What makes a day black: Facts you should know about Black Friday

The 2019 Black Friday may have come and gone, but how many people know the origin and history of this significant day?

Black Friday, a layman would say, is a day people rush to shop online and buy different items at discount prices in shopping malls. But not many people know how the name was coined, its history and the significance of the biggest sales event.

Black Friday is usually celebrated on the day that followed Thanksgiving Day, a federal holiday in the United States. The 2019 edition of Black Friday was marked on November 29, as many retailers offer to sell at cheaper amounts.

Countries that celebrate this day include the United States of America (U.S.), the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Nigeria, Mexico, India, France, Romania, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia among others.

Origin and history of Black Friday

Anytime “Black” is used in the news – both in the print and broadcast media – it always refers to a day of tragedy/calamity. Though, nobody got killed on Black Friday, but the biggest sales event is associated with the financial crisis that rocked the United States of America (USA) in 1869.

Two Wall Street financiers – Jim Fisk and Jay Gould had bought a significant amount of US gold in the hope of the overall price soaring and in turn being able to sell it for huge profits.

On Friday, September 24, 1869, the US gold market crashed, and Fisk and Gould’s actions left Wall Street barons bankrupt. This was why the Day is being referred to as “Black Friday”.

Black Friday has been linked to different origins, but the explanation above remains the most correct and valid.

Among the reported root of Black Friday is its association with slave trade, i.e. A day Black slaves were sold at discount. It was claimed that in the 1800s, Southern plantation owners could buy slaves at a discount on the day after Thanksgiving. But this has no basis in fact as some call for a boycott of the retail holiday.

How consumers shopped during the last Black Friday

All over countries where Black Friday is observed, shopping activities on the day would rather increase than reduce as long queue of shoppers look to bargain at malls. Some even loiter outside stores to be first in line.

This is usually the case in Nigeria too, as Shoprite and Spar among other malls are always crowded. However, while some are happy to buy at cheaper rates, others regret buying items of lower quality.

MARKETING EDGE spoke to some Nigerians, who aired their views in relation to the biggest sales event.

Nwaukwa Precious, a graduate, said that some of the goods being sold on Black Friday (online) were obsolete. Though the items, according to Precious were unbelievably cheap. Having previously purchased obsolete items, she urged stakeholders behind the sales event to ensure “the products being sold are authentic and real.

For Aneta Felix, a Nigerian journalist, buying at malls on Black Friday is cheaper than buying online. “I found it was more expensive to buy online so I shopped in the mall,” said Felix.

Fatimah Fijabi, a Fashion Designer based in Ibadan, Oyo State (south-west Nigeria), explained why she has never leveraged Black Friday to purchase at cheaper rates.

According to her, “the last one would have been my first, but the online store (Jumia) that I wanted to buy from did not include my Bank (GTB) for payment. It’s either I opened an account with Zenith Bank which is the only bank they use, or I pay with a Verve ATM card, which I also don’t have. That was what discouraged me”.

Olaifa Oladunni is a marketer. Oladunni said she bought a lot of items in the 2019 Black Friday sales, but bought what she described as “rubbish”. She also revealed that not all items sold on Black Friday were cheap as some were being sold at normal rate.

“They deceive people by calling it Black Friday. I think it doesn’t work in Nigeria because I remember buying a gown on Jumia at normal rate on Black Friday,” said Oladunni.

Brands, companies to blame for lower quality products – Expert

Muyiwa Akintunde, one of the players in Nigeria’s Public Relations industry and Managing Director of LEAP Communications, said that brands and company were to blame for lower quality products being sold on Black Fridays. According to him, “it’s better for your product not to be known than for you to expose it when it is not ready”.

The PR guru noted: “If products are not top-notch, it will fail because the experience that consumers have is going to stay with them for a very long time.”

He urged brands to desist from promoting or advertising, to consumers, products of lower quality.

By Raphael Adenaike


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.