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History of Black Friday

Black Friday Over the Years

What Is Black Friday?

Black Friday is a retail shopping event that takes place the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, and is generally considered to be the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Maybe you've asked yourself, "Why is it called Black Friday?" While there is no one definitive answer, there are some interesting theories. One of the more commonly held conjectures is that Black Friday got its name as the first sale of the year when retailers start to realize a profit, being "in the black" from a financial perspective. Another speculation is that the day was originally named by policemen in Philadelphia due to all the in-store mayhem and many traffic jams and accidents caused by so many people getting out to shop. Regardless, the name stuck, and today Black Friday continues to draw impressive crowds of deal seekers to both stores and websites, easily making it one of the most successful shopping events of the year.

When Is Black Friday?

Over the relatively brief history of Black Friday, event hours have evolved from standard retail business hours on the day after Thanksgiving (the fourth Friday of November) to morning openings as early as 12 a.m. In more recent years, Best Buy and many other retailers have extended their Black Friday sale hours even further and have opened their doors on the evening of Thanksgiving Day. The much-anticipated deals are often revealed in Black Friday ads in advance of the sale in both print and online so people can plan their shopping trip ahead of time.

Black Friday History Highlights

Black Friday 2018

Now that you’ve learned about the history of Black Friday and have answered the questions, "What is Black Friday?" and "When is Black Friday?" you can look back at some of the excitement surrounding last year’s biggest shopping day with this Black Friday 2018 photo recap.

As you can see, Black Friday is an exciting, bustling experience at Best Buy stores. Of course, we have the same great deals online, but a lot of our customers prefer being a part of the electric atmosphere of the store shopping experience. Plus, the instant gratification of not only finding great deals on all kinds of electronics but having them in your hands the same day appeals to a lot of shoppers.

With doorbusters aplenty, you’re revving the shopping engine for Black Friday deals at Best Buy. But before you start screeching your cart tires, there are a few things you should remember to help guarantee everything runs smoothly and you go home happy.

Here are a few tried and true tips for making your shopping experience a total success:

Plot your route ahead of time.

Don’t waste time wandering. Check out the Black Friday deals in online or print ads and get a good idea of exactly what you want before you hit the stores. A dry run through the store beforehand will give you a general idea of where to find everything. On the big day, use the store map you get before the doors open to plan your route.

Read the fine print on Black Friday deals and get in line early.

If there’s a big doorbuster item you really want, read the ads to find out if there’s a minimum quantity guaranteed. Best Buy hands out tickets for doorbuster items to the early birds in line before stores open, so you can be confident you’ll get what you came for once the crowds start flowing.

Bring others with you.

Nothing makes a wait go faster than good company. And snacks. Bring both and you’ll be in good shape.

Dress comfortably.

Don’t get stuck wearing July clothing in November. Check the forecast and remember: It’s easier to take off layers than to add non-existent ones.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Blue Shirts and Geek Squad Agents love helping people. And they definitely know their stuff. So don’t be shy if you have a question once you’re inside the store.

Black Friday 2017

Check out the inspiring story of how one Las Vegas couple used Black Friday at Best Buy to help meet the needs of a friend struck by misfortune. Can’t get enough of Black Friday? Here’s another photo recap showing our favorite people, our customers, scoring the very best deals of the season on Black Friday 2017.

Black Friday 2016

Now that you've learned a little about the history of Black Friday, and have answered the questions, "What is Black Friday?" and "When Is Black Friday?" it's a good time to get some specifics about Black Friday 2016. Glean the inside story of one man's camp-out vigil at a Best Buy in Wisconsin, a 10-year tradition, with Camp Out for Black Friday. And check out some sure-fire tips Best Buy shared last year for scoring the best Black Friday deals with Plan Ahead to Score Black Friday Deals. By considering some of the details from Black Friday history, you can help ensure the success of your shopping spectacular this year.

Black Friday 2015

Take a behind-the-scenes look at how Best Buy stores prepare for the Black Friday event, from memorizing the details of each deal to safety and crowd-control training. Read Black Friday 2015 Behind the Scenes.

Best Buy shares 5 important tips for a successful Black Friday shopping experience, including suggestions for planning and shopping with a friend. Read about the 5 Black Friday Tips.

Have you ever wondered about the physical stamina needed to run a Best Buy store during a busy Black Friday event? We have the stats from Best Buy store managers following Black Friday 2015. Read about the marathon that is Black Friday.

Black Friday 2014

Black Friday shoppers at Best Buy start their deals shopping early with doorbusters available on Thanksgiving day. Read more about Black Friday 2014.