Black Friday is a colloquial term for the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States. It traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. Many stores offer highly promoted sales at discounted prices and often open very early, sometimes as early as midnight, or even on Thanksgiving.

Black Friday has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States since 2005.

The Evolution of Black Friday

Somewhere along the way, Black Friday made the giant leap from congested streets and crowded stores to fevered shoppers fighting over parking spaces and tussling over the latest must-have toy. When did Black Friday become the frenzied, over-the-top shopping event it is today?

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That would be in the 2000s when Black Friday was officially designated the biggest shopping day of the year. Until then, that title had gone to the Saturday before Christmas. Yet, as more retailers started touting “can’t miss” post-Thanksgiving sales, and the Black Friday discounts grew deeper and deeper, American consumers could no longer resist the pull of this big shopping day.

In 2011, Walmart announced that, instead of opening its doors on Friday morning, it would start sales on Thanksgiving evening. That started a frenzy among other big-box retailers who quickly followed suit. Today, Black Friday is a longer event—a Black Weekend.

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