Kellye Fox | 

12 Fun Black Friday Facts: History and Weird Stats

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Welcome to fun Black Friday facts 101. If you’re like most Black Friday shoppers, you have your eye on laptops, TVs, game systems like Nintendo Switch, or clothing, but what do you really know about one of the biggest shopping days of the year?

Did you know that in 2021 roughly 155 million Americans shopped on Black Friday and 88 million folks shopped online? Whew! Americans spent $8.9 billion shopping Black Friday deals online in 2021.

We’ve rounded up a few fun, interesting, and historical tidbits to keep you informed and entertained while you wait for your dream sales to pop up.

For Black Friday deals, download the KCL app and we’ll send you notifications. Or just text BLACKFRIDAY to 57299 and receive real-time text alerts when Black Friday deals go live.


1. The nonretail term Black Friday dates back to 1869.

Wall Street sign in New York City with three american flags in the back

Obviously, none of us were alive to remember the U.S. stock market crash of Friday, Sept. 24, 1869. That period was called Black Friday due to the financial crisis that resulted from two investors trying to drive up the price of gold. They bought as much gold as they could and sold it for astronomical prices, which led to the Wall Street bankruptcy.


2. The idea of after-Thanksgiving sales didn’t start until 1924.

Macy's thanksgiving day parade float in the annual new york city parade

The post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza you know today started over 90 years ago. It wasn’t until the 1924 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that the idea of the Friday after Thanksgiving as the kickoff for the holiday shopping season was established.

In a totally unrelated story, American factories in the 1950s used “Black Friday” to refer to the workers who called in sick the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy the long holiday weekend. They were definitely onto something.


3. Philadelphia coined the retail term in the early 1960s.

Philadelphia cops on horses riding down a city street

When it comes to fun Black Friday facts in the retail realm, you have to give credit to Philadelphia.

Historians say that Philadelphia cops used the phrase in the early 1960s. They were frustrated with the bad weather, congested shopping, 12-hour work days, and horrible traffic after an annual Army-Navy football game the day after Thanksgiving.

Related: Early Black Friday Sales


4. Big Friday instead of Black Friday? No thanks.

people passing by the macy's department store entrance in philadelphia

In 1961 Philadelphia department stores attempted to rebrand Black Friday by calling it “Big Friday.” They wanted to stay away from the negativity of the name. Of course, you know the term didn’t stick.


5. Retailers in the 1980s started to gain a profit on Black Friday.

crowds walking through the mall on Black Friday

Another theory in relation to the term Black Friday is that retailers’ accounting records during the 1980s moved from “red” to “black.” Red indicated loss, while black meant profit. Back then you kept financial records by hand.

The phrase started gaining some traction after the ’80s due to the positive boost in sales despite the negative connotation.

Related: Check out these easy ways to get discounts on online Black Friday deals.



6. Black Friday didn’t become what it is today until the 1990s.

people camping out in tents outside the Best Buy store for Black Friday

You started to see people camping out for items in the 1990s. However it wasn’t until 2005 that Black Friday was designated as the busiest shopping day of the year. Its predecessor was the Sunday before Christmas.


7. Plumbers are very busy on Black Friday.

A line of white counter sinks in a public restroom

Some fun Black Friday facts are pretty gross. Did you know that Black Friday is the busiest time of year for plumbers? Yep, due to all of those clogged toilets at stores, the systems are overwhelmed. And somebody has to fix ’em, right?


8. Drunk shopping is pretty common.

three men sitting at a bar drinking beer

Did you know that 12% of Black Friday shoppers are drunk or plan on being under the influence? With a few clicks of your mouse, you could end up with some unique buys. No judgment here.


9. Free shipping is still the biggest draw on Black Friday.

a bunch of target packages on the doorstep of someone's home

Free shipping has the biggest influence on buyers’ decisions, according to numerous shopping surveys. This is a growing trend that retailers are listening to. In the past consumers shied away from online purchases because paying for shipping was a drawback.

In addition, both in-store and curbside pickup were in demand in 2021. Retailers who offered these options increased their sales by 50%.


10. America isn’t the only country to celebrate Black Friday.

liverpool department store in a mexico mall during christmas time

Over 15 countries in the world celebrate Black Friday or some kind of late-November holiday shopping spree. In Mexico, Black Friday is called “El Buen Fin,” which means “the good weekend.” Cheers to that!


11. Crest Whitestrips were a big seller on Black Friday.

hand holding Crest White Strips box at Target in the toothrbush aisle

Who knew that you were so concerned about whitening your teeth during the holidays? In 2021 Crest 3D Whitestrips were a top seller, specifically the Professional Effects Teeth Whitening Kit. With over 69,000 reviews on Amazon — mostly five stars — it’s clearly popular.

Fun Black Friday fact: in 2015 pajamas were the biggest seller. Some Walmart locations sold out, and the company had over 10 million in stock for the holiday.


12. Black Friday shopping causes more deaths than shark attacks.

A Black Friday crowd shoving and pushing to get through the doors as the store opens

Since 2006 17 people have died and 125 people have been injured in the U.S. on Black Friday. National Geographic noted that there’s a 3.7 million chance of being killed by a shark. Your chance of being injured or dying on Black Friday is greater than your chance of being attacked by a shark.

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