eSpotlight – Get Ready for Black Friday

What's in a Name? gives a thorough overview of the Black Friday tradition, spanning from its origins as a late-September stock market crash in 1869 to the current-day association with the phrase "in the black." Deal-finding site offers this this infographic as a visual summary of that history.

Trends in Recent Years

Chart showing anticipated shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, 2017-2019.
Based on data for 2017 through 2019 from the National Retail Federation (NRF), this graphic looks at consumers' expected shopping plans for Thanksgiving weekend, showing a consistent focus on Black Friday as the busiest day.

According to Explora:

"Retailers have long taken notice of this fact and have traditionally offered discounts and other promotions to encourage holiday shopping over the weekend. The Friday after Thanksgiving has thus been dubbed "Black Friday," recognizing the tremendous number of shoppers who spend this day at the stores and the profits that result from this activity."

This trend may be coming to an end, however, in part due to the rise in popularity of online shopping, as well as recent events such as the pandemic and resulting supply-chain issues. In an article from November 2021, Advertising Age noted that Black Friday has become a marketing concept rather than being strictly associated with a specific date.

Buy Nothing Day

While some may view Black Friday as a holiday, Explora further explains that there is some controversy around the day.

"On one side of the debate are those who believe that consumers and retail workers should spend their holiday weekend with family, reflecting on that for which they are thankful (the premise of the Thanksgiving holiday). On the other side are those who believe that Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales simply give consumers (who are looking for an opportunity to do their holiday shopping) and retailers (who need holiday profits) what they want."

Additionally, some people question the value of consumerism in general, especially in the context of growing concern for social justice and climate change. The alternative holiday, Buy Nothing Day was founded in 1992 as a form of protest.

SJPL is Here for You

However you decide to spend the day, SJPL has something for you!

Shop Smarter

Check out Consumer Reports for product reviews and general advice to help you find the best value and save money any time of the year.

The magazine and buying guide are available in both print and digital format. Click the link below for a tutorial that gives instructions for finding and using both versions. It also provides additional resources for consumers.


You can also find recommended reading lists on related topics:

Books to Help You Save a Buck

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Guide, book cover
The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan, book cover
Bargain Fever, book cover
Buying for Less, book cover
Reader's Digest Quintessential Guide to Saving Money, book cover
Smart Shopping, book cover

Get Free Stuff

One of the best deals around is your local library, which offers a wide selection of materials and entertainment, all absolutely FREE!