What is Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday

The holiday season is the most anticipated time of year for businesses because along with the festivities, it also happens to be the time where they make the most amount of sales and profit for the year. It all starts with "Black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., which has been the undisputed busiest shopping day of the year since 2004.

If you're wondering where the name "Black Friday" comes from or what the holiday is all about, you've come to the right spot.

Black Friday marks the transition of retailers going from operating a financial loss ("in the red") from January through November to being ("in the black") and showing profits on their financial statements.

Consumers go crazy for Black Friday

It has become such a craze amongst consumers that they're often willing to wait out in the cold all night for certain stores to open to get their hands on the advertised bargains. Whereas in the past retailers would open doors as early as 6:00 AM, the opening time began to creep back to 5:00 AM, then 4:00 AM, with some retailers even going so far as to opening up at midnight, often with line-ups for as far as the eye can see.

Here are some Black Friday stats to showcase just how big the holiday really is:

  • Walmart reported 22 million shoppers came through its stores in a 4-hour period on Thanksgiving night.

  • Brick-and-mortar sales were as high as $12.3 billion, up 2.3% from the previous year (source: CNN Money)

  • Online sales on Black Friday also reached a record high at $1.96 billion, up 18.5% from 2012 (source: TechCrunch)

The importance of going omnichannel

However, over the years, online sales during Black Friday have continually being increasing year-over-year, with shoppers preferring the comfort of sitting and making purchases at home on their computer, tablet, or mobile, rather than standing in line and having to deal with the crowds. For example, here are some stats that paint the broader picture:

  • 51% of consumers said they'd be shopping online on Black Friday (source: Marketing Land)

  • 19% of consumers will make purchases using their tablets and 18% using their smartphones, compared to 15% and 14% in 2012, respectively (source: Marketing Land)

  • Online sales made from a mobile device climbed 16% in 2012 (source: Marketing Land)

This means as a business, it's becoming increasingly important to pursue an omni-channel strategy where consumers can purchase from you both online and in-store. Pursuing an integrated and multi-channel sales strategy will not only benefit you this coming Black Friday but will be imperative and consumer habits shift along with technology over the years.