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Black Friday Has Become Its Own Holiday

Shoppers across greater Houston scramble around the city to find the best deals. But Black Friday shopping is no longer a sprint, instead it’s a marathon.


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What used to be a one day event has spanned into weeks.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is known for being the best time to get the deepest discounts. Last year, 75 million Americans shopped in stores on Black Friday.

But the need to be first in line is changing.

A Black Friday sign in the mall one week before Black Friday.
A Black Friday sign stands in a mall one week before Black Friday.

Larry Kelley, advertising professor at the University of Houston, says there's been a shift around Black Friday.

"That phenomenon of Black Friday now has become a brand unto its own," Kelley says. "So it has kind of gone from a bargain to a branded promotional event."

He goes on to explain that the name "Black Friday" is used to indicate a selling period, not a day.

"Amazon has even taken and exported to the UK five years ago," Kelley says. "They have a Black Friday event, they have no Thanksgiving obviously, but they have a Black Friday event. And Amazon even also has tried it in China just a couple years ago."

Shoppers walking around Willow Brook Mall in North West Houston.
Shoppers walking around Willow Brook Mall in North West Houston.

Amazon is offering Black Friday sales this month in Canada, even though they celebrate their Thanksgiving on Oct. 10.

It's no wonder businesses want to venture into bringing this unique American shopping holiday to other countries. In the U.S. it generated over $10 billion in sales last year.

The enthusiasm that Black Friday brings is not only being shared in other countries, but with other days of the week.

"Black Friday was a good thing for retailers, and so other groups of retailers like small businesses kind of woke up and said ‘Hey, can we make it work for us to designate a special day?'" University of Houston's marketing professor Betsy Gelb explains.

Apart from Black Friday there is Small Business Saturday, Giving Tuesday and Cyber Monday. Last year, online shoppers spent approximately $3 billion on that day alone.

If you are questioning your decision to face the crowds today, don't.

Because although Black Friday sales begin weeks in advance, both professors agree that many consumers still want to be among the crowds for the rush and sense of tradition.