Black Friday No Longer Just An American Event As It Spreads Internationally

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Black Friday is here among us. Well, almost anyway. We are already seeing the ads and deals appear on pamphlets, newspapers and all over the place online. However, the event is not just an American tradition anymore as it is spreading internationally with the retail chains leading the charge.

Growing up in the States, California in particular, I was very familiar with the Black Friday event or trend, depending on the way you look at this crazy shopping day, that followed Thanksgiving and will take place November 23 of this year. IT was a time where students and workers would generally have the day off and a time to go mad for shopping – or more likely, mad for a good deal when shopping.

The malls would be packed and open literally from midnight Thanksgiving at times all the way throughout the day. People would be standing outside for hours waiting for certain hot items before stores would even open. Some of these items, particularly electronics, had great deals going for them in many of the Black Fridays of the past years, particularly TV sets, PCs and gaming consoles.

I always encouraged friends and family who were in need of a new TV or computer around the end of the year and — who could spare to borrow a roomate’s or loved one’s set or console in the meantime — to wait until Black Friday or at least its ads before making a purchase. Some of the deals are really extraordinary, but they would go out fast, if limited in quantity, with so many shoppers looking to snatch a deal first.

What surprised me however about this day is that it is now becoming a thing internationally as well. I am now living in Warsaw, Poland and see Black Friday ads spreading to the retail chains here. I am sure this has been happening in many european countries for some years now as brick-and-mortar retail chains and corporations want to bank in on some of their international customers just as much as their domestic U.S.-based customers.

Black-Friday.pl logoBlack-Fridat.pl

For instance, there is a website in Poland focusing on Black Friday deals; and it even includes mention of Cyber Monday deals as well, which I will get to below as it is a more recent phenomenon and less widespread. When inputting the term Black Friday or Czarny Piątek (Polish translation) into Poland’s main search portal, Onet.pl, which is powered at least in-part by Google Search, you will find many sites showing deals and the specialty site I found has a good description of the event.

The description of Black Friday is on the bottom of the site explains and it is in Polish. It describes a bit how Black Friday is slowly but surely making its way here to more and more retailers. It doesn’t mention specific dates however, but here is my quick translation of the text:

“In Poland this day, despite not being as popular as in North American countries (U.S. And Canada) , is becoming more popular every year. Among Polish consumers, it is being called “Black Friday Polska” [Poland], or simply “Czarny Piątek.”

You can then input the retail outlets below to go to their main website, although many have Black Friday listings already up and showing some of the links simply direct to the main page of the site without additional info. The info above makes it clear, however, in Poland this day is becoming popular as well as Cyber Monday among many retailers, some are still coming around or are more quiet about it in the days or weeks ahead of time unlike in the U.S.

To show just how trendy the term “Black Friday” is becoming internationally, all it takes is googling it across international VPNs (or physical locations if you travel or have friends and family elsewhere) and languages. You will see how the trend has spread from region to region in different times. South African Black Friday, for instance, really took off only two years ago.

According to Business Insider SA , “Black Friday started in the US as a shopping day where retailers offer massive discounts. The phenomenon has gained momentum in South Africa since 2016, with stampedes as shoppers fight each other for marked-down products.”

Another thing that became a thing as more retail chains around the world, at least in first-world countries, are becoming digitized and eCommerce is taking over, is an event known as Cyber Monday. Now this event is more tied to the major U.S. retailers, particularly Amazon, and less of a thing here in Poland yet, as Amazon is not even officially here yet (we have to ship items from Germany or nearby countries). However, slowly this trend is also making its way here as well as internationally.

Black Friday actually has quite an interesting of a history that you can read about on History.com. It actually existed in name only or not as officially as it does today since the 1950s in the U.S. It started out in Philadelphia out of the chaos of the shopping spree that took place in a vacuum the day after Christmas in the city and was a term coined by police in a negative context.

“Back in the 1950s, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. Not only would Philly cops not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters would also take advantage of the bedlam in stores to make off with merchandise, adding to the law enforcement headache.”

So you see, some events start out without a plan or as I previously said, in a vacuum, and spread from one place to another over time. Some events may also start out with a bad connotation or a phrase coined that originally meant something else than it became over time. Such was the case with Black Friday. Lets hope those deals keep coming though and it becomes something more than just a marketing gimmick over time.