Ever since 1932, Black Friday has signalled the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. This shopping extravaganza follows Thanksgiving, on the fourth Thursday of November, and comes just before ‘Cyber Monday’.
Use of the name ‘Black Friday’ was first recorded as coming from Philadelphia, where it was used to describe heavy, disruptive vehicle and pedestrian traffic the day after Thanksgiving. Apparently, loads of people would go into town on the Friday after Turkey Day, before the yearly Army/Navy football game on Saturday; stores would take advantage of all the extra business by promoting big sales.
As ‘Black Friday’ became more popular in the early eighties, one “explanation” for the event became that this day represented the point in the year when retailers begin to make a profit, going from being "in the red" (meaning to be in debt) to "in the black" (meaning to be free of debt).
Black Friday is not an official holiday in the United States, but in some states government employees are given the day off. Schools and non-retail employees are normally given Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday as public holidays.
Most major retailers offer promotional sales with big discounts, and it has been the busiest shopping day every year since 2005. In 2014, sales revenues for Black Friday reached a whopping $11.6 billion, falling slightly to $10.4 in 2015. In 2013, overall spending from Thanksgiving Thursday up to Cyber Monday topped $56 billion!