November. It is best to be prepared on the day, as many stores will open their doors early, or will allow online purchases to be made with the appropriate discounts at the stroke of midnight.

Where can you find the best deals?

Finding the best deals can be a case of searching for a needle in a haystack if you haven’t done your preparation before Black Friday. Many retailers will advertise which items they will sell at a discount before the day itself, so customers can get an idea of what deals companies are offering. Looking out both online and in shop windows, magazines or newspapers prior to the 27th November is advisable. Outlets such as Marks and Spencer, travel outlet Expedia and home furnishing companies like B&Q all have previous history in the Black Friday sales, so make sure you’ve got all your avenues of interest covered.

What sort of discounts are on offer?

Famed for the “jaw-dropping discounts”, you can find some truly astonishing bargains on Black Friday, yet the majority of values tend to fall in the same bracket as sales prices following Christmas. The discounts tend to differ from retailer to retailer, and industry to industry – usually you’ll stand to make a greater saving on a higher-priced products (although the outlay to buy the item will be higher than other Black Friday sales items).

For example, electronics tend to offer the biggest savings (30% off a £500 item stands at a £150 saving), compared to if you were buying a shirt at £50, you’d only save £15 with the same discount of 30%.

The likes of laptops, tablets and PCs tend to be popular items with Black Friday shoppers, however office furnishings such as chairs, desks and tables are normally offered at a discounted rate too.

What should you expect from Black Friday?

Whether you are planning to shop in store or online, be ready and prepared for queuing. Huge numbers of shoppers are now partaking in the Black Friday sales, so patience is a virtue when trying to get the items you want. Making a list in preparation will be of great assistance, as then you’ll know exactly what you are after. You should also be aware of the gargantuan amount of items that will be discounted – don’t let this overwhelm you, as you could end up picking up far more than you actually need just because it is cheap!

It’s safe to say that Black Friday has now become a hugely popular day on both sides of the Atlantic, so come Friday 27th November make sure you are fully prepared to take on what this shopping day has to offer.


  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11930972/What-is-Black-Friday-when-is-it-and-what-are-the-best-deals.html
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25110953