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Where Black Friday once meant disaster now may mean hope for the economy.
By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer
After we've all been filled up to our necks with turkey, ham, collard greens and yams, there's no better way to work it off than... shopping!
Black Friday (BF) is one of the most anticipated days of the year and one of the busiest for retailers. This is when the prices are cut and bargains are a bonanza. Everybody and their mother, cousins and the baby are out in full force looking for deals.
Although not an official holiday, BF is celebrated as such with people camping out their favorite department and electronic stores. It falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving and is the official kick off day of the Christmas shopping season. BF's history traces back to the East Coast in the 1960s but has since been adopted nationwide as an unofficial shopping holiday.
In the past, BF has mostly been referenced with disasters and a tragedies. There was the 1929 stock market crash, which happened on what was known as 'Black Tuesday' and the financial crisis, which happened on a Friday in 1869.
Another reference for BF comes from the massive traffic jams, over-crowded sidewalks and large masses of people that flooded the stores on that Friday. The term BF really began to pick up in the 1970s as more people began to use it and was more common in the Midwest as of 2000.
In celebration of the special day, many stores open at midnight and stay open longer for shoppers. Many department stores drastically lower their prices to more than half off to sale merchandise. Reuters has reported that in 2007, 137 million people were apart of the BF barrage.
Cyber Black Friday (CBF) is the term used for people who shop online. Much like BF, CBF takes place online and prices are cut for internet shoppers. Many folks choose to shop over the internet for its convenience and alternative to standing in long lines. CBF has since become the official start of the online Christmas shopping season.
The African-American community is a target for retailers this year. The recession definitely hit the Black community hard with the loss of jobs and opportunities, but Blacks might be big buyers this year.
Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts, stated to the media, "With such financial clout, marketing efforts to reach out to African Americans are likely to increase," said Montuori. "Major consumer products marketers have begun to align their strategies with the multicultural majority emerging in the U.S. and some have even indicated that multicultural consumers have become their core focus as they strategize and set their sights on the next 10 years."
African Americans nationally total with a population of 40 million and stand to be one of the biggest buyer markets in the nation. According to research done by Packaged Facts, African Americans, buying power this year will reach up to $1 trillion. If this proves to be true, the Black dollar could be the bill that will help ease a struggling economy.