Love it or hate it, Black Friday, or Black Flyday as it’s known in the travel industry, is here to stay and it’s growing every year. In 2018, sales on topped the $6.2 billion mark for online sales in the US alone.
So far, Black Friday has spawned a host of related sales spanning several days. Now there’s Cyber Monday and Travel Tuesday too and few retailers stick to the time frame of offering their discounts for only one day.
As Black Friday has evolved, so too have the rumours surrounding its origins. Let’s take a look at how it all began and set aside some false beliefs along the way.
What is Black Friday Actually?
Nowadays, Black Friday always occurs on the day after Thanksgiving in America, when people’s thoughts turn to Christmas. For years it has marked the day when retailers begin their festive marketing campaigns, usually by offering early bird discounts to shoppers.
As competition for this Friday trade increased, discounts on items have become correspondingly deeper. Nowadays, some of the Black Friday deals you come across really are incredible, and well worth waiting in long queues for.
Why ‘Black Friday” though?
The Very First Black Friday
Let’s put one rumour to bed straight away. Black Friday has absolutely no connection with the slave trade. One of the myths associated with this day is that slaves were offered at discounted prices on the day after Thanksgiving during the 1800’s.
The first recorded use of the word Black Friday refers to the stock market crash of September 24, 1869, which happened to be on a Friday nowhere near Thanksgiving.
This term resurfaced during the 1950s in Philadelphia. At the time, Philadelphia traditionally hosted an important army-navy football game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This meant that the city was usually overrun with fans making a long weekend of it. To the police, this meant long hours, congested traffic and lots of extra work. Before too long, the beleaguered Philly cops began referring to this hectic day as Black Friday, and the name stuck.
Over time, the term spread throughout the US and by the 1980s had caught on with store employees who found themselves overwhelmed by the post-Thanksgiving retail rush.
After failed attempts to rename the event, Big Friday, retailers took a can’t-beat-them-join-them approach to the name and started marketing their annual November sales under the banner of Black Friday. To put a positive spin on it, they suggested that it was the day when storeowners had a chance to get their bank accounts out of the ‘red’.
Black Friday in South Africa
Just because there’s no Thanksgiving holiday in other parts of the world, doesn’t mean that shoppers have to miss out. Nowadays, Black Friday sales take place almost everywhere including South Africa.
So, while our cheap flights to New York are a great way to take advantage of the US shopping frenzy, you don’t have to leave the country to save big. In fact, you don’t even have to leave home.
South Africa was pretty slow to jump on the Black Friday bandwagon. The first sales held under this banner took place under the auspices of Takealot, a US-backed online shopping platform, in 2013.
Since then the shopping extravaganza has grown to include several discounted shopping days in over 300 stores nationwide. These include:
Small Business Saturday
Small business Saturday was the ‘mom and pop’ stores’ answer to Black Friday. Most shoppers spend this discounted shopping day at major retail outlets, with no time to take advantage of the great deals offered by smaller shops.
In answer to this, small businesses started offering their discounts a day later so that they too could benefit from the spending spree.
Cyber Monday was the first official spinoff from Black Friday and refers to massive discounts offered for online shoppers. Many tech companies have also hopped on the bandwagon, offering their in-store Black Friday Deals on the Monday after Black Friday instead.
Cyber Monday originated when retailers noticed an upswing in online shopping on the Monday following Black Friday. Many shoppers who could not or dare not, visit brick and mortar stores would trawl the internet in search of lingering deals instead. Often, this modern-day version of the traditional day rakes in more money than the original.
At first, the travel industry noticed a sharp decline in business during the week after Black Friday thanks to everyone blowing their extra cash on shopping and so, Travel Tuesday came to light.
Hoping to lure prospective travellers, airlines started offering deeply discounted Black Friday flights on the Tuesday afterwards. If you took advantage of some of our Black Friday 2018 flight specials or Travelstart Black Friday savings last year, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
Travel agents and accommodation providers soon followed suit. While you can certainly scoop up some unbeatable deals on the day, with cheap domestic and international flights available from SA-Airlines year-round, there’s no need to wait.
Plan Ahead for Black Friday 2019
Do you know of a scintillating travel deal coming up for Black Friday 2019? Why not book your flights in advance. You’ll be getting the best rates anyway and it can be tricky trying to take advantage of several specials at once.
If you want to take the chance, stay on the lookout for some flight deals with FlySafair Black Friday discounts and Kulula Black Friday specials. The discounts start on the day and won’t stop until the last seat is gone.
It’s never too early to start planning your travel savings, so keep your finger on the pulse of great Black Friday flight savings. Our website and our social media feeds will be buzzing with some of the best Black Friday 2019 deals South Africa has ever seen.